ISIS - Killing Fire with Fire?

by John_Doe on February 16, 2015 - 11:20am

For more than a year now, the ISIS military group has shocked the world with inhumane public assassination and torture. Their terrorist acts are getting more and more attention and are much frequent nowadays. No countries had overtly declared that they were going at war against that group. Two weeks ago, a video release by ISIS members was released, and changed everything. A Jordanian pilot, captured in Syria when his plane crashed was burned alive in a cage.  Jordan’s King Abdullah declared the war against the ISIS group, and said he would seek revenge for the assassination of one of their people.  As we learn from the article, “Jordan to get more US weapons to fight ISIS”, the King asked for Washington’s help in his fight against terrorism and they agreed to give him money and weapons. One question comes to mind when we read this articles all the way: Is it legitimate for Jordan to go at war and for the United States to give this kind of help to Jordan?


Some people would go with the principle that killing is acceptable when comes to self-defence. Since Jordan is defending himself from ISIS attacks and that the United States is helping them to do so, then killing would be ethically acceptable.  Indeed, as the article clearly states, “Jordan is running out of bombs and needs more ordnance to keep the air strike pressure on the ISIS.”(“Jordan get more weapon” 1). On the other hand, others could argue that slaughtering anybody is never a solution, nor ethically correct to do so. People defending this position would probably agree that all the parties involved, which are the ISIS, the United States and Jordan, are all morally inacceptable in their actions. I personally believe that killing is acceptable when it comes to self-defense. If someone threatens your life and the only option you have to defend yourself is to kill that person, then I consider the act as moral. In my opinion, the other person would be committing an immoral act and would get what was coming to him/her. If I take this principle and bring it to a bigger level, I can then declare that I am in favor of Jordan going at war against ISIS. The terrorist group as grown really rapidly and is very present in the country right next to Jordan, Syria. The proximity to the group makes it even more propitious for upcoming attacks. The King’s mission as a leader is to protect his people. Since his people are becoming easy prey of the extremist group, he is obliged to react and that is what he did.


In a recent philosophy academic journal called, “Assassination and Targeted Killing: Law Enforcement, Execution or Self-Defence?” the author explains that, “Paradoxically, targeting terrorists, that is, those who egregiously violate humanitarian law and want only murder civilians, complicates the conceptual framework that justifies killing during war and distinguishes it from murder.” (Gross 323) Meaning that people are still unclear on how to process or qualify these killings. Accordingly, I understand why people would disagree with me, and the only reasons I am in favor of Jordan’s counter-attack is because ISIS members have no respect for the life of others and have to be stopped. Unfortunately, there are not seeking for an agreement but for the deaths of people who do not follow their principles, which makes it nearly impossible to end this tragedy without going at war with them.



Works Cited:


Gross, Michael L. "Assassination And Targeted Killing: Law Enforcement, Execution Or Self-Defence?" Journal of Applied Philosophy 23.3 (2006): 323-35. Print.


"Jordan to Get More US Weapons to Fight ISIS - Report." - RT News. 3 Feb. 2015. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. <>.


I think that you chose an interesting subject; I never really asked myself if we had the right to kill these people because of their crimes. It is indeed an important issue to discuss and this is surely why a lot of governments hesitate to enter in war against ISIS. Of course, they have other reasons, but the need to justify themselves with every move stops them. Jordan's King could justify himself, as you explained. Now however, Canada also declared war against ISIS and is bombarding its bases. I think that we should ask ourselves not only if we have the right to kill those militants, but also how it will affect civilians. In the article I will join, Canada's participation in the war against ISIS is condemned by other parties, because of its negative effects on everybody. Thus, to kill or not is an important question, but the waves it will create should be considered as well.

I think you have chosen a very interesting topic. I agree with you on this issue. As you said “ISIS members have no respect for the life of others and have to be stopped.” They actually killed innocent people and uploaded the videos on Internet which I found cruel and no respect for the victims at all. These members cause chaos in several countries like shooting, abduction, etc. They start the killing first and they have no intention to stop. Their activities become more and more frequent. Therefore, the only way to protect ourselves is to fight back. I think, in this case, self-defense is moral. I am aware of killing is not the best solution. Same as you, the only reason I support Jordan’s counter-attack is because ISIS causes too much damages not only to government, but also to innocent citizens. From utilitarianism’s point of view, we want to create the greatest happiness for greatest number of people. ISIS presents the minority compare to all the people in the countries who got attacked. If ISIS is stopped, then more people will be safe and happy. This means that we are doing the right thing. However, I still hope a better solution can be found instead of this kind of revenge.