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The Sense of Proportion


Over at my Washington Post discussion group, I respond to claims that Israeli military action has been excessive:

The traditional just-war standard is that military action should be “proportionate” in that it causes fewer harms than it seeks to prevent. That’s a sane and sound moral standard. It does not mean that military means must inflict only as much pain as the enemy has inflicted.

My comment can be taken as an implicit response, as well, to supporters of Israel who have suggested that the just-war tradition should be at least partially abandoned. These supporters err, I think, in agreeing with many of their foes on what proportionality means.