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Law, Economics, and Morality$
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Eyal Zamir and Barak Medina

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372168

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372168.001.0001

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The Fight Against Terrorism

The Fight Against Terrorism

(p.127) six The Fight Against Terrorism
Law, Economics, and Morality



Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a constrained cost-benefit analysis of measures taken in the fight against terrorism. It begins by characterizing and criticizing existing normative economic analysis of the fight against terrorism as reflecting a simplified ad-hoc balancing. It then presents the central deontological constraints pertaining to the fight on terror. The chapter discusses threshold functions that should be employed in order to determine the permissibility of such measures as targeted killings and torture. It discusses the factors affecting the evaluation of the act's relevant net benefit, and those determining the amount of net benefit required to justify an infringement. It argues that standard economic analysis fails to take into account critical distinctions. These include the distinction between different goals of anti-terrorist measures; the difference between harms the state inflicts through antiterrorist measures, and those resulting from unthwarted terrorist attacks; and the distinction between intended and unintended harm. Deontologically-constrained CBA, which incorporates all of these distinctions, is shown to be methodically workable and normatively superior.

Keywords:   targeted killing, torture, antiterrorism, threshold deontology, intending harm, foreseeing harm, self defence, proportionality, probability threshold, preemption

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