Terror, Counter-Terrorism, and Moral Dilemmas

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Terror, Counter-Terrorism, and Moral Dilemmas

Prof. Tamar Meisels

 

Course description

The course deals with a variety of ethical questions concerning terrorism and counter terrorism, with a specific focus on the use of terror within the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the means employed by Israel in the course of combating it. Such questions include:  what is terrorism? Can it be distinctively defined? How is it distinguished from other forms of conventional and non-conventional wartime killing? Can terrorism ever be justified? Is Palestinian terrorism justifiable? What is the legal and moral status of terrorists and other irregulars? What means may be legitimately employed in the course of combating terror? Is the targeted killing of terrorists morally justifiable? To what extent may liberal states legitimately limit their citizenries’ civil liberties in the name of preventing terrorism, and in what way may they do so? What is a "proportionate" response to terrorism? Is torture ever justifiable? Is it ever excusable? 


 

Outline

  1.  Introduction: general outline of the course. Brief historical background of the conflict and use of force within it.
  2. Theoretical background: the rules of conventional war - Just War theory and the War Convention/laws of war. What is Terrorism?  
  3. Definitions of terrorism: a) inclusive definitions; b) restrictive/narrow definitions?
  4. Justifying Terrorism-The apologetics of terror; and of Palestinian Terrorism in particular. Excuses: last resort, extreme emergency, weapon of the weak. Refuting the arguments.
  5. Security and Liberty in an age of terror.
  6. A) Terror and the Media; b) The Attack on the Israeli Athletes in the Munich Olympics.
  7. Targeted Killing.  
  8. Assassination: “Targeting Scientists”.
  9. Proportionality and risk in "The War on Terror".
  10. Sieges and Blockades – the case of Gaza.
  11. Preemptive Strikes
  12. Torture
  13. Combating terrorism – the case of France in Algeria and FLN terrorism – Violence and Liberation: comparison with Israel - similarity and differences between the two cases.

 

Recommended Books:

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (New York: Basic Books, 1977).

Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism (Norton, 2003).

Jeremy Waldron, Torture, Terror and Tradeoffs – Philosophy for the White House (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Tamar Meisels, The Trouble with Terror (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Giovanna Borradori, Philosophy in a time of Terror  - Dialogues with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 2003).  

 

Part One: Defining and Defending Terrorism

 

 Week 1: Introduction

General introduction to the conflict, its origins and the use of force within it.

 

Week 2: Just War Theory and the Laws of War

Introduction to the rules that traditionally govern armed conflict. 

 

Background Reading:

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (New York: Basic Books, 1977), Part III: "The War Convention", Chapters 8 and 9.

 

What is Terrorism?

George P. Fletcher, “The Indefinable Concept of Terrorism”, Journal of International Criminal Justice (2006), pp. 1-18.

 

Week 3: Defining Terrorism

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (New York: Basic Books, 1977), Chapters 11-12, pp. 176-206, eps. pp. 197, 203.

Ted Honderich, After the Terror (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2002), pp. 91-99.

 

Further Reading:

*Robert Young, ‘Political Terrorism as a Weapon of the Politically Powerless’ in Primoratz, Terrorism – The Philosophical Issues (2004), 55-64

*Virginian Held, ‘Terrorism, Rights and Political Goals’ in Igor Primoratz (Ed.), Terrorism – The Philosophical Issues,  Palgrave, Macmillan, London & New York, 2004, pp. 65-79.

 

Week 4: Is Terrorism Ever Justified?

Ted Honderich, After the Terror (Edinburgh, Edinbourgh University Press, 2002), esp. Chapter 1, available online at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/ATT1.html

Giovanna Borradori, Philosophy in a time of Terror  - Dialogues with Jurgan Habermas and Jacque Derrida (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 2003), 85-136. 

Recommended: * Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism, (Norton, 2003),  esp. pp. 22-51, 99-100, 121-153). The entire book is recommended, but not required.  

 

Further Reading:

*Noam Chomsky,  9-11 , Seven Stories Press, New-York 2001.

 

Part Two: Freedom, Security and Rights in a Terrorist Age – Liberal Democratic Dilemmas:

 

Week 5: Security and Liberty in an Age of Terror:

Jeremy Waldron, “Security and Liberty: The Image of Balance”, The Journal of Political  Philosophy, Vol. 11 (2), June 2003, pp. 191-210.

 

Recommended Reading:

*Tamar Meisels, “How Terrorism Upsets Liberty”, Political Studies, Vol. 53, March 2005, pp. 162-181.

*Benjamin Netanyahu, Fighting Terrorism, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York: 1995, 2001), Chapter 2: "The Question of Civil Liberties", pp. 27-50.

 

Week 6: Terror and the Media:

 

6A) The Dilemmas of a Free Press in Times of Terror:

Benjamin Netanyahu (ed.), Terrorism - How the West Can Win (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986), Chapter V: "Terrorism and the Media", pp. 109-130. And Appendix: "Terrorism and the Media", pp. 229-240.

