Under What Circumstances
Would You Bomb Innocents?
Under what circumstances could any of us become a suicide missionary? Or -- to make it simpler -- under what circumstances could any of us be willing to plant a bomb that would kill innocents? How about this scenario: It's 1942 and you have a chance to plant a bomb that will kill Hitler and a bunch of his top guys -- crippling the Nazi regime. However, the occasion for the bomb-planting is a civic ceremony and you know that many besides Hitler & Co will be killed -- including dozens (perhaps hundreds) of innocent Nazi children.
Would you be willing to tolerate such "collateral damage" in order to bring an end to the Nazi Regime? (Let's say you are fully aware of what's going on in the death camps.)
Another scenario, this one in the future. Let's imagine that -- god forbid -- the religious right succeeded in staging a coup and taking over the reigns of power. Imagine that the most virulent of all rel-right groups -- the Reconstructionists -- take over. Not only is science forbidden in this tyrannical theocracy, but atheists, feminists, gays etc are rounded up and stoned to death -- in accordance with 12th Century BCE biblical law, which is now the law of the land. You have witnessed such sickening atrocities and evil corruption by the theocratic goons that you have joined an underground secular resistance. Now you are ordered to plant a bomb in a strategic location. If successful, it's going to severely disrupt and alarm the theocratic regime, though it's unlikely to bring it down in one fell swoop. Hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- will die, including children and civilians. Will you do it?
Finally -- to make it hardest of all. Imagine in the above scenario, that you are not the one who actually plants the bomb, but you see the destruction and mayhem on TV as the huge "Salvation Tower," symbol of the theocrats' sovereignty, comes tumbling to the ground, killing thousands. Will you cheer? (silently if it's not safe to do it openly)
p.s. Speaking for myself I suspect my answers to the above three questions would be yes, yes, and yes.
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