War, Revolution, Terrorism and Utilitarianism by Mill

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What is the claim that terrorist attacks often intentionally destroy innocent people (555-556) complicate? How can one challenge innocence, which makes the concept of terrorism more complicated?
The current academic view of terrorism and the public opinion on the subject are clearly divided. Terrorists, contrary to blind animosity, are considered logical and seek strategic objectives. Innocent people are targeted at terrorist attacks because of their governments’ external policies and not because terrorists are intentional (Vaughn 555). Most people believe that terrorism is an illegal tactic that radicalized and non-state groups use to slaughter innocent civilians. However, that is not the case because some of these terrorists are sponsored by the same government they are attacking its civilians.

Terrorism is mainly attributed to a conspiracy against the ruling government. Surprisingly, these governments are funding acts of terror by groups whose control it does not have (Vaughn 556). Clearly, the definition of terrorism is complicated despite that it entails violence and frightening of people to achieve a social, religious or political goal. Terrorism is a violation of moral behavior since most terror perpetrators prefer to be called martyrs, revolutionaries and freedom fighters. Moreover, autocratic governments refer their opponents as terrorists to enhance their moral position.

What is the “bend over backwards rule” (583) and how does it convey that terrorism is morally wrong? Do you agree with the author that terrorism violates this rule whereas war does not violate this rule?

Stephen Nathanson’s ‘bend over backwards rule’ pinpoints that terrorism acts are meant to injure and kill innocent people or threaten them using force. It is the condemnation of terrorist acts while justifying acts of warfare (Vaughn 583). The rule justifies terrorism are morally wrong because it lacks specific targets which ends up in the death or harm of innocent civilians. Terrorism aims at causing deaths by use of indiscriminate weapons that are likely to harm innocent people. While warfare acts focus on the safety of civilians, terrorism gives preference to causing the damage of civilians.

I agree that terrorism violates the ‘bend over backwards rule’ unlike warfare, which prioritizes the safety of innocent civilians. In fact, warfare acts are well-coordinated just as terrorism but the intended purpose differs as the former avoids targets that will cause civilian deaths. Terrorism actions cannot be morally justified since innocent lives are intentionally targeted hence a violation of the rule.

Work Cited

Vaughn, Lewis. Doing Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues. WW Norton & Company, 2015.

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