Truman is not alone in thinking this way. On NPR "All Things Considered," Feb. 9, 2005, a colonel
overseeing the West side of Baghdad said that he would do "whatever it takes" to gain freedom and stability
for the Iraqi people. This sounds like the colonel is a non-utilitarian. But when asked, "What about all the
casualties to American troops?" the colonel replied, "I think it's relative to the benefit."
I think that even a utilitarian might have problems with the Iraq invasion, nevertheless the colonel seems to
employ utilitarian thinking. Now, consider this objection: If it's the right thing to doâ€”invade and occupy
Iraqâ€”it shouldn't matter how many casualties there are!
Moreover, there are actions that are simply unjustifiable according to many who reject Utilitarianism. They
are never right, no matter what great goods might result from their being performed. Anscombe mentions
boiling a baby.
The traditional Jewish-Christian ethic forbids: killing the innocent for any purpose (this is usually taken to
include the unborn fetus), arbitrary punishment, incest, suicide, treachery, idolatry, sodomy, adultery, making
a false profession of faith, blasphemy, etc.
So, for many, some moral rules are ABSOLUTE. But for Kant allmoral rules are absolute. We will also see
that for Kant moral rules are general.
Immanuel Kant, "Good Will, Duty, and the Categorical Imperative," 113-122