A. J. Coates
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Some moral aspects and variables
in The ethics of war
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Terrorism can struggle to comply with the requirements of ius ad bellum whatever its form, but the moral presumption of more extreme forms of terrorism is so resoundingly in favour of war that the restraints of ius ad bellum are comprehensively undermined. Many concepts of terrorism attribute to the terrorist a rational-instrumental logic and pragmatic disposition, in accordance with which the resort to terror is of a utilitarian kind. The case for a 'generic' definition of terrorism is mostly 'tactical', making much of the fact that both states and non-state actors regularly violate the principle of non-combatant immunity. Like any moral phenomenon, terrorism is a complex and variable whole in which weakness in one area of ethical concern can be combined with strength in another. A focus on degrees of justice and injustice enables us to distinguish between different forms of terrorism with different moral characteristics.

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The ethics of war

Second edition


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