>Roderick Long’s "The Justice and Prudence of War"

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Check it out at Mises.org. But here is an excellent excerpt (excell-excerpt?):

Not only are defensive and restitutive uses of force the only ones that can be justified, but even they are subject to a proportionality requirement. Suppose that for some reason the only way to prevent a toddler from treading on my toe is to blow her away with my bazooka. (I’ll leave the construction of such an example to the reader.) A defensive response so grossly disproportionate to the severity of the threat seems to violate the spirit of the non-aggression principle, the whole point of which is to balance licit force against illicit force. Hence any legitimate use of force must pass three tests:

a. it must be purely defensive, either directly or restitutively;
b. it must respect privity of defense; and
c. it must not be disproportionate to the moral seriousness of the aggression it counters.


If we apply this criteria for a just form of self-defense to, say, the recent Israel-Lebanon conflagration, it’s clear that the massive amount of lives taken on the Lebanese side of the conflict were completely disproportionate to the “moral seriousness” of the threat either percieved by the Israeli government or in fact really existing. The numbers speak for themselves.

Another way of exposing the moral crime (and statist indifference to morality itself) on the part of the IDF would be to ask if the same tactic – complete obliteration of civilian infrastructure – of ending rocket attacks against innocents would have been used inside Israel itself, against other Israeli citizens/”collateral damage”. Surely not. It would be a blood-soaked scandal that Israel would never live down. So clearly Lebanese lives are worth less.

Just imagine Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon declaring that “All those now in south Tel Aviv are terrorists who are related in some way to Kahane Chai”, and then proceeding to rationalize the deaths resulting from a bombed out modern apartment building overlooking the Mediterranean. I think not.

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