On Killing by LtCol Dave Grossman, 2009, Excerpts
Moral distance involves legitimizing oneself and one’s cause. It can generally be divided into two components. The first component usually is the determination and condemnation of the enemy’s guilt, which, or course, must be punished or avenged. The other is an affirmation of the legality and legitimacy of one’s own cause. This process of asserting the legitimacy of your cause is one of the primary mechanics enabling violence in civil wars, since the similarities of the combatants make it difficult to develop cultural distance.
Enemies are to be deemed as criminals in advance, guilty of starting the war; the business of locating the aggressor is to begin before or shortly after the outbreak of the war, the enemy’s methods of conducting the war are to be branded as criminal.
There is danger associated with moral distance. That danger is, of course, that every nation seems to think that God is on its side.