Can Assassinations Ever Be Justified?

1286 words (5 pages) Essay in Philosophy

25/05/17 Philosophy Reference this

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Hitler- one of the most known names in the world even after 65 years. Osama bin Laden, man responsible for attacks on World Trade Centre on 11th of September 2001. Robert Mugabe- president of Zimbabwe form 1987, a very selfish man and instead of improving living conditions in his country, he spends huge amounts of money on himself. In the world full of conflicts and tyrants, can the assassination of one or two men make a difference? If yes, would it be justified? If one person can change the lives of others into hell, is assassination of him justified? If you would have a chance to kill a man in order to save millions of humans, would you do it? Is greater good the only one justification of assassinating someone? Would killing someone not make you as evil as a person you’d kill? Even with greater good, is assassination ever justified?

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Assassination is widely held to mean a planned murder of a prominent of public figure. Its origins can be found in the Middle East. The word is derived from Arabic ‘Hashshashin’. It was pejorative name given Nazri Islamis particularly those of Syria and Persia by their adversaries during Middle Ages. The Nazris have smoked hashish before carrying out political killings and that’s where the name comes from. Throughout history there’s lots of assassinations and attempts, like the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand or the assassination of Julius Caesar. The assassination of Julius Caesar is the first known assassination ever committed. He was killed by his own men on the Ides of March, at a session of the senate. He was stabbed 23 times. Marcus Junius Brutus was one of the conspirators and also a friend of Caesar. In the present day, there have been examples of assassinations and failed attempts on people such as John F. Kennedy, John Paul II, John Lennon or Olof Palme. However, a more detailed discussion of assassination is required to address the question of assassination- whether one act of evil can, in fact, be justified.

Politics is usually one of the most common reasons why an individual is assassinated. There are always people who don’t agree with thoughts of others. People might have their own view on different things but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they must kill. Some assassinations such as assassination of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King are clearly unjustifiable. Martin Luther King was American activist and prominent leader in African American civil rights movement. He was assassinated by James Earl Ray- a white man. People believe it was a conspiracy because many white leaders didn’t want any black men to have civil rights. John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. However he denied shooting anyone. There are lots of theories of motives for killing the president. One theory says it was the president’s plans for Vietnam that prompted his murder. The president said that Vietnam was too far away from the United States, that South Vietnam’s claim to democracy was false, and that the U.S. had no business sending American troops to fight in what was really a local war. Another assassinated political figure was Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The assassination of this man basically triggered World War I. He and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, by Gavrilo Princip, 19 at the time. It was organized by organization called Black Hand. There was also pope, John Paul II. There was assassination attempt by Mehmed Ali Agca. According to Agca operation was commanded by the Bulgarian military Attaché. Another example of political assassination is Olof Palme a Swedish politician. The murder is still unsolved and it might never be. He was a controversial politician- it could have lead to his assassination.

What about the greater good? Could one act of evil be accepted if it rids the world of suffering? Would assassination on tyrant, such as Hitler be justified if it saved millions of people, which have been killed during World War II? In my opinion it would be justified and worth it even if it was only one man that could be saved. I think that someone who doesn’t respect life of other people and kills millions only because of his racist and nationalist thoughts shouldn’t be so lucky to live. Utilitarianism says that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its usefulness. Even if you kill someone thinking about ‘greater good’, you still are a killer. Doesn’t it mean that you are as bad as he is? I don’t think so, if you kill one man in order to save a life, either yours or someone else’s it doesn’t make you evil. It doesn’t really matter who could care of getting rid of Hitler as long as the job was done successfully.

There are individuals who assassinate for reasons other than politics or religion. They may simply be deranged fame hungry individuals, such as Mark David Chapman or John Hinckley Jr. Mark David Chapman was a psychopath who killed John Lennon. He was a fan of The Beatles for years especially John Lennon’s. John Hinckley Jr. was a man who attempted and assassination on Ronald Reagan and according to him, he has done it to impress Jodie Foster. He was obsessed with her. It has developed since he first time watched film called “Taxi Driver”. I think that if those two would be never psychopaths they would never done those things. In my opinion it’s not really their fault. People become crazy and they never realize that they are actually obsessed. It is not maybe a justification to what they’ve done but helps understand what the motives could be.

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What about the world today? How could suffering be alleviated now? Is assassination the answer? Would it be better if Robert Mugabe was assassinated? Would it make a difference now- when he has been president of Zimbabwe since 1987? He has not long to live because of his age but I think it would be worth to save people today and not tomorrow. Lots of those people can no longer live to see tomorrow. Mugabe is a selfish man who was ruining country for years and it should be changed. The global superpowers should become more interested and should deal with him as fast as possible. What about Osama bin Laden another terrorist? Is he also the case? He was responsible for attacks on World Trade Centre on 11th of September 2001. However there have been rumors that it was actually done by U.S. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts are unknown. Although he might fight for something he considers to as a right thing, he is a terrorist and he must pay for what he’s done. In my opinion those people could be assassinated because there could not be any other ways for improving the situation. If the death of two men will save thousands of lives worldwide, I think it is enough of a justification.

In conclusion, I think that greater good is maybe not the only one, but just now, I cannot see any other as much important justifications for assassinations. In every country on earth there are people that are selfish and are making hell of other people’s lives, but not everyone of those are cases for assassination. Even though there is a lot of evil, assassination is not always the solution, even if suffering of many will be alleviated for a while because of death of a tyrant, you never know who will come after him.

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