Jeff McMahan
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War, terrorism and the ‘war on terror’
in ‘War on terror’
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Acts of terrorism are intentional efforts to kill or seriously harm innocent people as a means of affecting other members of a group with which the immediate victims are identified. Because terrorism involves intentionally killing the innocent, it can be morally justified, only in conditions of extremity. The substantive sense of the term gives a criterion of liability to attack. According to the regnant version of the theory of the just war, the criterion of liability to attack is posing a threat to another. Terrorists themselves often claim to be combatants, particularly when they are captured, since they would like to be accorded prisoner of war status. There are general differences between terrorists as a class and ordinary domestic criminals that tend to make anti-terrorist action rather different from domestic police action. The George W. Bush administration claims that terrorists are enemy combatants in its 'war on terror'.

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‘War on terror’

The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2006



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