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Saturday, March 22, 2003


Uwe Reinhardt urges people to pray for human beings, not just "innocent civilians," injured or killed in the war: "There is nothing neat about maiming and killing people with precision bombs from the air or gunfire on the ground — even if they're wearing enemy uniforms. Young lives are snuffed out; parents, siblings and lovers weep, and so should we. We want our troops to win a quick victory, to be sure. As the father of a young Marine officer on the front lines in Iraq, I certainly do. But let us heed that Marine chaplain who, like anyone who has ever witnessed war, knows whereof he speaks. Let us hope and pray for a minimum loss of human life — period."

But Daphne Eviatar explains that weighing military goals against civilian casualties is no simple matter. "When it comes to noncombatants, there are two overarching principles that everyone seems to agree on. The first is that the military can't intentionally make targets of civilians. The second is that if commanders know that striking a legitimate military target will kill civilians, causing so-called collateral damage, they must weigh the importance of the military target against the loss of civilian lives... [But] when you weigh civilian lives against military targets, what is the proper measure of military value?" It's a thorny question that soldiers and their commanders ask in the midst of battle — and that the Bush administration seems to be asking in its relatively focused version of "shock and awe" bombing in Baghdad.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 22 March 2003 at 1:06 PM

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