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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Is Killing a Moral Action?

Baitullah Mehsud
From: August 07, 2009 "An American drone aircraft wasted Pakistan's Osama-in-Waiting, Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan.

Mehsud was one of the nastiest characters on the planet. He is thought to be behind Benazir Bhutto's assassination in 2007. He was the mastermind of the wave of suicide bombings in Pakistani cities. He was the godfather of a new type of suicide bomber -- young children under the age of ten who he had strapped with explosives and sent out on suicide missions. He was the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, and closely associated with Al Qaeda and their host and collaborator. He was bent on bringing down the Islamabad government."

Some of Mehsud's fondest thoughts were: "We want to eradicate Britain and America, and to shatter the arrogance and tyranny of the infidels. We pray that Allah will enable us to destroy the White House, New York and London." And what do you think was Mehsud's weapon of choice? Pakistan's hundred or so nuclear weapons.

The Right To Life

True, the right to life -- of human beings -- is a rarely questioned fundamental moral principle. Western cultures assume it to be inalienable and indivisible. But, is it really either. The right to life may be a cultural construct, dependent on social mores, historical contexts, and exegetic (critical analysis) systems. (Dr. Sam Vaknin, Malignant Self Love, 2007)

Vaknin says this about the right to life, "It is a compendium of no less than eight distinct rights: the right to be brought to life, the right to be born, the right to have one's life maintained, the right not to be killed, the right to have one's life saved, the right to save one's life (wrongly reduced to the right to self-defence), the right to terminate one's life, and the right to have one's life terminated." (Sam Vaknin, "The Myth of the Right to Life," 2005)

None of these rights is self-evident, or unambiguous, or universal, or immutable, or automatically applicable.

For example, Vaknin says that Judaism and other religious, moral and legal systems accept that people have the right to kill a pursuer who knowingly and intentionally is bent on taking their lives. Within this framework, hunting down Osama bin-Laden and his henchmen in Afghanistan or Pakistan is morally acceptable (though not morally mandatory).

If the Archimedean point of moral reference is studied - does A's right not to be killed mean that third parties are to refrain from enforcing the rights of other people against A? What if the only way to right wrongs committed by A against others - was to kill A? The moral obligation to right wrongs is about restoring the rights of the wronged. If the continued existence of A is predicated on the repeated and continuous violation of the rights of others - and these other people object to it - then A must be killed if that is the only way to right the wrong and re-assert the rights of A's victims.

What the Hadith Says About Life

Read this quote from the Hadith. In Islam, the Hadith is tradition based on reports of the sayings and activities of Muhammad and his companions. Terrorist leaders use such passages to justify Jihad as total warfare. Other verses have justified sadistic Islamic beheadings as "strike at the necks" commands to avoid striking elsewhere so as to confirm death and not simply wound.

"Mohammed said in his Hadith: 'The Hour [Day of Resurrection] will not arrive until you fight the Jews, [until a Jew will hide behind a rock or tree] and the rock and the tree will say: Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'" (PA TV Dec. 27, 2004. Rebroadcast from July 13, 2003)

Here are a couple of rules for Afghans (2006) from Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar:

1. "It is forbidden to work as a teacher under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels," says rule 24. And if a teacher refuses a warning to give up his job, reads rule 25, "he must be beaten. If the teacher still continues to instruct contrary to the principles of Islam, the district commander or a group leader must kill him," it continues.

2. New recruits will be protected, says the code of conduct, but they are also "subject to the Taliban's harsh fundamentalist version of Islamic justice, which in the past has included mistreatment of women, beatings and executions."

A Conclusion

Therefore, is this not Utilitarianism (Defined as "The greatest good for the greatest number" by Jeremy Bentham.) in practice to extinguish the life of a terrorist leader to save thousands of innocent lives? Because all persons regarded by the resolution either live or die, it can be assumed that the least number of deaths would be the most utilitarian outcome.

Life, not death, is the due of any innocent person. It is impossible to grant each and every person his due. Therefore, utilitarianism grants a large number of person's their due, while denying justice to only one. To quote Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing."

Osama Bin Ladin: "As for launching similar operations (bombings) in America, it is not because of the difficulty in infiltrating your security measures. The operations are being planned and you shall see them in your own homeland as soon as the preparations are finished."

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