Extremists on either side of the War on Terror increasingly argue that torture and the deliberate killing of noncombatants are not merely morally permitted but frequently morally required. Both factions have found unlikely allies in leading scholars whose recent work provides intellectual support for the proposed upheaval of moral thought. This article provides new interpretations of the doctrines of double effect and noncombatant immunity which escape traditional criticisms, withstand contemporary challenges, and provide moral bases for rejecting torture and terrorism with equal force. The article also shows that refusal to torture does not make one complicit in the acts one could have thereby prevented, that deontological constraints retain their conceptual coherence and moral relevance when applied to states, and that threshold deontology does not support institutionalized torture.

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