Philosophical schools of morality are typically based on justifying nominally immoral acts in the name of shibboleths of necessity; i.e. system, logic, law etc. The common misperception of morality including among virtually all academic philosophers is that it is about ethics and so this is thus completely mistaken as morality is in many ways the very opposite of ethics although claiming the same telos.
While moralities of war might seem fundamentally different from other moralities is this really not the case. Moralities of war rather expose the very nakedness of systems of morality. Of course is ethics preferable to morality but ethical choices are often simply not discursively available at all unless one considers political, economic and biological suicide an ethical option of effective human ritual sacrifice. In fact, if you permanently harm yourself to some degree do you thus probably to a corresponding degree lose the capacity to be an ethical agent of ethical change in ethically helping others help themselves.
Yet technological advances means that collateral damage may become increasingly avoided. The ethics of war should thus be concerned with developing military technologies that not only defend the innocent but furthermore protect innocents from becoming collateral casualties.
The international laws of war are intrinsically premised on utilitarianism which is a horrible ideology which advocates sacrificing persons in the name utility such as maximizing pleasure, reducing total suffering, maximizing happiness etc. All totalitarian ideologies including the discursive justifications for the Animal Industry of Evil do indeed deploy utilitarianism to justify their evil deeds.
Ethics in being the telos of morality cannot conceivably be understood without understanding human beings as embodied sentient agents of cognition. The most fundamental fact about human Animals is that we are Herd Animals. Ideologies of tyranny typically use this so as to justify tyranny itself while ideologies of liberty instead simply ignore this fundamental fact of human existence in pretending that humans generally essentially are non-herd predators, lone wolves so to speak.
War therefore needs be understood as fundamentally a zoological activity in competition over turf and resources, yet of course this does not necessarily imply moral equality between two or more warring parties.
What then is a just war and can war even be just considering that it is intensely devoted to producing grieving mothers? The fact that morality is based on perceived necessity obviously does not imply that there is no such as thing as necessity but rather that there is a relative spectrum of degree in foundation of discursive claims of necessity. Discursive signifiers of necessity need thus not be entirely conflated with functional necessity.
Perceived necessity in warfare is often a propaganda construction whereby discourses of “necessity” are cynically manufactured for ulterior purposes. The question need however be pondered if war can even be ethical. Can killing human beings ever being ethical? The answer is absolutely yes. Humans are not each other’s equals considering extremely diverse psychometric profiles in so many respects and so killing evildoers in warfare is an absolute necessity. Would any serious person argue that trying to kill Adolf Hitler during WW2 was somehow unethical?
Ethical warfare thus is based on targeted killings in avoiding collateral damage. 20th century weapons technologies were mostly masculinist monstrosities in producing vast amounts of collateral damage. The ethics of war is thus not about refraining from war due to the risk of collateral damage but is rather about conceptual, social and technological innovation of targeted killings. Targeted killings are indeed the very telos of the ethics of war.
This means that military technological development needs change course from effectively maximizing collateral damage to eliminating collateral damage without in the process compromising legitimate operational objectives. Targeted killings need however not necessarily be high tech as targeted killings are far preferable in every way including in terms of avoiding unwisely alienating the civilian population by means of causing collateral damage. In today’s wars have your already lost the war once you have alienated the civilian population whether your own or that of the adversary. Once you lose the home front have you lost the war. Once you have lost the civilian population of your adversary have you also lost the war.
Targeted killings are thus they way to wage ethical warfare although you need obviously be very extremely careful in selecting your fully legal human military targets. Targeted killings are indeed the most ethical form of warfare possible to the degree of course as as involving actual killings of fellow human beings.
Targeted killings may even be performed on a vast scale. This can be high tech but it can also be low tech. Modern patriarchal militaries despite being highly funded and highly equipped are typically unable to attain their operational goals and so need we shift paradigm in conception of warfare from one of morality to one of ethics. War needs however also be ethical in telos or it is not ethical at all and so the telos of any particular war needs be carefully and thoroughly examined indeed.
The Eurolect – Politics of the Para-Christian documentation project