Philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that it is always wrong to treat a person or a people purely as a means to an end. According to Kant, to say nothing of common moral sense, human beings are subjects and as such should never to be treated as mere instruments or objects. And yet it seems that the U.S. is rather transparently using the people of Iraq as a means to the end of keeping the battle with the Osamas of the world off of our shores.
In his graduation address at the Naval Academy in May, President Bush came right out with his better-in-Baghdad-than-in-the-Beltway strategy. “We are,” he insisted, “ taking the fight to the enemy abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.”
The metaphor that Bush strategists often resort to is this: it is better “to keep the ball in their court” than to have suicide bombers careening down Main Street.
Gordon Marino teaches philosophy and is curator of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. He is the author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age, editor of The Quotable Kierkegaard, and coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard.