Is Killing Innocent People Ever Justified - John Stossel?
By: John Russell

At the International Students for Liberty Conference, students around the country were able to ask John Stossel questions pertaining to various topics. One of the topics, war, was introduced and I had the opportunity to ask John and Boaz how libertarians justified killing innocent people during times of war. Well, the question appeared on the show that was aired yesterday, and you can find me asking it at around 15:00:

And as a backup in case Youtube removes it:

What do you all think?

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View Comments Posted in SFL, The State
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  • James

    You should probably look up the term ‘collateral damage’ as reference to ‘killing innocents in time of war’. Bomb and bullets aren’t smart enough to just kill the enemies that want to kill our troops or attack our country. Sometimes innocent lives are taken in war. But its war we are talking about. As much as you try and make it seem civilized and ‘proper’, war is an ugly and gruesome human nature. There’s no way to wage a war in which innocent lives are taken. And there’s no way to wage peace either because human nature is fundamentally flawed.
    I noticed your post in reference to the “killing teams” of soldiers in Afghanistan, killing ‘innocent civilians as the come speeding around a corner on a motorcycle.’ In that split second, the civilians on the motorcycle realize what corner they just came around and panic. The soldiers panic because there are these 2 guys on a motorcycle racing at them. Do they have a bomb? Do they have a gun? They open fire and then go about inhumanly taking pictures of their kills like a dead animal. I can’t justify their behavior but what mental state are those soldiers in?
    I ask you to think of the mental state in which a human being has to have in order to kill someone. Look at the human state of mind that a person goes through in a time of war. As a veteran of the Iraq war in 2003, its not fun. You’re in a foreign country. You’re 19 years old. You have a gun. And no where you walk is a safe place to be. Ask yourself what that would feel like.
    As an example. You have a gun in Reno. You walk through downtown. And there are people out there that want to kill you. How on edge would you be? What would your mind frame be after you kill one human? What about another or 10? What becomes your reality of taking 10 lives? Is it now second nature to you? How long do you wait to determine friend or foe? Do you wait until they start shooting after you’ve lost your best friend the week before on a routine patrol where you hesitated?
    Thank you for your time. I respect your views but I believe there are things you may have missed in your conclusion.

  • Ed Jucevic - Reno, NV

    Re: 1 April 2011. You da man!!!
    Ed Jucevic

  • Cordero

    thinly veiled brag

  • Rnoanon

    Bombing unarmed civilians in Afghanistan/Pakistan/Libya/whatever is not justified. Period. We have bombs that can blow up one house amongst hundreds with the highest precision. You underestimate the capabilities of modern technology.

  • James

    I’m well aware of our capabilities. I’ve seen them in person in Iraq. But you can’t account for the family in the next room when the leaders of an enemy are in the house. If killing those leaders would save other lives with the ‘collateral damage’ (again I use this term because its of important, you seem to miss it) of the family in the next room, is that justified? I say yes. You would probably say wait for another opportunity or seek some complicated operation which removes the family from the equation. But in times of war hesitation kills people too.
    The world is not as black and white as we would like it.

  • Nathan

    Collateral damage is a term used to justify unacceptable things as OK.

    War is bad. Collateral damage is worse. Both are probably necessary. War is much more easily justified than the wanton disregard for civilian human life as displayed, for example, by the American government when bombing explicitly civilian locations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • Student Letting Newcastle

    There is no need to worry about lifespan and maintenance.

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