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Our society has created various means for voicing our disapproval, without the need for violence.These terrorists can vote, form groups and foundations, peacefully protest, and write letters to our elected officials.But these systems were put in place to protect an individual from harm, and protect those individuals’ personal rights. Ross suggests that we have a moral obligation, a “prima facie” duty to “non-maleficence”.
The media attention that is derived from the act may or may not be conducive to the terrorists’ objectives.
One may argue that the terrorists are justified in their actions.
And it is doubtful that such an act would in fact immediately end the Middle Eastern wars. Frey and Christopher Morris state that “alternatives such as passive resistance and nonviolent civil disobedience” must first be attempted.
An attack on the White House would impose a significant impact on our current government and public climate. However, these terrorists did not exhaust all legal possibilities. We have created a legal system to create change as well as protect the public.
Terrorism, as defined by Webster’s, is the unlawful use or threat of violence especially against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion.
Terrorists use violent tactics in an effort to create political change, threaten or induce fear in the public and/or government, raise media attention or further their political cause.Those in support of the terrorist attacks would most likely also support the attackers’ cause.For example, a group of “terrorists” may bomb the white house because they believe that President Bush is corrupt and is killing innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan without just cause.Unfortunately, many times, terrorist attacks fall upon innocent victims.One may argue as to the degree of innocence each individual may have.Terrorist attacks in current history most always end in the killing of children. Terrorism when inflicted on innocent civilians can never be justified. Frey and Christopher Morris have similar beliefs that, “terrorists cannot avail themselves of such theories to justify furthering the ends of some small group at the cost of greater damage to the interests of others.” Even if we disagree with Kant, Frey and Morris, and assume that the terrorist’s goals were justifiable, terrorist attacks in no way guarantee a set end result.Killing others for any reason other than self-defense is morally reprehensible. Morally, we must “treat humanity…never simply as a means but always at the same time as an end.” In other words, terrorists cannot morally justify innocent deaths to achieve some ultimate goal. Although a terrorist would achieve his goal of threatening and inducing fear in the public by performing a terrorist act, there is no guarantee that such an act will either create the political change the terrorist is trying to achieve, or attain the desired response by the government or the public.Because violent revolution poses the most serious and difficult moral issues, it will be the focus of the remainder of the entry.The morality of nonviolent resistance to political authority is itself sufficiently distinctive, significant and complex to warrant a separate entry.And Richard Wasserstrom also affirms that “there are no circumstances under which the intentional killing of innocent persons, even in time of war, can be justified. There always seems to be grey areas, or caveats which are exceptions to every rule.It is always immoral to do so.”Many individuals would claim “terrorism can never be justified”. We can rephrase the absolute statement to “terrorism usually cannot be justified, but in some rare instances, is justifiable”.