War we justify the killing of innocents

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War is a prominent issue in modern
society dating back to ancient civilizations. War has always been caused
because of power and greed… Previous ruthless leaders were to destroy whatever
stood in their way to reach their goals even if innocent lives were to be
taken. To what extent can we justify the killing of innocents in order to reach
a goal? In modern society, there has been a controversial issue with the use of
drones and bombs in Afghanistan in efforts to stop terrorist from growing and
threatening the United States. The use of drones does not specifically kill any
individual but kills/injures the radius of the targeted area and therefore can
also kill innocents if close to a terrorist organization. Utilitarianism then
can be used as a tool to justify war and used to ignore moral ethics in war.  Act Utilitarianism is the best form of
consequentialism that supports drone warfare in Afghanistan in a moderate
extent due to the fact it can be argued the negative consequences can outweigh
the original intention.

Utilitarianism is a philosophical concept,
which abides in choosing a decision in order to benefit the majority.
Utilitarianism can become confusing since there are multiple different types
therefore the best way to explain is using a thought experiment. This thought
experiment requires you to imagine a scenario that will be explained and then
require your personal input. Imagine being the conductor of a trolley and you
have two paths, one path contains one human strapped to the road and the other
path contains three humans strapped. Which would you decide? The most common
answer is the first choice since there will be less deaths by the end of the
action. This can be considered as classic Utilitarianism. What if the scenario
became more complicated? The one person that was strapped was a genius who
always gave back to the community and the other three who are also strapped are
homeless drunks who hasn’t given anything to the community. Would your answer
change? If you chose to save the genius then your point of view represents Act
Utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism is when a “person’s act is morally right if
and only if it produces at least as much happiness as any other act that the
person could perform at that time”. This philosophical concept was found by
Jeremy Bentham and based on the principle of utility. The principle of utility
claims “states
that actions or behaviors are right in so far as they promote happiness or
pleasure, wrong as they tend to produce unhappiness or pain.” Once you chose to
save the genius then it is it to believed that the overall result of the death of
the three homeless drunks would best satisfy the community since there will be
a genius who will be alive giving back to the community. Bentham was not the
only philosopher to expand Utilitarianism but also included John Stuart Mill
and Peter Singer thus creating alternates perspectives on how one would react
to a certain scenario.

John Stuart Mill was the founder of
Rule utilitarianism, which is greatly contrasted by Act Utilitarianism because
it relies mostly on rules instead of relying on the end results. Mill’s
theories rely on general rules based on the utility principle for any situation
and therefore can be considered a great weakness since rules can’t be applied
to all scenarios. Mill’s utilitarianism can be separated in two different types
of Rule Utilitarianisms…. strong and weak. A strong utilitarian would not have
any exceptions with the rules they created because the society can feel
threaten the happiness of a society not followed. A weak utilitarian would be
able to bend rules if a scenario reaches to an extreme scenario such as murder
or death. A weak rule utilitarian can be closely linked to an Act Utilitarian.

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Utilitarianism applies in multiples
way to modern society such as the creation of new laws, elections, and common
problems that can be solved by a consensus. 
Different types of utilitarianisms can be applied to the majority of
life choices one makes.
Act Utilitarianism can be best described choosing a decision
that would satisfy the majority…. Edward Snowden would be an example of one who
believes in this theory since he unrevealed the government’s secrets in efforts
to help the public. The secrets he revealed were that the United States
government was spying on the public without their permission therefore believed
it was best for the public to know the truth.  Rule utilitarianism can be demonstrated when
one decides to tell the truth under oath or even with a friend.  You choose a decision based on the moral rule
to not lie and therefore believe it’s best to be honest in the scenario.
Preference Utilitarianism would choose the decision to lie or to be honest
based on would cause the least suffering/pain which means they could either
choose to lie or to be honest depending on the situation. Different
Utilitarianisms can be used in different scenarios to determine the best form
of consequentialism in order to satisfy the majority. If Utilitarianism can be
used to validate controversial problems then can it be used to justify the
action of war?

As mentioned before, Utilitarianism
is a tool used to choose the best decision for a certain crisis such as
politics, personal problems, and even war. War is a big concept to understand
in relation to Utilitarianism because there are multiple ethical dilemmas and
self-destruction involved when mentioning war. The best way to explain the
correlation between War and Utilitarianism is the Just War Theory proposed by
Augustine of Hippo. “Just War Theory is the basis on which nations
seek to legally and morally justify going to war.” (Oregon), The theory claims
why one should enter war and how to conduct in war: Jus Ad Bellum or Jus In

        The concept of Jus Ad
Bellum explains five criteria that determine if a country should go to war. The
United States can be used as an example in order to defend the reason why they
are at war with Afghanistan. The five guidelines in Jus Ad Bellum…


have a just cause and a right intention

of Success



The United States went to war with Afghanistan to prevent future
terrorist attacks by the al-Qaeda or the Taliban and was legitimately declared
in 2001 one month after 9/11. The United States also believed that their would
be a great probability to reduce the terrorism spread by terrorist
organizations originating in Afghanistan because of the massive amount of
allies the United States has in comparison to the terrorist organizations. The
United States only wants to go to war against the terrorist group therefore
making it proportional; The terrorist groups do no want to find a diplomatic
solutions because they are held stubborn with their ideologies of being Islamic
Extremist and believe their religion is the only true one. (Hoge)

