War is a prominent issue in modernsociety dating back to ancient civilizations. War has always been causedbecause of power and greed… Previous ruthless leaders were to destroy whateverstood in their way to reach their goals even if innocent lives were to betaken. To what extent can we justify the killing of innocents in order to reacha goal? In modern society, there has been a controversial issue with the use ofdrones and bombs in Afghanistan in efforts to stop terrorist from growing andthreatening the United States. The use of drones does not specifically kill anyindividual but kills/injures the radius of the targeted area and therefore canalso kill innocents if close to a terrorist organization.
Utilitarianism thencan be used as a tool to justify war and used to ignore moral ethics in war. Act Utilitarianism is the best form ofconsequentialism that supports drone warfare in Afghanistan in a moderateextent due to the fact it can be argued the negative consequences can outweighthe original intention.Utilitarianism is a philosophical concept,which abides in choosing a decision in order to benefit the majority.Utilitarianism can become confusing since there are multiple different typestherefore the best way to explain is using a thought experiment. This thoughtexperiment requires you to imagine a scenario that will be explained and thenrequire your personal input. Imagine being the conductor of a trolley and youhave two paths, one path contains one human strapped to the road and the otherpath contains three humans strapped. Which would you decide? The most commonanswer is the first choice since there will be less deaths by the end of theaction. This can be considered as classic Utilitarianism.
What if the scenariobecame more complicated? The one person that was strapped was a genius whoalways gave back to the community and the other three who are also strapped arehomeless drunks who hasn’t given anything to the community. Would your answerchange? If you chose to save the genius then your point of view represents ActUtilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism is when a “person’s act is morally right ifand only if it produces at least as much happiness as any other act that theperson could perform at that time”. This philosophical concept was found byJeremy Bentham and based on the principle of utility. The principle of utilityclaims “statesthat actions or behaviors are right in so far as they promote happiness orpleasure, wrong as they tend to produce unhappiness or pain.” Once you chose tosave the genius then it is it to believed that the overall result of the death ofthe three homeless drunks would best satisfy the community since there will bea genius who will be alive giving back to the community. Bentham was not theonly philosopher to expand Utilitarianism but also included John Stuart Milland Peter Singer thus creating alternates perspectives on how one would reactto a certain scenario.
John Stuart Mill was the founder ofRule utilitarianism, which is greatly contrasted by Act Utilitarianism becauseit relies mostly on rules instead of relying on the end results. Mill’stheories rely on general rules based on the utility principle for any situationand therefore can be considered a great weakness since rules can’t be appliedto all scenarios. Mill’s utilitarianism can be separated in two different typesof Rule Utilitarianisms…. strong and weak. A strong utilitarian would not haveany exceptions with the rules they created because the society can feelthreaten the happiness of a society not followed. A weak utilitarian would beable to bend rules if a scenario reaches to an extreme scenario such as murderor death. A weak rule utilitarian can be closely linked to an Act Utilitarian.Utilitarianism applies in multiplesway to modern society such as the creation of new laws, elections, and commonproblems that can be solved by a consensus.
Different types of utilitarianisms can be applied to the majority oflife choices one makes.Act Utilitarianism can be best described choosing a decisionthat would satisfy the majority…. Edward Snowden would be an example of one whobelieves in this theory since he unrevealed the government’s secrets in effortsto help the public. The secrets he revealed were that the United Statesgovernment was spying on the public without their permission therefore believedit was best for the public to know the truth. Rule utilitarianism can be demonstrated whenone decides to tell the truth under oath or even with a friend. You choose a decision based on the moral ruleto not lie and therefore believe it’s best to be honest in the scenario.Preference Utilitarianism would choose the decision to lie or to be honestbased on would cause the least suffering/pain which means they could eitherchoose to lie or to be honest depending on the situation. DifferentUtilitarianisms can be used in different scenarios to determine the best formof consequentialism in order to satisfy the majority.
