James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Arafat in Hospital Near Paris for Treatment of Mystery Illness

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This article, The New York Times: Arafat in Hospital Near Paris for Treatment of Mystery Illness, and some others make me think about two things. First, should a Jew refuse to, or be barred from, treating Arafat if he or she had the opportunity. If Arafat dies, G-d willing, a Jewish doctor would surely receive blame from the Arab conspiracy theorists.

Second, as a moral dilemma, imagine you were treating Arafat. Imagine further that you, and you alone, could secretly make a treatment decision that would either end his life immediately, or allow him to live another 5-10 years. Whatever your decision, people would never know. What do you do? On one hand, he presents no imminent threat to you or anyone else. On the other, his death would pave the way for possible peace negotiations. I lean towards letting him die. It would be difficult, because deaths that would result from his living would be primarily as a result of his neglect, as opposed to his direct action. His actual culpability in future killings would probably be substantially less than his culpability for past killings. As a retributive matter the question is simple, but I typically do not see myself as a retributive tool for G-d’s justice. Even so, I could never tell a terror victim’s family that I had such opportunity and balked. That is why I lean towards letting him die.


Written by JamesEJ

Friday, October 29, 2004 at 4:34 pm

Posted in other

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