Asa Kasher and Amos Yadlin have recently argued for a revised principle of distinction under which states should prioritize the protection of their own soldiers over that of noncombatants in certain combat scenarios. The situations that they envision are those in which a state's army is forced to fight terrorists on terrain which is not under the state's effective control. Kasher dramatizes the argument that the soldiers' safety should be prioritized by setting up a hypothetical conversation between the state and a soldier who asks 'Why should my state prefer an enemy citizen over me?' Kasher challenges his readers to offer the soldier a morally compelling answer. This article responds to Kasher's challenge by presenting a dialogue in which a commander (representing the state) offers the soldier four arguments which together provide a convincing answer. The commander grounds his arguments in differences in the amount of choice exercised by soldiers and civilians, the divergent ways the operation can be expected to impact on them, the different obligations they each have to the state, and the likely consequences of emphasizing the safety of soldiers over civilians. The dialogue provides support for the 'double intention' reading of the principle of distinction championed by Michael Walzer.
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