Thursday, June 7, 2007

asymmetric – adjective

1. Immoral; unjust; unfair; illegal.

2. Cowardly.

USAGE: The detainee's suicide was an act of asymmetric warfare, the Gitmo commander said. (Source)

COMMENT: The word is typically applied to unjust acts, tactics and strategies in war. Examples include international treaties, judicial processes, and terrorism (see highlighted portion of U.S. National Security Strategy).

On the established principle that "might makes right," the weaker actor in war, faced by overwhelming force, cannot but act immorally – that is, unless that actor is principled and accepts his slaughter (or torture). Critics claim morality couldn't possibly sanction such an advantage to one side. Such critics fall into confusion by assuming morality is symmetrical.

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