Terrorism Vs Terrorism

Satisfactory Essays
War is commonly perceived as a conflict between combatants, with military targets, but sometimes ‘unintentionally’ harming non-combatants. It is distinctive from terrorism in the sense that its success is not dependent on the extent of combatant/non-combatant casualties. Many attempt to create a moral distinction between the two by indicating that terrorists seek to intentionally harm civilians. However, this criterion is inconsistent and contains many flaws. When distinguishing between war and terrorism, several questions will arise. Can states ‘unintentionally’ killing civilians be perceived as terrorist attacks? Can soldiers ever be victims of terrorist attacks? Is the targeting of civilians and the use of fear even a defining characteristic of terrorism? The essay will examine differing attitudes towards the justification of war and terrorism such as humiliation and self-defence, as well as assessing the motives and intentions by which they are guided; this will determine whether their differences are morally significant.

Typically, we can distinguish between acts of terrorism and war based on the killing of innocents and the differences in their aims. We understand that both utilize various forms of violence; however, the distinction is that in war, states have aircrafts and sufficient resources. In contrast, terrorism only has people willing to die for the cause(Simic,2014). This is due to limited membership and a lack of resources. This makes terrorism morally distinct from war, because of its implicit and deliberate use of fear towards a group(Scheffler,2006,p15). Terrorists aim to spread fear amongst a broader population in order to gain a political advantage(Goodin,2006,p49). This suggests that global attention and publ...

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...on-democratic regimes around the world. Pogge(p13) reinforces this by pointing out unjustified moral appeals and assertions on both sides, such as Bush claiming that “America must defend freedom against the enemies of freedom”. Now since neither terrorism nor war can be justified, but one is not significantly worse than the other. Why is war accepted, but terrorism not justified to the point that even the political objectives are not considered or even looked at? This all indicates that there may not be any morally significant differences between war and terrorism, except for the manner in which the conflicts are fought. This excludes the protection of non-combatants, but sometimes defends the prohibition of excessive and unnecessary warfare banned under the Geneva protocol. This essay thus suggests, that war and terrorism may be significantly morally indifferent.
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