Gonzaga Debate Institute 2010 Pointer/Gordon/Watts/Samuels Turkey Neg



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Deterrence is Moral


Far from being immoral, nuclear deterrence can help to prevent conflict

Shaw 84 (William, Chair and Professor of Philosophy, San Jose State University, Nuclear Deterrence and Deontology p. 250-251) MAH

Suppose, however, that in order to deter Hatfield, McCoy threatens I-latfield’s family. Those who would suffer from McCoy’s threatened re- taliation would thus include some who were not guilty of launching the initial, immoral attack. This brings the analogy doser to the real world of nuclear deterrence, in which a retaliatory second strike (whether “counterforce” or "countervalue") would clearly result in the death of millions who are not culpable for the original attack. ln some circumstances nations can be viewed as corporate actors, but I know of no plausible theory of moral responsibility which, given political realities today, would hold that the citizenry of an atomic aggressor deserves decimation. Nor will any “double-think about double effect” make such a response morally permissible? McCoy may be permitted to punish Hatfield, but he cannot justifiably attack Hatfield°s innocent family in order to retaliate against Hatfield, even for the destruction of his (McCoy’s) own family. Such a response falls outside the lex talionis and would be immoral from almost any imaginable normative perspective. l shall therefore assume, though l shall not argue for it further, that it would be immoral for a nation to carry out a nuclear second strike, the threatening of which is the basis of deterrent strategy. (Note that the deontologist's case against deterrence will not get very far if this assumption is not granted, that is, if it is morally permissible to retaliate against the civilian population of the other side.) Does it follow from the above that it is immoral for McCoy to threaten to respond to Hatfield’s attack with an action which it would be immoral for him actually to carry out? A number of philosophers have held that it is indeed immoral to threaten an immoral action. Michael Walzer, for example, endorses Paul Ramsey's declaration that “whatever is wrong to do is wrong to threaten,” clearly holding that nuclear threats are immoral and that our deterrent policy is essentially a “commitment to murder." Likewise, Anthony Kenny holds that 'NATO defense policy involves a readiness to commit murder on a gigantic scale.” The threat to do so is, of course, conditional, but “one may not intend even conditionally to do what is forbidden absolutely.” lf deterrence is successful, of course, then the threatened immoral action will not in fact happen. But this is not thought to make much moral difference since we are in effect holding the civilian population of the other nation hostage. Ramsey, for example, views the targeting of cities as morally equivalent to tying children to the bumpers of cars in order to ensure that people drive carefully, and Douglas Lackey contends that nuclear deterrence is analogous to McCoy kidnapping Hatfield’s child and wiring him to explosives in order to prevent Hatfield’s attack. McCoy, he says, has no right to increase the chance of Hatfeld’s child dying. On closer inspection, however, this line of reasoning is less conclusive than Ramsey and Lackey think. First, their analogies involve kidnapping, yet “holding hostage" the opposed population with nuclear weapons in no way limits its movement or activities. The mere pointing of French ICBMs at Soviet cities, scary as it may be, restricts no Soviet citi1en’s liberty. Soviet are not being tied to bumpers or wired to explosives: their lives of joy and sorrow will unfold much the same whether or not they are “held hostage.” Second, McCoy need not claim a “right” to threaten the Hatfield child (let alone to kidnap him), in the sense of putting Hatfield under an obligation not to remove his child from that threat. Rather, McCoy need only advance the weaker claim that he has no obligation not to threaten conduct harmful to Hatlield's child in order to dissuade Hatfield from an immoral action. Does Hatfield’s child have some right, which could furnish the ground of this putative obligation, not to have his life made the basis of a threat directed at his father (indeed the child himself may not know about the threat), or do the denizens of Leningrad have a right not to have French missiles pointed their way? Talk of rights is frequently rather loose these days, but even so it is hard to see what would be the basis of these supposed rights. Third, does McCoy's threat actually increase the chance of Hatlield's child dying, as Lackey assumes? lf McCoy’s threat were a bluff, then it would not enhance the chiId’s danger. On the other hand, if the threat is real but deters successfully, then no harm comes to the youngster. Has his chance of dying nonetheless been increased? The answer will obviously depend upon the circumstances, but if the predictable response to Hatfield's actions involves some risk to his family in any case (perhaps they will inevitably be endangered when he is pursued), then McCoy‘s threat may in fact lower the actual. though perhaps not the perceived, risk to Hatlield’s child. Many people assume that the nuclear era has made our lives more perilous, but if it were the case that the American hydrogen arsenal has prevented not just nuclear war, but a conventional conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union that would have occurred in a non- nuclear post-World War ll world, then it may actually have increased not only our safety, but the safety of the civilians held “hostage” in the USSR.

Deterrence is Moral


Nuclear deterrence is not deontologically immoral

Shaw 84 (William, Chair and Professor of Philosophy, San Jose State University, Nuclear Deterrence and Deontology p. 250-251) MAH

Although it is easy to be misled by current talk of limited nuclear exchanges and of the importance of winning nuclear encounters, the basis of American policy has been and continues to be the deterrence of nuclear warfare. We have grown accustomed to the concept of nuclear deterrence and to the corresponding reality of mutual balance of terror, but as the political debate grows, the strategy of deterrence deserves renewed ethical scrutiny. Technical discussions of nuclear policy generally proceed along at least implicitly utilitarian lines. Nuclear deterrence, though widely held to be distasteful, is nonetheless presumed to be, in some form or other, justifiable as the best course of action available to us under the circumstances. Over the years, however, a number of philosophers and theologians, focusing on the moral rather than technical aspects of nuclear deterrence. have challenged it from a deontological perspective, and it is this challenge that l wish to examine. Conventional wisdom may be mistaken in supposing that utilitarianism sanctions nuclear deterrence but such an issue involves questions of political fact and probabilities which l shall try to avoid here. In this essay I set aside the utilitarian approach in order to investigate the deontological critique of deterrence as much as possible on its own territory. After examining various grounds for rejecting a strategy of nuclear deterrence, I argue that such a strategy does not stumble over any deontological hurdles.




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