Terrorism and the Morality of Self-Defense (MP3 download)
By Peter Schwartz
America's criminal-justice system is generally able to understand the principle distinguishing the criminals from the police. It recognizes the moral necessity of eliminating the danger that the criminal poses to the innocent, law-abiding individual. Why, then, don't the architects of our foreign policy grasp that same principle when it comes to protecting us from criminal-states?
This hard-hitting talk, delivered under the auspices of Duke University's Program of Values and Ethics in the Marketplace, addresses that question. Mr. Schwartz defines the two basic approaches in dealing with a problem like terrorism: the pragmatic method and the principled method. He castigates the Bush Administration for adopting the former-for engaging in an unprincipled, appeasing course of action in dealing with terrorism.
He examines the philosophical source and meaning of the Islamic terrorists, the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the constituent elements of a rational, principled response to the threat of terrorism. In presenting his view of what should be done to defend America, Mr. Schwartz also offers an intriguing interpretation of the debilitating legacy left by the first President George Bush to the second.