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Types of Terror Bombing and Shifting Responsibility

Types of Terror Bombing and Shifting Responsibility

(p.281) 15 Types of Terror Bombing and Shifting Responsibility
Action, Ethics, and Responsibility
Frances Kamm
The MIT Press

This chapter discusses responsibility by examining the concept of terror bombing, which is the most common focus when it comes to discussions regarding intentional harm to noncombatants (NCs) in war or other conflicts outside war. This is differentiated from tactical bombing, which also has the potential to cause harm to NCs as collateral damage. Different forms of terror bombing can disseminate responsibility for outcomes in a number of ways, and what bearing this may have on the morality of terror bombing is studied in the chapter. There are various ways in which intentionally causing harm and terror to NCs can occur. During World War II, not all of these were considered by policymakers to be “terror bombing” that should be avoided due to moral obligation. It is argued here that nonstandard forms of terror bombing are also wrong using the same criteria which condemn standard terror bombing.

Keywords:   responsibility, terror bombing, tactical bombing, noncombatants, NCs, collateral damage, moral obligation

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