 

6B) The Terror Attack at the Munich Olympics:

BBC Documentary film: "One Day in September", and media coverage of the attack.

 

Part Three: Fighting Terrorism:

 

Week 7: Targeted Killing: Israel's Assassination Policy

Israel's High Court Decision on Targeted Assassination. Available at: http://elyon1.court.gov.il/Files_ENG/02/690/007/a34/02007690.a34.pdf

Tamar Meisels, “Targeting Terror”, Social Theory and Practice Vol. 30 (3) July 2004, pp. 297-326. Also in: Tamar Meisels, The Trouble with Terror, Chapter 5.

 

*"Unlawful Combatants"

George Fletcher, Romantics at War – Glory and Guilt in the Age of Terrorism (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), Chap 5, 92-116.

 

*Relevant Legislation:

The Hague Convention (18 October 1907), Annex to the Convention, Section I “On Belligerents”, Chapter II “Prisoners of War”.

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, adopted on 12 August 1949.

Protocol 1 – Addition to the Geneva Conventions, 1977, Part IV: Civilian Population.

The United States Military Commissions Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-366, 120 Stat. 2600 (Oct. 17, 2006), enacting Chapter 47A of title 10 of the U.S. Code, Act of Congress (Senate Bill 3930) signed by President George W. Bush on October 17 2006, esp. 948a.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:s3930enr.txt.pdf.

(The above are all readily available on the Internet – just Google it).

 

*Further Reading on the US TK policy:

Claire Finkelstein, Jens David Ohlin and Andrew Altman (eds.) Targeted Killing – Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World (Oxford University Press, 2012).

 

*Further Reading on Israel's TK:

Daniel Statman, “Targeted Killing”, Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Vol. 5 (2003), 179-198.

Michael Gross, “Fighting by Other Means in the Mid-East: a Critical Analysis of Israel’s Assassination Policy”, Political Studies, Vol. 51, 2003, 350-368.

Alan Dershowitz, ‘Killing Terrorist Chieftains is Legal’, The Jerusalem Post, April 22, 2004. http://www.alandershowitz.com/publications/docs/killingterrorists.html

 

Week 8: Assassination: Targeting Scientists

William Tobey, “Nuclear Scientists as Assassination Targets”, 68 (1) Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Sage Publications, 2012), 61–9.

Jeremy Waldron, “Can Targeted Killing Work as a Neutral Principle?” (2011), New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers, 1–14, at  1–9. Available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1788226

OR

Jeremy Waldron, “Justifying Targeted Killing with a Neutral Principle”, in Claire Finkelstein, Jens David Ohlin, and Andrew Altman, Targeted Killings – Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), Chapter 4, 112-131.

Tamar Meisels, “Assassination: Targeting Nuclear Scientists”, Law and Philosophy, forthcoming 2013.

 

Week 9: Proportionality in "The War on Terror"

Thomas Hurka, Proportionality in the Morality of War, Philosophy and Public Affairs 33(1) (2005), pp. 34-66.

Michael Walzer, "How Aggressive Should Israel Be?", The New republic, July 2006.

http://www.chicagopeacenow.org/walzer.pdf

 

*Further sources on proportionality:

Thomas Hurka, "Proportionality and Necessity" in: Larry May (ed.) Essays in Political Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 127-44. http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~thurka/docs/propandnec.pdf

2008/9.

Gardam, Judith, "A Role for Proportionality in the War on Terror", 74 Nordic Journal of International Law (2005), 3-25.

Michael Walzer, "How Aggressive Should Israel Be?", The New republic, July 2006.

Alan Dershowitz, "Israel's Policy is Perfectly Proportionate", in the Wall Street Journal, 2 January 2009.

http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cache:1vcaW_hl5OsJ:cadavrexquis.typepad.com/files/dershowitz-wsj-020109.doc+Dershowitz+Israel%27s+perfectly+proportionate&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=il

 

*Relevant Legislation:

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1) 1977.

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d9b287a42141256739003e636b/f6c8b9fee14a77fdc125641e0052b079

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 8 (2) b (iv).

http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/romefra.htm

 

*Further sources on “Risk-Taking” vs. “Force Protection”:

Kasher, Asa and Yadlin, Amos, “Assassination and Preventive Killing”, SAIS Review, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Winter-Spring 2005), 47-57.

Michael Walzer and Avishai Margalit: “Israel: Civilians & Combatants”, The New York Review of Books, Vol. 56 (8), May 14, 2009.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/may/14/israel-civilians-combatants/

McMahan, Jeff, “The Just Distribution of Harm Between Combatants and Noncombatants”, 38 (4) Philosophy and Public Affairs (2010), 342-379

Luban, David, “Risk Taking and Force Protection”, forthcoming in: Reading Walzer (edited by Yitzhak Benbaji and Naomi Sussman).

Kasher, Asa, and Yadlin, Amos, “Israel & the Rules of War: An Exchange,” New York Review of Books, June 11, 2009.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jun/11/israel-the-rules-of-war-an-exchange/

“Israel: Civilians and Combatants: An Exchange, Shlomo Avineri and Zeev Shternhell, Reply by Avishai Margalit and Michael Walzer”, The New York Review of Books, 56 (August 13 2009).

