T Nation

Immoral Weapons


Are nuclear weapons immoral to use? Are biological weapons immoral to use?

Is there a premise we can use to decide which weapons should be considered immoral to use?

If there is I believe it is this: weapons are immoral to use that cannot be used to target an individual because they have a kill radius greater than that individual.

Moreover, they are still immoral to use even when used by government.

edited for clarity


I would say use of any weapon besides selfdefence is immoral.

ps. biological and nuclear arms are immoral in any scenario.


A weapon is an inanimate object that can have no moral value.

A use of any inanimate object could both be moral or immoral. And ever single situation is always unique.

You can't draw a moral line around an object.


I am drawing morality around their use. Not their existence.


I would tend to agree with you. It is the action itself that can't be committed by the object, however, considering the massive indiscriminate devastation caused by a nuclear or biological weapon I can't really make a case for their use.


You have to be more specific if you are going to discuss action. For example, as a deterrent to war, I don't think their use is immoral.


Do you mean using them on another country to avoid a drawn out war or just possessing them and thus preventing war?


I don't think weapons are immoral. I think they can be used in an immoral way but the weapons themselves are designed to fit a situational purpose.

Artillery can kill massed troops or individual snipers, depending on the situation.

I've always followed the concept of sanctuary. If an enemy is surrendering w/o a fight he should be showed mercy and given sanctuary as a prisoner. If he is wounded in battle and surrenders, same thing. If he puts up a hellacious fight and kills a lot of your men and then decides he has no place to go, it's unlikely he would be taken alive.

I've only experienced this once. Unarmed enemy troops retreating past our armored vehicles. It would have been immoral to kill them and we paid them no mind. Thier commrades in vehicles who were firing at us were shown no mercy. Many were killed with 25mm cannon fire. An effective but not immoral weapon against lightly armored troops. A-10's also hit them with 30mm HV rounds. Not immoral imo, simply available at the time.

The use of nukes raise the stakes considerably. They should only be considered under the most grevious circumstances.


It all depends. One might blow up a bit of their country that is uninhabited as a show of force. Like I said, with actions, you have to be specific.


Ah, the Bush Doctrine is alive and well:

It's okay to preemptively murder people that you are afraid are going to murder you first.


Talking to me? cause I never mentioned killing anyone.


Doesn't matter. That is the consequence of using the weapons I am talking about. Killing is what those weapons are intended to do.


Wrong things are used/built/designed for many things, they only become weapons when used as one.

If I stab you with a pencil, the pencil becomes a weapon.

I've already given many possible uses for even things like nukes.


I do agree with this. Intended or not, any technology it seems can be turned into a weapon. The classic example of this is the Haber process.


Sure it is, if you are a moral relativist, which you are.


Yeah, except for murder, coercion, and theft what do I care what you think is right or wrong? I mind my own business and you mind yours.


No, those are ok too. Just because you happen to think murder is wrong doesn't mean I have to, assuming relativism. Our morals would be equal, one isn't "right" and the other "wrong".

If you are a moral relativist, the question you posed is moot. You may not like use of large-scale weapons (based on their inherent collateral damages, etc.), but you have no reason to complain if someone disagrees. Morality is absent, according to you.


So you think murder is ok. Have fun with that hobby -- nothing could go wrong.


I don't think murder is ok - I am not a moral relativist.


Thanks to a collective society upholding absolute morals based on an ordainment by god. Which unless I'm mistaking, you think shouldn't happen.