[lit-ideas] Re: Willie Pete's Role Reversal

  • From: "Phil Enns" <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 15:04:03 -0500

Andreas Ramos wrote:

"Phil, could you explain this sentence? It's fairly cryptic.  >> The
difference in intentionality regarding the deaths of civilians is a
qualitative one and to ignore it speaks volumes.<<"

1. The terrorists intend to kill civilians while U.S. soldiers intend to not
kill civilians.

2. This difference in what is intended is not a matter of killing greater or
fewer numbers of civilians.  (The original claim, attributed to Andreas but
concurred by Judy Evans, had been that the only difference between
terrorists and American soldiers was a matter of degrees, ie. quantity.)

3. The difference is one of quality.  On any given day one might find that
terrorists and American soldiers kill the same number of civilians.  The
fact that the number of deaths are the same does not mean that the
terrorists and soldiers are equally morally culpable.  What distinguishes
the two is the quality of intention regarding those deaths: the terrorists
intended to kill those they killed while the soldiers did not.

4. Those, perhaps including Andreas but certainly Judy, who would assign
equal moral culpability, thereby ignoring the difference in moral quality,
show the character of their moral judgments.


Phil Enns
Toronto, ON

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