Shalom on the Impermissibility of Self-Defense against the Tactical Bomber

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A standard example of a justified aggressor is the tactical bomber who is about to destroy an ammunitions factory in a proportionate, justified military attack, full well knowing that an innocent civilian bystander will also be killed by his attack (“collateral damage”). Intuitively it seems hard to believe that the innocent bystander threatened by the tactical bomber is morally prohibited from killing him in self-defense. Yet, Stephen R. Shalom indeed endorses such a prohibition. I shall argue that all the examples Shalom offers in support of his view are disanalogous to the case in question, and provide examples that are analogous and strongly suggest that Shalom’s claim leads to counter-intuitive implications. Moreover, I will provide a clear-cut case that demonstrates that Shalom cannot rely on a general principle prohibiting lethal violence against permissible violence. Thus, I conclude that Shalom has failed to provide a convincing argument in support of his case.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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Just Cause and 'Right Intention'.Uwe Steinhoff - 2014 - Journal of Military Ethics 13 (1):32-48.

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