If Utilitarianism can beused to validate controversial problems then can it be used to justify theaction of war?As mentioned before, Utilitarianismis a tool used to choose the best decision for a certain crisis such aspolitics, personal problems, and even war. War is a big concept to understandin relation to Utilitarianism because there are multiple ethical dilemmas andself-destruction involved when mentioning war. The best way to explain thecorrelation between War and Utilitarianism is the Just War Theory proposed byAugustine of Hippo. “Just War Theory is the basis on which nationsseek to legally and morally justify going to war.
” (Oregon), The theory claimswhy one should enter war and how to conduct in war: Jus Ad Bellum or Jus InBello. The concept of Jus AdBellum explains five criteria that determine if a country should go to war. TheUnited States can be used as an example in order to defend the reason why theyare at war with Afghanistan. The five guidelines in Jus Ad Bellum…1. LegitimateDeclaration 2. Tohave a just cause and a right intention 3.
Probabilityof Success 4. Proportionality5. LastResortThe United States went to war with Afghanistan to prevent futureterrorist attacks by the al-Qaeda or the Taliban and was legitimately declaredin 2001 one month after 9/11. The United States also believed that their wouldbe a great probability to reduce the terrorism spread by terroristorganizations originating in Afghanistan because of the massive amount ofallies the United States has in comparison to the terrorist organizations.
TheUnited States only wants to go to war against the terrorist group thereforemaking it proportional; The terrorist groups do no want to find a diplomaticsolutions because they are held stubborn with their ideologies of being IslamicExtremist and believe their religion is the only true one. (Hoge) The concept of Jus inBello is applied when war starts and is used to ethically direct how one shouldconduct at war. Jus in Bello contains five guidelines in order to determine howwar should be conducted…1. Distinction2. Proportionality3. MilitaryNecessity 4.
EqualRights to Prisoners of War5. Noillegal warfareThese guidelines are used in order to guarantee a fair war andtherefore provide a winning party at the end of the war instead of completedestruction. The United States has followed all five guidelines yet can beargued some guidelines are subjective and are not applied correctly by theUnited States. The best way to understand if the United States follows wartheory is by using Utilitarianism to support their actions.
The biggestcontroversial problem in War Theory is not being able to judge if one party hasthe right intentions or on the right side and thus questioning if the theoryresults into victory. Utilitarianism can be used to determine the rightintentions and who is right but what Utilitarianism is right? According to Mill’s theory of RuleUtilitarianism, he focused on quality of pleasure and followed regulationstherefore he would believe that the United States followed the right intentionsof retaliating since they were targeted in 2001 by al-Qaeda and didn’toriginally create the problem. Rule Utilitarianism does not only demonstratethe United States has the right intention but also clarifies that they are theinnocents. Rule Utilitarianism follows moral rules that can go against Just WarTheory… Utilitarianism believes that one should choose a decision (enter war) ifthe quality of happiness can outweigh the consequences. If Rule Utilitarianismjustifies the war against terrorism in Afghanistan then it can only justifiedif no one is harmed besides the opposing party. The reasoning towards theUtilitarianism not being able to support Just War Theory is because the strictmoral code it follows which includes “To not kill” but if violated then youwould have to worry about other moral guidelines such as not to sacrificesoldiers (people) if there is no victory apparent soon from the beginning ofthe war.
(Shaw) The War in Afghanistan is Rule Utilitarianism can’t justify anongoing war that started in 2001 after the 9/11 incidents that has not endedterrorism therefore the war. Singer’stheory of Preference Utilitarianism focuses on the minimization of sufferingand one’s preference vs. others in order to choose a decision. PreferenceUtilitarianism would support the intentions of the United States to go to warsince diplomatic relations cannot be established with terrorist organizationsand also understand which party is considered innocent (The United States). Theoverall understanding and definition of Preference Utilitarianism is to avoidall types of suffrage even if it includes the other party. Preference Utilitarianismwould have a problem allowing innocents in Afghanistan to die since there areunintentional casualties in war.
