There is no need for this commentary to be lengthy. The whole concept of “terrorist ethics” epitomizes oxymoron, but there is still a lesson to be derived from the small teenaged boy recently recruited by a Palestinian group to blow himself up among the hated Jews.
The lesson is this: extreme utilitarianism is inevitably corrupting. Some Palestinians, out of desperation or hatred or uncontrolled passion, have moved beyond an extreme philosophy that justifies killing civilian adversaries using bomb-carrying suicidal zealots, to a philosophy that rationalizes the manipulation of children into ending their lives for a goal they cannot understand. If there was a terrorist code of ethics, this conduct would have to be forbidden. The rock bottom least humanity can ask of those who want to blow up innocents using suicide bombs is that they have the integrity and the courage to do the deed themselves. Forcing, manipulating or deceiving people, whether they are children or not, into ending their lives for the passions of others adds an extra level of despicability to terrorism. And it should be regarded as significant evidence of depravity, when those who advocated terrorist tactics attempt to define their activities as “freedom fighting.”
Freedom fighters do their own fighting. Those who use children as bombs simply have lost any mooring with civilized values. Their arguments, justifications and rationalizations should be regarded in that light.