Samir Amin on Islam

Luke Weiger lweiger at
Mon Dec 2 12:42:20 PST 2002

Jeff wrote:

> brad,
> your argument seems to have the structure, "X killed Y non-combatant;
> so that is the moral equivalent of Z killing thousands of other
> non-combatants."
> do you think that one *can* condemn *all* these killings and still
> argue that, say, Z is worse than X . . .is *that* not the structure of
> the logical defense of bush's anti-terrorist aggression since 9-11?
> where are our resident utilitarians? ;-)
> j

I think you're substantially correct, but in global affairs (and often in personal affairs as well) the utilitarian calculus is often extremely difficult.

For instance, entertain this fanciful hypothetical (whose implications many will recognize mirror the post 9-11 blowback arguments): let's say the Palestinians abandoned terrorist attacks at some point in the very near future. I suspect Israel's often morally suspect retaliations would consequently come to an end. So, then, in a way the Palestinians can be seen as possessing the means to bring the current spat of violence to a halt, albeit without altering the current status of the occupation. Perhaps the Israelis, by withdrawing from the settlements immediately, could effectuate a similar end. So, then, whose actions do you say are the true "cause" of the current cycle of violence? I, like most here, am more inclined to say that Israel bears the brunt of the responsibility. But it isn't simple.

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