Bacevich’s article, which I mentioned earlier dovetails with what I continue to be more and more convinced of in ethical evaluation. Motives, intentions, or whathaveyou seem to me to be almost totally irrelevant to substantial ethical discourse and discernment. How you feel about what you do only matters to you, not the people you do stuff to. Locating morality in intentions and motives is, quite frankly, just pathological. Either it is a form of deluded self-assuaging, or maschism of self-despising. Either way it is quite dangerous.
All vestiges of ethical reflection (the fact that we even call it “reflection” shows the problem) that center on the internal motives of the agent are best done away with and the sooner the better. Ethical or non-ethical action is something that takes place between people within social and political structures, not within the recesses of my feelings and intentions. Until we can begin to think ethics in distinctly interpersonal and structural terms we will continue to be bogged in the pathological morass of internal self-obsession.