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The Morality of Attacking America

Thomas Whitley

The ambiguity in the title is intended. In part two of The Violence of Peace: America's Wars in the Age of Obama, "No Equivalence: President Obama on Jus in bello," Stephen L. Carter addresses the question of moral equivalence; namely, asking questions related to the morality of the actions of America in a war versus the actions of those whom America is fighting. He argues, quite convincingly, that Americans, by and large, do not believe in moral equivalence:

Thus we find it perfectly suitable when the President goes on to say, at the Fort Hood Service:

It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know - no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice - in this world, and the next.

Again, imagine now the Taliban memorial service, a leader condemning the "twisted logic" behind America's drone attacks, and insisting that God does not look upon the killers with favor. Suppose he goes on to promise that those who have slain on his soil "will be met with justice - in this world, and the next."

Feel the chill?

Feel the difference?

President Obama, as do most Americans, believes that no attack on America is ever just(ified).

Do you agree with this position? Have you ever asked yourself this question?

Simply put, is attacking America morally different from being attacked by America?