A critical aspect of the war on terrorism debate has to be this particular question: How many innocents would we sacrifice in order to theoretically protect a larger number of innocents from terrorists. It’s a bit like the inverse of the somewhat famous declaration by English jurist William Blackstone who is quoted as saying, "Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer". You won’t hear that line much from many current day moralists who cloak themselves in the failed theologies of the institutional church and use them to justify any and all forms of conflict against “evil”.
It should not be too difficult to imagine how the reasoning process which can justify sacrificing a few for the benefit of the many could become a prescription for horrific public policy, not unlike the rationale behind the Holocaust for example. From its inception the war on terrorism has born the imprimatur of the evangelical, fundamentalist churches here in the U.S. These religious “ethicists” are always the most ardent “sanctioners” and promoters of the use of military power. Religious sanctimoniousness and paranoia are a deadly pair, doubly so when allied with political power, as so amply demonstrated recently. Listen to the arguments used to justify the war- Keep the killing over there. Let someone else do the dying, not me or mine. Preferably the ones dying should be non-Americans, innocent or not. It sounds a lot like people who aren’t us don’t really count. Don’t think the rest of the world doesn’t see this arrogance for what it really is.
Anyone who proposes to accept the personal responsibility for deciding which “innocents” to sacrifice for the common good takes upon himself or herself a monstrous sense of superiority, a self inflation that should be our real source of terror. All human atrocities begin in exactly this kind of moral subversion. God already sacrificed the one innocent for the common good. Anyone, who proposes to sacrifice more innocents for their perception of the common good, obviously thinks they are God and that’s really scary.