Tainted Humanity: The Dilemma of Military Interventions

JVF Conference Papers

Everytime I discussed or even fought with friends about the Kosovo-War of the NATO, a paralysing undecidedness befell me. Why was it so hard to take a definite attitude of consent or rejection towards this operation. In a certain way, my paper is an attempt to show the ethical problem, which underlies this indecision. I’m still uncertain about a conclusive moral evaluation of Humanitarian Interventions (HI) in general – though I’m now more confident to give a verdict about the KosovoWar –, because I think that the situations where a HI is considered, i.e. where there is a great amount of suffering which can only be ended by military means, confronts us with a moral dilemma. On the one hand, people in need and misery ought to be helped, on the other hand this can only be accomplished by means which themselves involve harm and destruction. So the usual question “Are you in favor or against HI?” I can only answer by saying evasively: “It depends”.

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