Protecting civilians during violent conflict : theoretical and practical issues for the 21st century
Farnham ; Burlington : Ashgate, 2012
p. 17-35 : tabl.
Are there compelling philosophical reasons for overriding a presumption in favour of citizen protection ? Nathanson argues that there are not ; he defends an absolute prohibition of intentional killing of civilians in war. His argument is based on a rule-utilitarian position that seeks to limit overall human damage and to diminish the ill effects of warfare. But there is another dimension to his position - to wit, the very idea that permissions may be granted to kill civilians intentionally (even under highly restrictive criteria) is problematic ; only the strongest possible prohibition could ever stand a chance of preventing civilian deaths, because any loophole in the prohibition is bound to be exploited.