Kantian Analysis of War

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In 2007, a video surfaced where the U.S. military opened fire on a group of Iraqi civilians from their helicopter; then fired on another group of unarmed civilians in a van, with children, trying to rescue some of the injured people. In the video, one of the civilians from the first group looked as if he had a weapon but it was unclear. The soldier made the decision to open fire on them before they could possibly attack first. The attack killed several men and injured two children. After the video surfaced, the media picked apart the video shot for shot and analyzed whether or not the soldier did the right or moral thing by engaging those civilians. The question should not be whether or not the soldier should have engaged but why there were children on the battlefield at all. The would-be rescuer knew there was a risk coming into a location where shots had been fired. They ought to know better than to bring children into a possibly dangerous area. If one looks at this situation without Kantian analysis, the attack seems to be caused by a trigger happy soldier who was looking for an excuse to murder. The “weapon” he claimed to see was actually a camera. In reality, the soldier fired at unarmed civilians, a photographer, and children. Considering the end result, the soldier made a poor choice. But if we analyze the context of the situation, the soldier’s actions were warranted. In Kantian analysis, one should not look at the ends to and action but only the means. It is the thought that counts. When there is a possible threat, soldiers have a duty to handle the situation so that they are not harmed. After analyzing the situation, one could say this soldier’s thoughts were that he was in danger and needed to protect himself and his fellow soldiers. In war, soldiers have no time to contemplate if their actions are absolutely ethical, they are just trying to stay
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