        The concept of Jus in
Bello is applied when war starts and is used to ethically direct how one should
conduct at war. Jus in Bello contains five guidelines in order to determine how
war should be conducted…




Rights to Prisoners of War

illegal warfare

These guidelines are used in order to guarantee a fair war and
therefore provide a winning party at the end of the war instead of complete
destruction. The United States has followed all five guidelines yet can be
argued some guidelines are subjective and are not applied correctly by the
United States. The best way to understand if the United States follows war
theory is by using Utilitarianism to support their actions.

        The biggest
controversial problem in War Theory is not being able to judge if one party has
the right intentions or on the right side and thus questioning if the theory
results into victory. Utilitarianism can be used to determine the right
intentions and who is right but what Utilitarianism is right? According to Mill’s theory of Rule
Utilitarianism, he focused on quality of pleasure and followed regulations
therefore he would believe that the United States followed the right intentions
of retaliating since they were targeted in 2001 by al-Qaeda and didn’t
originally create the problem. Rule Utilitarianism does not only demonstrate
the United States has the right intention but also clarifies that they are the
innocents. Rule Utilitarianism follows moral rules that can go against Just War
Theory… Utilitarianism believes that one should choose a decision (enter war) if
the quality of happiness can outweigh the consequences. If Rule Utilitarianism
justifies the war against terrorism in Afghanistan then it can only justified
if no one is harmed besides the opposing party. The reasoning towards the
Utilitarianism not being able to support Just War Theory is because the strict
moral code it follows which includes “To not kill” but if violated then you
would have to worry about other moral guidelines such as not to sacrifice
soldiers (people) if there is no victory apparent soon from the beginning of
the war. (Shaw) The War in Afghanistan is Rule Utilitarianism can’t justify an
ongoing war that started in 2001 after the 9/11 incidents that has not ended
terrorism therefore the war.

theory of Preference Utilitarianism focuses on the minimization of suffering
and one’s preference vs. others in order to choose a decision. Preference
Utilitarianism would support the intentions of the United States to go to war
since diplomatic relations cannot be established with terrorist organizations
and also understand which party is considered innocent (The United States). The
overall understanding and definition of Preference Utilitarianism is to avoid
all types of suffrage even if it includes the other party. Preference Utilitarianism
would have a problem allowing innocents in Afghanistan to die since there are
unintentional casualties in war. *Not only does Preference Utilitarianism go
against unintentional casualties but also goes against the belief that allies
or weapons can measure probability of success. Singer would believe that
probability of success is to measure the least amount of suffering in both
parties which would be impossible because it is a continuous battle that has
not been able to end ever since 2001. The best way for Singer to support war as
a whole is to use pressure points in the opposing sides such as causing
powerful leaders to change their perspectives instead of murdering leaders.
Preference Utilitarianism is similar to Rule Utilitarianism in the subject of
Just War Theory because both believe that one should not enter war if soldiers
will die and not be able complete the original intentions of entering the war.

Utilitarianism is the best justification of Just War Theory since this
Utilitarianism is unique to each scenario and can provide different decisions
than other Utilitarianisms. Bentham’s theory supports Jus ad Bellum and Jus in
Bello since it can be agreed that the intentions of the United States is to
prevent future terrorist act and therefore understanding why war is a necessary
element in order to end terrorism. Act Utilitarianism can also be used to
justify that the United States is the party who is right because they were
attacked first and thus allowing them to retaliate to protect their citizens.
The overall point of war is justified by this Utilitarianism because it is
believed to be the best way to end the conflict with a solution and provide
maximum amount of happiness. Even if Act Utilitarianism is the best
Utilitarianism to choose to justify warfare… a controversial problem still
emerges when closely analyzing how Act Utilitarianism justifies the conduct of
war. According to the fifth criteria of Jus In Bello in Just War Theory, a
party should not include illegal warfare that can cause too much damage to the
opponent. Since the United States has one of the most advanced militaries in
the world then the best weapons are created for war. The most recent
controversial weapon that has been questioned is drones warfare. Drones have
been the result of the 21-century technological advancements but does it go
against War Theory?

technology increases, weaponry becomes stronger in order to face other nations
if war becomes prevalent. The United States has been able to begin using drones
in the War in Afghanistan in order to terminate terrorism; Individuals believe
that drone warfare has becomes too frequent since it is easier to have more
drone strikes against Afghanistan because the United States becomes more
disconnected from the horrors of war (https://drones.procon.org). Act Utilitarianism claims this is valid yet does it just
become easier for the United States to launch more drones and forgetting what
their intention was. According the Bentham, the decision of launching more
drones is acceptable if it is used to maximize happiness. Under what terms can
one measure happiness without using money as a form of measuring? The
alternative way of measuring happiness is to measure the amount of death’s overall
and what death’s cause significant changes in terrorism.