Halbertal, Moshe, “The Goldstone Illusion – What the UN report gets wrong about Gaza – and war” The New Republic (November 2009).

http://www.tnr.com/article/world/the-goldstone-illusion?page=0,3

Alan Dershowitz, "Israel's Policy is Perfectly Proportionate", in the Wall Street Journal, 2 January 2009.

http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cache:1vcaW_hl5OsJ:cadavrexquis.typepad.com/files/dershowitz-wsj-020109.doc+Dershowitz+Israel%27s+perfectly+proportionate&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=il

Michael Walzer, "On Proportionality", The New Republic, January 2009.

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=d6473c26-2ae3-4bf6-9673-ef043cae914f

Asa Kasher and Major General Amos Yadlin, with a reply by Margalit and Walzer, “Israel & the Rules of War: An Exchange,” New York Review of Books, June 11, 2009. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jun/11/israel-the-rules-of-war-an-exchange/

 

Week 10: Sieges and Blockades

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (New York: Basic Books, 1977), Chapter 10, 161-170.  

 

Recommended Reading:

*Tamar Meisels, Economic Warfare – The Case of Gaza (2011) Journal of Military Ethics, Vol. 10 (2) 94-109.

*HCJ 9132/07, interim decision on fuel to Gaza from 29 November 2007. See (unofficial) English translation of the advanced hearing, at:

http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/Legal%20Documents%20/fuel%20and%20electricity_oct_07/english_docs/English%20Translation%20of%20HCJ9132%20decision%20_2_.pdf

Israel's Supreme Court decision on electricity reductions to Gaza:

*HCJ 9132/07. 30 January 2008. http://www.mfa.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/938CCD2E-89C7-4E77-B071-56772DFF79CC/0/HCJGazaelectricity.pdf.

*Oliver O'Donovan, The Just War Revisited (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), Chapter 1, pp. 48-63 and Chapter 4.

 

Week 11: Preemptive Strikes: Israel and Iran

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust War, Chap. 5. “Anticipation”.

David Luban, “Preventive War”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 32 (3) (Summer 2004)  

 

Further Sources on Preventive War:

Tamar Meisels, “Preemptive Strikes – Israel and Iran”, in The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence Vol. 25 (2) (July 2012).   

Henry Shue and David Rodin (eds), Preemption – Military Action and Moral Justification (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). (A collection of articles).

Fletcher and Jens David Ohlin, Defending Humanity – When Force is Justified and Why (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 155-176, Chapter 7: “Preemptive and Preventive Wars”.

Jeff McMahan, “Preventive War and the Killing of the Innocent”, in Richard Sorabji and David Rodin (eds), The Ethics of War: Shared problems in Different Traditions (Aldershot UK: Ashgate, 2006), 169–90.

 

Week 12: Torture-the "Ticking Bomb" scenario:

Henry Shue, “Torture” Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 7, no. 2, 1978, 124-243.

Michael Walzer, “Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 2(2) (1973), 160-180, reprinted in Sanford Levinson (ed.) Torture - A Collection (Oxford and New-York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 61-76.

 

Further sources on torture:

Israel Supreme Court Judgment on the interrogation methods Applied by the GSS, September 1999. http://elyon1.court.gov.il/files_eng/94/000/051/a09/94051000.a09.HTM

Jeremy Waldron, “Torture and Positive Law”, 105 Columbia Law Review (2005), 1715.

Tamar Meisels, “Torture and the Problem of Dirty Hands”,  The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence Vol. XXI No. 1, January 20

Henry Shue: "Torture in Dreamland: Disposing of the Ticking Bomb", 37 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law (2006), pp. 231-239.    

Dershowitz, Alan, M. “Is it Necessary to Apply ‘Physical Pressure’ to Terrorists – And to Lie About It”, Israel Law Review, Vol. 23, Nos. 2-3 (1989), 193-200.

Jeremy Waldron, “What Can Christian Thinking Add to the Debate About Torture”,   63 Theology Today (2006) 330-343.

David, Sussman, “What’s Wrong With Torture?” Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 33 (1), 2005, pp. 1-33.

Dershowitz, Alan, M. “Tortured Reasoning”, in Levinson (ed.) Torture - A Collection (Oxford and New-York: Oxford University Press, 2004), Chapter 14, 257-280.

Michael Moore, “Torture and the balance of Evils”, Israel law review, Vol. 23, Nos. 2-3,  Special Volume on Torture (1989), 280-344.

 

Week 13: Terrorism, Counter Terrorism and Torture – the French vs. FLN terrorism in Algeria

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (New York: Basic Books, 1977), pp. 204-206.

The Battle of Algiers (film, plus discussion – comparison to Israel).

 

Week 14: Terrorism and Torture: the Dilemma of Dirty hands in War.

 

Wrap Up – discussion, summery and conclusions.

 

  

 

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