Killing from a Distance: A Christian Ethical Evaluation of CIA Targeted Drone Killings

Heythrop Journal 56 (5):836-849 (2015)
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This article provides an ethical evaluation of the CIA's use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to target so-called terror suspects and insurgents. It utilises Christian informed deontological and virtue-ethical criteria to assess this practise. These criteria include just intent, charity, proportionality, moral consistency, truthfulness, mercy, courage and prudence. The article concludes that the UAV target programme is morally problematic. The United States’ ‘kill not capture’ policy as exemplified in the use of ‘signature’ strikes defies the virtues at stake. By using UAV's as tools for preventive warfare, utilising armed UAV's that are weapons of war outside areas of armed conflict and disregarding the principles of transparency, last resort and proportionality, the United States is employing UAV's in a morally illegitimate and imprudent way, and is setting precedents that might have dire consequences for global peace and the security of future generations



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After Virtue.A. MacIntyre - 1981 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.
Justice as impartiality.Brian Barry - 1995 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Just and Unjust Wars.M. Walzer - 1979 - Philosophy 54 (209):415-420.
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War and the Virtues in Aquinas's Ethical Thought.Ryan R. Gorman - 2010 - Journal of Military Ethics 9 (3):245-261.

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