Utilitarianism can be considered controversial when understanding that the
United States can control the lives of the opposing party without causing harm
to their own soldiers or citizens by using drone warfare. Therefore once
understanding that the United States controls lives then it is to be understood
that the United States can play a god role and then be considered an ethical
dilemma since one can’t choose who lives. According to Act Utilitarianism and
Just War Theory, one can play the role of god if there are good intentions and
that the deaths of the opposing party will benefit the United States. The
deaths in the opposing party would benefit the United States since there would
be a reduction of terrorism. The following ethical dilemma still emerges in
Drone Warfare… How can the unintentional killing of innocents be justified?
This question can be simply justified once again by Act Utilitarianism and Just
War Theory since both concepts underline that one can make a cruel decision if
it would make the most happiness in the overall society, which would be a
reduction in terrorism.

following controversial problem with drone warfare is that it can be deemed to
be a dangerous weapon to society since the impact range of a drone can cause
multiple causalities. This sounds familiar to chemical warfare, which is an
illegal form of weaponry; if drones provide a big radius and also cause mass
casualties then it can theoretically be considered an illegal weapon. If
considered as an illegal weapon then there would be a instability in global
security and could cause consequences far worse than drone warfare. If the
opposing party (terrorist) believed that the United States went against Just
War Theory then they would replicate the same actions of being able to use any
weaponry that can allow them to win the war such as gas/chemical warfare. This
problem can be quickly notated that it will be more aware in the following
years as technology improves. Act Utilitarianism then can be used to explain
that even if the United States decides to use drone warfare, the deaths that
could be caused by the terrorist wouldn’t be able to outweigh the deaths that
will be caused by the drones. Act Utilitarianism is not the only support for
this argument but Just War Theory can be demonstrated since the conduct of war
can be justified by proportionality. Proportionality means that even if they
use any chemical/gas weaponry against the United States then the United States
will still be able to outweigh the terrorist organizations because of our
surplus of allies and increasing technology.

is not the only disadvantage towards Act Utilitarianism but individuals believe
that philosophy is not the best approach to this ethical problem..           According to James Igoe Walsh, “one
important shortcoming of philosophical and ethical reflections on the effects
of drones is that they do not produce very precise estimates about how sizable
a change in opinion the introduction of this technology will create. One
important contribution of our results, then, is to compare how drones alter
opinions compared to other factors that we know from existing research alter
support for the use of force”.  If
philosophy were then to be flawed since guesses are made then how does one
determine a solution to the question? Walsh believes the best way of
approaching this ethical problem is by scientifically proving and determining
deaths before they initiate any drones.


are multiple benefits that support drone warfare in Afghanistan such as being
able to avoid mass deaths in comparison to older times. Previous war required
for war to be fought man to man or at least on the front line where drone
warfare requires a remote computer that connects to drones which eliminates the
necessary of death in war. This type of warfare is greatly justified by
Singer’s and Bentham’s theories since drone warfare maximizes happiness and
minimized the pain for the United States. Remote Controlled drones are then to
be considered a great addition the military since it removes the concept of
death in the battle zone and provides more happiness since more people survive
in the United States.

            The United States does not only
decrease in deaths because of drone warfare but also maximizes amount of
happiness to a further extent than any other weapon has. Drone warfare can
increase success in killing terrorist faster than any other weapon since
headquarters can be destroyed quicker instead of charging in with a swat team and
causing potential death to the team. To best understand why drone warfare is
greatly appreciated then it’s best to read the collective data by the bureau of
investigations…  According to the Bureau,
there has been “684-1081”
amount of total reported terrorist in 2017 due to drone strikes.

            Drone warfare appeals to the larger
portion of society according to Act Utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism requires
that there is a consensus on how one chooses a decision (to go to war)
therefore resulting in the bigger part of society having an opinion towards the
decision of war. Drone warfare can also be demonstrated to appeal to the bigger
part of society since there are not many deaths in comparison to previous war
because of these technological advances that don’t require one to be present in
the battlefield.

            As society grows, technology
improves and therefore can cause ethical dilemmas such as drone warfare. To
begin to understand drone warfare, one must understand why war is prevalent in
modern society by using the concept of Just War Theory. There are multiple
factors that affect if Just War Theory is correct and justice but the best form
to understand if ethically correct is using Bentham’s theory of Act
Utilitarianism. In understanding that Just War Theory and Act Utilitarianism
are co-friendly concept then we can apply the justification of drone warfare in
modern society. Drone warfare has several potential problems such as
dis-realization from war, endangering global security and manipulating who
lives based on a countries perspective but all these problems can be considered
to be a negative consequence, which can be outweighed by the positives of being
able to use drones in warfare. Drone warfare can avoid mass deaths since it
replaces traditional forms of going to war, reducing terrorism dramatically,
and appealing to larger portion of society. Overall, Act Utilitarianism is the
best form of Utilitarianism to justify drone warfare since it maximizes the
amount of happiness (lives) and minimizes the amount of suffering (deaths) in
the United States therefore Act Utilitarianism is the best form of
justification for drone warfare.

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