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Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism : Ethics and Liberal Democracy - Seumas Miller

Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism

Ethics and Liberal Democracy


Published: 23rd May 2008
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Undoubtedly, the events of September 11, 2001 served as a wake-up call to the scourge of global terrorism facing twenty-first century societies. But was the attack on the World Trade Center a crime or an act of war? Is seemingly indiscriminate violence inflicted on civilians ever morally justified? And should society's response always be in kind &#8211; with blind, destructive violence? For that matter, are all civilians truly &#8216;innocent&#8217;? The answers are not always so simple.<br><p><b><i>Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: Ethics and Liberal Democracy</i></b> provides sobering analyses of the nature of terrorism and the moral justification &#8211; or lack thereof &#8211; of terrorist actions and counter-terrorism measures in today's world. Utilizing a variety of thought-provoking philosophical arguments, the historic roots of terrorism and its contemporary incarnations are explored in depth. Detailed analyses of organizations such as the IRA, the ANC, Hamas and Al-Qaeda will reveal the many faces of terrorism and its disparate motives and tactics. Discussion of the nature and scope of terrorism and whether it can ever be morally justified is balanced with analysis of counter-terrorism strategies and the methods and moral limits of counter-terrorism.<br><p><b><i>Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism</i></b> will greatly broaden our understanding of the nature and morality of terrorism and counter-terrorist pursuits &#8211; a crucial precondition for establishing any form of enduring peace between nations in the twenty-first century world.

"Miller's approach is thematic, addressing questions of how todefine terrorism, whether it can ever be justified, and, finally, whether terrorism should be fought through the police or themilitary, and whether to contemplate the use of interrogativetorture. ...[H]is tone is...cautiously analytical throughout, eschewing any obvious sense of partisanship...[offering] adistinctive and important contribution to a range of debates on theethics of terrorism and counterterrorism." (Christoper J. Finlay, Ethics and International Affairs, 24, no. 1, 2010).

"[Miller's] book is seminal in its suggestion of re-establishingthe political role of philosophical
reason for dealing with the problems of our age." (Mehmet RuhiDemiray, Political Studies Review, 2011, vol. 9)

"Seumas Miller's book is entitled Terrorism andCounter-Terrorism but it is much more than its title suggests. Itis best described as an astute examination of the different typesof 'unconventional political violence' that occur in ourworld. It provides useful discussions of political assassinations, targeted killings, torture, attacks on military personnel who donot perceive themselves to be at war, and more. Miller isespecially concerned about the appropriate response toterrorism-whether it is fighting crime or engaging in war. He isalso concerned with how liberal democracies can most effectivelyrespond to terrorism without violating their most basic moralcommitments. . . there is much in the book that can advancediscussion of some of the most important issues facing Westernliberal democracies." (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 12 May2011)

"Seumas Miller has written a first-rate book. It is the onlyphilosophical treatment of the ethics of terrorism that takescounter-terrorism seriously. Building on his extensive work inpolice ethics, Miller refocuses the debate about terrorism in lightof the kind of procedures that police and the military employ tostop it. It greatly contributes to enlarging the growing debatesabout the appropriate moral response to terrorism.'-Larry May, Washington University in St Louis

'Miller's book is a serious invitation to think again throughcomplex issues, about whether terrorism is ever justifiable, aboutthe "police" versus "war" paradigms of counter-terrorism, and abouttorture... In general, Miller's mode of argument is pleasinglygenerous, pointing out difficulties and counter-arguments along theway." The Guardian



1. The Varieties of Terrorism.


Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in the Israeli?Palestinian Conflict.

Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism and the IRA in Northern Ireland.

The African National Congress?s Armed Struggle in Apartheid South Africa.

Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in India.


2. Defining Terrorism.

The Definition of Terrorism in Terms of Innocents.

The Definition of Terrorism in Terms of Non-Combatants.

Terrorism, Combatants and Authoritarian States.

The Definition of Terrorism: An Indirect Strategy.


3. Terrorism and Collective Responsibility.

Moral Justification for the Use of Deadly Force.

Civilian Immunity and Human Rights Violations.

Civilian Immunity and Culpable Omissions.

Terrorism and Non-Violent Rights Violators.


4. Terrorism-as-Crime.


Terrorism-as-Crime and Police Institutions.

Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights in Liberal Democracies at Peace.


5. Terrorism, War and States of Emergency.

Terrorist Attacks, Disasters and States of Emergency.

Terrorism, Internal Armed Struggles and Theatres of War.

Targeted Killings.

Targeted Killings and the Problem of Dirty Hands.


6. Torture.

Definition of Torture.

What Is Wrong with Torture?.

The Moral Justification for One-Off Acts of Torture in Emergencies.

The Moral Justification for Legalized and Institutionalized Torture.


7. Bioterrorism and the Dual-Use Dilemma.

The Biological Weapons Convention.

Experiments of Concern.

Dual-Use Research: The Ethical Issues.

Dissemination of Dual-Use Research Results.

The Regulation of Dual-Use Research.

An Independent Authority.




ISBN: 9781405139434
ISBN-10: 1405139439
Series: Blackwell Public Philosophy
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 222
Published: 23rd May 2008
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.96 x 16.05  x 1.25
Weight (kg): 0.34
Edition Number: 1