Moral Relativism, Patriotism, and Al Qaeda
August 11, 2012 9 Comments
I have some serious problems with the author’s equation of Al Qaeda‘s suicide bombing with US drone strikes. To me AQ are terrorists and the US drone strikes are a legitimate function of a just war, the suppression of terrorism by decapitating the terrorist organization. Would it be better to do it with a sniper from a ½ mile away? Or simply arresting them? Possibly, but it’s not practical.
So his conflation of the two strikes me as the worst sort of moral relativism. A mass murderer with a defender of the innocent.
That said, later in this article he makes some very relevant points on how we legitimize the government even when it badly overreaches its authority. He uses the example of the collapse of the Proprietor’s government in Pennsylvania in 1684. It a very good example which is not well enough known. Enjoy.
Over the weekend, a suicide bomber suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda struck a funeral in Yemen, killing forty five individuals. The funeral was attended predominantly by members of a militia which aided the Yemeni Army in recapturing a town held by Al Qaeda. The attack was rightfully condemned by major media outlets. Viciously killing mourners at a funeral is the very definition of terrorism as it sends a message that no time or place is off limits from a surprise attack. It shows a complete lack of respect for the sanctity of life. Al Qaeda has become known for these attacks in recent years. American national security officials and politicians have reacted by denouncing such attacks as a sign of the utter savagery of the terrorist group.
Yet Al Qaeda is not alone in this tactic. The CIA’s not-so-secret drone campaign is also guilty of targeting funerals attended by civilians. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone attacks have been responsible for the deaths of “dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.” As of February of this year, at least 535 civilians have been killed by drone strikes since President Obama took office; 20 of which were killed while attending funerals. Last June, a gathering of mourners was targeted for a strike in Pakistan. The 10 people killed in that attack had come together to grieve over the death of a “brother of a militant commander” killed just a day before in another drone strike.
There is little denouncement of the civilian casualties that are a product of the U.S.’s foreign policy. The narrative presented by Washington lawmakers and the press is that of a struggle between the forces of good and evil. The terrorists of the Middle East are ruthless barbarians while the troops and Pentagon officials are goodhearted protagonists trying to liberate an oppressed people. The blood of innocent women and children on the hands of Al Qaeda is damming evidence of their depravity. That same blood on the hands of the U.S. defense establishment is a sign of triumph. It is moral relativism on a national scale; slaying of the innocent is terrible on one hand while honorable on the other. As LRC columnist Laurence Vance notes in regard to how atrocities committed by private individuals are perceived differently than those committed by the military:
I don’t know if there are theaters in Afghanistan, but if U.S. soldiers enter a building in Afghanistan and kill twelve and wound fifty-eight – like James Holmes allegedly did in Colorado – they are lauded as heroes.
Military officials frequently go on television and tell not just Americans but the rest of the world that they are making a sacrifice for maintaining safety and freedom around the globe. They invoke patriotism to justify their actions. Taxpayers forced into picking up the tab for the endless warfare repay the favor by unquestioningly handing their respect over to crusaders of state-sanctioned mass murder. From the perspective of enhancing and enlarging the central state, it’s the prefect scheme. Force feeding the concept of “patriotic duty” is a great way to get people to accept the otherwise deplorable actions of government officials. It is why Randolph Bourne aptly recognized war as the “health of the state.”
Today, the conduct committed by state enforcement officials, whether they be imperialistic endeavors or the negation of human liberty at home, are rationalized by the way of apologetic relativism. This relativism stands in opposition to absolute moral principles. Theft, murder, eavesdropping, lying, issuing threats, and beating upon others are all actions looked down upon by sensible individuals. They lead society astray from an amicable coexistence.
Continue reading Moral Relativism And Patriotism As Weapons Of The State | ZeroHedge.
- Unrestrained savagery (salon.com)
- The consequences of moral relativism (pointmanblog.wordpress.com)
- YEMEN: It’s The UAVs Stupid (strategypage.com)
- The Failure of Cultural Relativism (thechristianwatershed.com)