The Dissipation of Liability: Rescuing the Theory of Intervening Agency

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West Point Press
Within the conventional Just War Theory, there exists a principle that non-combatants are immune from being targeted. However, scholars such as Jeff McMahan argue that those who are morally responsible for threatening lethal harm incur liability to be harmed themselves, defensively. In this context, a debate has emerged over whether non-combatants supporting an unjust war could justifiably be targeted by the victims of that war. This paper explores the moral justifications for discrimination, where only combatants can be rightfully attacked and killed, while non-combatants enjoy the privilege of non-liability, specifically examining the Intervening Agency theory that draws on the concept of causal proximity and liability to defensive killing.
Political Science and Security Studies
Kelly, Jim. “The Dissipation of Liability: Rescuing the Theory of Intervening Agency.” West Point Journal of Politics and Security 1, no. 2 (2023): 14-18