>Paul Treanor


Now, the idea that you can kill innocent people, simply in order to enforce your values, is extreme by western ethics standards. That does not mean it never happened – there were many religious wars where it did – but the dominant (liberal) tradition in western philosophy rejects ‘crusades’. The reason for this philosophical suspicion is simple. If Tony Blair may legitimately kill any person X, Y, or Z in Belgrade or Freetown or Basra, to enforce his values, then why is it not legitimate for them to come to London, and kill Tony Blair for their values?
Assassinations breed assassinations, atrocities breed atrocities, crusades make holy wars. Once a crusade starts, those who are not prepared to kill for their values, will be conquered by those who are. The horror of a general bloodbath – such as the wars of religion in Europe – had a fundamental influence on the development of liberal philosophy.
Cynically summarised, Human Rights Watch is a joint venture of George Soros and the State Department.

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