The state itself is built from and by moral people with moral intentions. People in that state and other states commit immoral acts, which if allowed to continue or go unpunished will degrade the stability of the state and the persons that make up the state. There must be an amoral function within the state that can commit immoral acts in order to counteract the immorality of people within the state or other states.
So, this argument supposes that immoral responses to immorality are what... pragmatic? utilitarian? By what measure do we decide when an immoral response to immorality is to be pursued?
So far, I am not sure how we justify state immorality in response to immorality and not also justify state immorality in response to morality if said morality threatens state stability. If our justification for state immorality hinges upon the state's stability, wouldn't we have to justify any kind of immorality committed for the sake of state security?
This is essentially what the Bush administration proposed. Torture (immoral) is justified for the sake of national security (supposedly moral good).
One could even call that function imoral, but we don't because we have suspended morality for this state function, why I think its just part of the group nature. One might even call it the "Batman Function" or Sanctioned Vigilante (I know its an oxymoron). This function does not eliminate morality it is the executor of morality. Like the policeforce or any other executor it needs to fulfil the law without bias, or in other words amorally.
Reconcile these things for me:
The Batman Function is the executor of morality
The executor needs to fulfill the law amorally
How can the Batman function be an amoral executor of morality? It is one thing to make moral judgments without personal bias, but to make moral judgments without consideration for morality seems, if not impossible, insane. If the judgment is a moral one, to leave morality out of the consideration seems to defeat the whole purpose of the moral judgment.
Rival states can be condemned as immoral because they are not our state.
And what prevents, or what should prevent, us from condemning as immoral the actions of our own state?
Can we condemn genocide committed by our own state?
As far as war criminals they are only war criminals after their state is defunct, rather they can only be conviced as war criminals after their state is defunct, and they are condemned by an amoral executor of morals, an entity that commits the immoral to preseerve and perpetuate the moral.
Let's forget for a moment the label 'war criminal'.
The state can certainly influence an individual, but I am not convinced that a state's influence eliminates an individual's moral agency. Regardless of a state's order, an individual still has the decision of whether or not to pull the trigger, even if disobeying the state might result in the individual being harmed.
You argue that the state does compel people to act immorally, but you also admit that people still have the choice to act morally despite the state's influence. So, by what moral argument do you arrive at the moral conclusion that people should discard their moral responsibility and act immorally? This does seem to be a moral conclusion (as it tells us how we should act, according to the state's dictates, and when, whenever state stability is threatened). If this is a moral conclusion, then we need a moral premise in addition to the explanation of what is.
But there lies a deeper problem: a moral act is a good act, an immoral act is a bad act. If some action is necessary for the stability of the state, and if we recognize the stability of the state to be good, then why do we call the necessary action for state stabilization immoral? Wouldn't such an action be moral by some utilitarian calculus?
With the topic getting muddled, I get a creeping feeling that I am just lost. Let's start with something simple:
How is it that an individual's decision to act or not to act, and how to act, is not a moral decision?
When the state says 'Act in X way' the individual has the choice to obey or disobey. This choice seems to be the question "how should I act?" and therefore a question of normative ethics.