Protecting civilians during violent conflict : theoretical and practical issues for the 21st century
Farnham ; Burlington : Ashgate, 2012
Dean Cocking looks carefully at the notion of collateral damage, through a discussion about the notion of "intention", arguing that we should be prepared to take responsibility for inflicting collateral damage where we pursue a plan we know will cause such damage. We do not diminish our responsibility for killing innocents because it is not our direct intention to kill them or because it is not useful to our purposes to kill them. So when is collateral damage acceptable and what is the nature of our choice and responsibility for it ? Two central defining conditions have been that the damage we do must be unavoidable if we are to achieve our good and righteous ends and that the disvalue of this damage is not disproportionately greater than the value of the goods and rights we pursue. If these conditions are met, how should we understand our choice and responsibility for it ? Cocking's chapter highlights some of the key problems of choice and responsibility in such cases, and argues that we should have a better understanding of the contexts within which we make our choices.