Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dershowitz: Degrees of Civilianality

I'm behind the curve these days, so most of you have already seen this. Dershowitz was derided by some, and his position was unfairly characterized, but he's got a good point so far as I can tell. Civilianality--to adopt his terminology--is a matter of degree.

One problem here is that this is the same kind of reasoning that OBL and other terrorists use to justify attacks on civilians. So that can seem like a reductio of Dershowitz's position.

We tend to think, however, that it matters how direct the involvement is. It's o.k. to take out someone who's carrying ammunition to the front, but not someone who just works at the ammunition plant. That gets tricky, of course, but welcome to life. The human world is a world of vague boundaries and matters of degree.

That's all I got.


Anonymous lovable liberal said...

I'd say that an ammunition plant ann its workers are a legitimate target in any way, but your point about the difficult blurriness of the boundaries is of course well taken.

6:10 PM  

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