*Not only does Preference Utilitarianism goagainst unintentional casualties but also goes against the belief that alliesor weapons can measure probability of success. Singer would believe thatprobability of success is to measure the least amount of suffering in bothparties which would be impossible because it is a continuous battle that hasnot been able to end ever since 2001. The best way for Singer to support war asa whole is to use pressure points in the opposing sides such as causingpowerful leaders to change their perspectives instead of murdering leaders.Preference Utilitarianism is similar to Rule Utilitarianism in the subject ofJust War Theory because both believe that one should not enter war if soldierswill die and not be able complete the original intentions of entering the war. ActUtilitarianism is the best justification of Just War Theory since thisUtilitarianism is unique to each scenario and can provide different decisionsthan other Utilitarianisms. Bentham’s theory supports Jus ad Bellum and Jus inBello since it can be agreed that the intentions of the United States is toprevent future terrorist act and therefore understanding why war is a necessaryelement in order to end terrorism.
Act Utilitarianism can also be used tojustify that the United States is the party who is right because they wereattacked first and thus allowing them to retaliate to protect their citizens.The overall point of war is justified by this Utilitarianism because it isbelieved to be the best way to end the conflict with a solution and providemaximum amount of happiness. Even if Act Utilitarianism is the bestUtilitarianism to choose to justify warfare… a controversial problem stillemerges when closely analyzing how Act Utilitarianism justifies the conduct ofwar. According to the fifth criteria of Jus In Bello in Just War Theory, aparty should not include illegal warfare that can cause too much damage to theopponent.
Since the United States has one of the most advanced militaries inthe world then the best weapons are created for war. The most recentcontroversial weapon that has been questioned is drones warfare. Drones havebeen the result of the 21-century technological advancements but does it goagainst War Theory? Astechnology increases, weaponry becomes stronger in order to face other nationsif war becomes prevalent. The United States has been able to begin using dronesin the War in Afghanistan in order to terminate terrorism; Individuals believethat drone warfare has becomes too frequent since it is easier to have moredrone strikes against Afghanistan because the United States becomes moredisconnected from the horrors of war (https://drones.procon.org). Act Utilitarianism claims this is valid yet does it justbecome easier for the United States to launch more drones and forgetting whattheir intention was.
According the Bentham, the decision of launching moredrones is acceptable if it is used to maximize happiness. Under what terms canone measure happiness without using money as a form of measuring? Thealternative way of measuring happiness is to measure the amount of death’s overalland what death’s cause significant changes in terrorism. ActUtilitarianism can be considered controversial when understanding that theUnited States can control the lives of the opposing party without causing harmto their own soldiers or citizens by using drone warfare. Therefore onceunderstanding that the United States controls lives then it is to be understoodthat the United States can play a god role and then be considered an ethicaldilemma since one can’t choose who lives.
According to Act Utilitarianism andJust War Theory, one can play the role of god if there are good intentions andthat the deaths of the opposing party will benefit the United States. Thedeaths in the opposing party would benefit the United States since there wouldbe a reduction of terrorism. The following ethical dilemma still emerges inDrone Warfare… How can the unintentional killing of innocents be justified?This question can be simply justified once again by Act Utilitarianism and JustWar Theory since both concepts underline that one can make a cruel decision ifit would make the most happiness in the overall society, which would be areduction in terrorism.
Thefollowing controversial problem with drone warfare is that it can be deemed tobe a dangerous weapon to society since the impact range of a drone can causemultiple causalities. This sounds familiar to chemical warfare, which is anillegal form of weaponry; if drones provide a big radius and also cause masscasualties then it can theoretically be considered an illegal weapon. Ifconsidered as an illegal weapon then there would be a instability in globalsecurity and could cause consequences far worse than drone warfare.
