I learned about Cicero Magazine from a fellow student veteran at Duke a good while ago. Unfortunately, I did not check it out until I saw that my former employer (and ex-Marine sniper) Matt Victoriano of Intrepid Life had written a very thoughtful essay for them and posted about it on Facebook.
A week or so prior, I had reflected very briefly on Michael Moore’s infamous tweet about cowardism and military snipers, the gist of it being that (I suspect unbeknownst to the documentarian), he was actually keying into an important aspect of Just War traditions, being as they are based on Ciceronian and Aristotelian virtue. Just Wars, among other things, are exercises determined by both personal and collective integrity. A just war is not just a legal concept, but an ethical one as well.
The question Moore’s tweet really gets at is whether or not sniping is honorable. Matt insisted, as a former sniper himself speaking from first hand experience, that it was (and is). But I think the question is still open, as the mechanical distance separating the sniper from the target puts the target at a profound disadvantage. The question then becomes whether the sniper’s unfair advantage violates the honorability of his (or her) actions. Rather than a strategic consideration this is, especially, for Just War, a question about combatants equally availing themselves to injury or death at one another’s hands.