Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:09 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:09 | SYDNEY

How we fight


Sam Roggeveen


16 November 2007 13:35

In his reply to my defence of Tony Coady's op-ed on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt says: 

That democracies now try so hard to avoid civilian casualties (when did they not?) is what any utilitarian applauds. But as we saw with the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq, many democracies still make that essential utilitarian judgment Roggeveen suggests has been junked - that a military action that will kill civilians is justified if it saves yet more lives, and there is no practical alternative.

As I argued in my original post, the conduct of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has been morally quite different to the way World War II was fought. Of course civilians will always suffer in war, but in Afghanistan and Iraq, the allies have avoided the deliberate killing of innocents. That is quite distinct from the strategic bombing campaigns of World War II (including attacks on London, Dresden, Tokyo etc), where the express purpose was to kill civilians in order to shatter morale.

Given that we define terrorism as the deliberate killing of innocents to further a political purpose, we are entitled to refer to such bombing raids as acts of terrorism. My question for Andrew Bolt is, 'What's your definition of terrorism?'