If theopposing party (terrorist) believed that the United States went against JustWar Theory then they would replicate the same actions of being able to use anyweaponry that can allow them to win the war such as gas/chemical warfare. Thisproblem can be quickly notated that it will be more aware in the followingyears as technology improves. Act Utilitarianism then can be used to explainthat even if the United States decides to use drone warfare, the deaths thatcould be caused by the terrorist wouldn’t be able to outweigh the deaths thatwill be caused by the drones. Act Utilitarianism is not the only support forthis argument but Just War Theory can be demonstrated since the conduct of warcan be justified by proportionality. Proportionality means that even if theyuse any chemical/gas weaponry against the United States then the United Stateswill still be able to outweigh the terrorist organizations because of oursurplus of allies and increasing technology. Thisis not the only disadvantage towards Act Utilitarianism but individuals believethat philosophy is not the best approach to this ethical problem.
. According to James Igoe Walsh, “oneimportant shortcoming of philosophical and ethical reflections on the effectsof drones is that they do not produce very precise estimates about how sizablea change in opinion the introduction of this technology will create. Oneimportant contribution of our results, then, is to compare how drones alteropinions compared to other factors that we know from existing research altersupport for the use of force”.
Ifphilosophy were then to be flawed since guesses are made then how does onedetermine a solution to the question? Walsh believes the best way ofapproaching this ethical problem is by scientifically proving and determiningdeaths before they initiate any drones. Thereare multiple benefits that support drone warfare in Afghanistan such as beingable to avoid mass deaths in comparison to older times. Previous war requiredfor war to be fought man to man or at least on the front line where dronewarfare requires a remote computer that connects to drones which eliminates thenecessary of death in war.
This type of warfare is greatly justified bySinger’s and Bentham’s theories since drone warfare maximizes happiness andminimized the pain for the United States. Remote Controlled drones are then tobe considered a great addition the military since it removes the concept ofdeath in the battle zone and provides more happiness since more people survivein the United States. The United States does not onlydecrease in deaths because of drone warfare but also maximizes amount ofhappiness to a further extent than any other weapon has. Drone warfare canincrease success in killing terrorist faster than any other weapon sinceheadquarters can be destroyed quicker instead of charging in with a swat team andcausing potential death to the team. To best understand why drone warfare isgreatly appreciated then it’s best to read the collective data by the bureau ofinvestigations… According to the Bureau,there has been “684-1081″amount of total reported terrorist in 2017 due to drone strikes. Drone warfare appeals to the largerportion of society according to Act Utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism requiresthat there is a consensus on how one chooses a decision (to go to war)therefore resulting in the bigger part of society having an opinion towards thedecision of war. Drone warfare can also be demonstrated to appeal to the biggerpart of society since there are not many deaths in comparison to previous warbecause of these technological advances that don’t require one to be present inthe battlefield.
As society grows, technologyimproves and therefore can cause ethical dilemmas such as drone warfare. Tobegin to understand drone warfare, one must understand why war is prevalent inmodern society by using the concept of Just War Theory. There are multiplefactors that affect if Just War Theory is correct and justice but the best formto understand if ethically correct is using Bentham’s theory of ActUtilitarianism. In understanding that Just War Theory and Act Utilitarianismare co-friendly concept then we can apply the justification of drone warfare inmodern society. Drone warfare has several potential problems such asdis-realization from war, endangering global security and manipulating wholives based on a countries perspective but all these problems can be consideredto be a negative consequence, which can be outweighed by the positives of beingable to use drones in warfare.
Drone warfare can avoid mass deaths since itreplaces traditional forms of going to war, reducing terrorism dramatically,and appealing to larger portion of society. Overall, Act Utilitarianism is thebest form of Utilitarianism to justify drone warfare since it maximizes theamount of happiness (lives) and minimizes the amount of suffering (deaths) inthe United States therefore Act Utilitarianism is the best form ofjustification for drone warfare.