When the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing over 200,000 people, those people were murdered by imperial Japan. Likewise, when Israel bombs a Hezbollah-infested village in Lebanon, killing 56 people, those people are murdered by Hezbollah. In circumstances such as these, there is a difference between the killer and the murderer. The murderer is the aggressor—the agent who initiates force and thus necessitates retaliatory force on the part of the victim. The victim, in retaliating, may kill people in the process, but all such deaths are the responsibility of the aggressor.
He who necessitates the use of retaliatory force is morally responsible for the consequences of that force. So says the law of causality.
Let’s keep our concepts in order—and the blame where it belongs.
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