Michael Walzer “Supreme Emergency” & Thomas Nagel “War and Massacre”
- Michael Walzer:
o “supreme emergency”: rare case where fighting unjustly is the least wrong thing to
do (but still blameworthy)
Cautions about using this clause too quickly; the clause of necessity is often
used to escape blame.
o Necessity: danger must be imminent, unusual and horrifying.
o Choose the lesser of two evils: do the ends justify the means
British terror bombing of German cities
Belief that tactical bombs wouldn’t stop Hitler
Purpose – destroy civilian morale
Also, reprisal for German blitzkrieg
o Hiroshima and bombing Tokyo
Difference between Japanese and Nazis
Belief that Japanese fighting aggressive war unjustly
Does this mean the people of Hiroshima forfeit their rights?
o Utilitarian Calculus:
Only violate the rules of war in face of defeat likely to bring about disaster
not merely to bring about victory
o Means-ends reasonin