Monday, March 03, 2008

Moral equivalence

Moreover, it should be expected that when criminals unlawfully attack a state, and the state responds, the criminals will suffer more casualties than the state. The ratio of criminals to police wounded in any democratic society should be high. A low ratio would represent a failure of law enforcement. The same is true of a military response to terrorism.

Those who suggest a moral equivalence between the terrorist targeting of civilians and the traditional response to terrorism – which always carries the risk of accidentally killing noncombatants – actually encourages the use of terrorism. … Those who focus on body counts, without distinguishing between the deliberate targeting of civilians and the inadvertent killing of some civilians along with terrorists, play directly into the hands of those who employ terrorism as a tactic for securing the moral high ground.

Alan M. Dershowitz (2002), Why Terrorism Works, Yale University Press, New Haven p.85

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