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Analysis of Michael Walzer's View on Terrorism Essay

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Michael Walzer is an esteemed retired professor from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Walzer has written many books, essays, and articles. His essay, Excusing Terror, is one that best relates to the current events happening around the world. In this essay, Walzer talks about different reasons that people would want to resort to terrorism. In this essay I will argue Walzers view on Terrorism is correct in that terrorism is wrong because it is akin to murder, it is random in who it targets, and no one has immunity. I will also offer an objection to Walzer’s theory and explain why it is not a valid one.

First to determine if terrorism is in fact right or wrong we must understand what it is. Although there is not a universal definition to describe terrorism I relate closely to Walzers definition which is: “a random murder of innocent people, intended to frighten a population into demanding that their governments negotiate for their safety.” In Walzer’s article “Terrorism” (Cahn, 239) he lists the purpose and methods of terrorism as to “destroy the moral of a nation or a class, to undercut its solidarity; its method is the random murder of innocent people.” Innocent people or noncombatants, as people call them, are described as normal working civilians who do not play a role in the government or have any control of what is happening politically. These innocent people are the ones who are targeted with no regards to political affiliation, the only thing that makes them the target is simply belonging to a certain group. To offer an example in 911 innocent people were killed and were chosen only because they worked in the World Trade Center, they were not chosen for anything they had done politically. Wal...


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...agree with. The hardest aspect of determining whether or not terrorism is morally right or wrong is the various definitions that it can have. As mentioned earlier I relate to Walzer’s definition of terrorism and understand it as he does. As discussed I feel that terrorism is wrong because it is akin to murder, it is random in who it targets and when, and no one has immunity. There are objections to this argument which is that conventional war is worse than terrorism therefore if war is justifiable then terrorism can be as well. As argued the difference between war and terrorist is the way of choosing your victims, which in my mind refutes this objection. Terrorism exists and whether it is right or wrong can be argued respectfully.



Works Cited

Cahn, S.M. (2011). Exploring Ethics: An Introductory Anthology, 2Nd Edition. (pp. 239-253) Oxford University Press


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