"...no "retaliation" is ever justified that injures or kills innocent people..."

Murray Rothbard: 1986:

"In New York and other cities of the United States, hundreds of innocent men, women, and children are terrorized every day, in crimes called mugging. Should the United States government carpet-bomb New York City, destroying it for "harboring" terrorists, and for allowing them to use the city as a "base"? But, you might say, that would mean murdering masses of innocents? Sure, so why then is it OK for the United States government to shell Shiite villages, murdering the innocent, or for Israel to bomb Tunisia, killing 61 innocents, or for the United States to bomb Libya?

The U.S. and Israel say that they deplore having to kill innocents, but since they feel that they must "retaliate," and they can’t pinpoint the actual terrorists – in fact, they don’t know where the terrorists are or even who they are – therefore, they must do something, and killing the innocent becomes a regrettable necessity.

But how does such an argument differ from the U.S. government carpet-bombing New York City ("We must retaliate, and it is regrettable that we have to kill thousands, but we can’t pinpoint the SOB’s"). Or, for that matter, how does it differ from policemen trying to catch a criminal fleeing into a crowd, and simply machine-gunning the entire crowd?

To bring the case closer to home, there is some evidence that the Air India plane that blew up out of Canada was sabotaged by Sikh terrorists, and that those Sikhs were trained in a CIA training camp in Alabama. Would the Canadian, or Indian, government be justified in a bombing strike against the CIA base in Alabama, even at the regrettable cost of killing a few thousand Alabamans? If not, why not? Isn’t Alabama a "harborer" of Sikh terrorists?

Furthermore, every group in this struggle has grounds to believe that they are "retaliating": the Arabs believe that they are retaliating against Israeli aggressors and their backers in the United States.

The rule should be absolute: no "retaliation" is ever justified that injures or kills innocent people, and that means people who are not themselves active criminals. Anything else is an apologia for unremitting and unending mass murder; anything else is chaos and old night, and a justification for "anarchy" in the bad sense."

Source: http://archive.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ro...