What about noncombatants? Though they are not necessarily innocent in all the senses in which babies are, they clearly are innocent in the sense I have elaborated above—namely, they have not performed actions which forfeit their right to be free from execution (or, better: it is not reasonable for the enemy to believe this of them). Thus, in a very tentative conclusion, I suggest the following: I have not been able to prove that we should never kill noncombatants or innocents (I do not think this could be proven in any ordinary sense of proof); but I do think that I have elaborated a way of thinking which gives sense to the acceptance of such an absolute prohibition. Thus, against Bennett, I have at least shown that one can accept the principle, "Never kill the innocent" without thereby necessarily being an authoritarian or a dogmatic moral fanatic.
Many people were kind enough to comment on this manuscript in various stages of its preparation, and I should like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for the help that they provided. In particular, I should like to thank the following: Lewis White Beck, Robert L. Holmes, Gareth Matthews, Ronald Milo, Richard Wasserstrom, Donald Wells, Peter Winch, and Anthony D. Woozley. I should also like to thank the members of my graduate seminar on war at the University of Arizona for stimulating discussion. Since I have perversely gone my own way on several points in spite of advice to the contrary, I alone am to be held responsible for any errors that remain. In setting a philosophical framework for a discussion of the problem of killing the innocent in war, I have been greatly influenced by Richard Wasserstrom's "On the Morality of War:"A Preliminary Inquiry in his useful collection ofessays War and Morality( Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1970 and in this volume, Chapter 22). I am presupposing that the reader is familiar with Miss G. E.M. Anscombe's two articles "Modern Moral Philosophy", Philosophy 33, no. 124 ( January, 1958) and "War and Murder" (in the Wasserstrom collection and in this volume, Chapter 20). I am also presupposing a familiarity with Jonathan Bennett's "Whatever the Consequences", Analysis 26, no. 3 ( January, 1966).