Weighing Lives in War- Foreign vs. Domestic

In Larry May (ed.), Cambridge Handbook on the Just War. pp. 186-198 (2018)
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Abstract
I argue that the lives of domestic and enemy civilians should not receive equal weight in our proportionality calculations. Rather, the lives of enemy civilians ought to be “partially discounted” relative to the lives of domestic civilians. We ought to partially discount the lives of enemy civilians for the following reason (or so I argue). When our military wages a just war, we as civilians vest our right to self-defense in our military. This permits our military to weigh our lives more heavily. Before arguing for this view I first explain why recent accounts attempting to show the opposite – that enemy civilians ought to be weighed more heavily – are mistaken.
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Archival date: 2018-07-07
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Killing in War.McMahan, Jeff

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