Conduct of war
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Conduct of War. Topic 12 / Lesson 13. Conduct of War. Reading Assignment: Ethics for the Military Leader pages 411-472 / 2nd edition Fundamentals of Naval Leadership pages 25-1 to 25-27 and 27-1 to 27-3 Ethics and Moral Reasoning for Military Leaders Lesson 21, pages 21-9 through 21-32

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Conduct of War

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Conduct of war

Conduct of War

Topic 12 / Lesson 13


Conduct of war1

Conduct of War

Reading Assignment:

Ethics for the Military Leader

pages 411-472 / 2nd edition

Fundamentals of Naval Leadership

pages 25-1 to 25-27 and 27-1 to 27-3

Ethics and Moral Reasoning for Military Leaders

Lesson 21, pages 21-9 through 21-32

Case Study: 21-57


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Conduct of War

  • What actions are permissible in war?

    Case Study:

    Society and the Bomb


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Conduct of War

  • How do we assign moral responsibility for wrong doing in war?

    Case Study:

    “My Lai”


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Conduct of War

  • Traditional War Doctrine: provides two permissible actions

    1. The deaths of non-combatants must not be directly aimed at, and their deaths may not be a necessary means to one’s end (non-combatant immunity)

    2. The means used in waging war should not be such as to cause unnecessary harm (proportionality).


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Conduct of War

  • Explain the two theories of:

    jus ad bellum

    or

    jus in bello


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Conduct of War

  • How might the two clauses of jus in bello be justified?

    - the non-combatant immunity clause seems to be grounded in the absolutist principle that it is always wrong to take innocent life

    - the proportionality clause looks like straightforward utilitarian maximize the good and minimize the bad.


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Conduct of War

  • Applying the jus in bello clauses requires being able to:

    - distinguish combatants and non-combatants (i.e., the innocent and the non-innocent)

    - make reasonable assessments of the overall costs and benefits of particular actions


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Conduct of War

  • Describe the kinds of persons that fall into each of the two categories and justify why aggression against these persons is either justified or unjustified .

    - enemy warriors

    - enemy leaders not in uniform

    - civilians who support the war effort

    - military personnel delivering food, medicine, ammunition

    - children, the elderly


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Conduct of War

  • How does Nagel approach the issue that sometimes we are faced with choices between two wrong actions - i.e, choice situations in which nothing we can do is permissible.

    Any personal examples?

Peace on earth

Kill or be killed


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Conduct of War

Two types of excuses

for wrong doing?

Law of War???

I forgot!


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Conduct of War

Ignorance: a person is not blameworthy for a wrong action they perform if, at the time of acting, they could not have known that what they were doing was wrong or could not have taken reasonable measures to discern that it was wrong.


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Conduct of War

Duress: a person is not blameworthy for a wrong action they perform if, at the time of acting, they were under such duress that no reasonable person could have resisted (e.g., someone was holding a loaded gun to their head.)


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Conduct of War

  • The excuse of ignorance is available for violations of both the non-combatant immunity clause and the proportionality clause:


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Conduct of War

- a warrior cannot always know when a person is innocent, and we do not expect warriors to engage in extensive deliberation about who is and who is not a combatant


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Conduct of War

- Similarly, a warrior cannot know how his or her particular sortie figures in the bigger scheme of a campaign or war

- hence, there will be occasions on which warrior cannot be held morally responsible for the deaths and damage they cause.


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Conduct of War

  • The excuse for duress is also

    available for the non-combatant

    immunity clause and the proportionality

    clause.

    - to what extent is acting under orders a matter of being coerced?

    - what calculations is it reasonable to expect people to perform under the pressures of warfare?


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Conduct of War

  • If some “front-line” military personnel can be excused for wrongdoing because of ignorance and or duress, then who is morally responsible?


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Conduct of War

  • Are there limits on what the military can and should do to its country’s enemies and opponents during war?

  • Who imposes them?

  • Are such limitations reasonable, or are they merely concessions to public appearance designed to put more palatable face on an unpleasant an brutal activity.


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Conduct of War

  • What Utilitarian and what Kantian considerations bear on justifying going to war and conducting war?


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Conduct of War

  • Walzer claims that officers have a more stringent responsibility to uphold the rules of war than do enlisted personnel. Higher ranking officers have even greater responsibility?

  • In what way does Walzer argue for these claims?

  • How do these considerations affect the moral evaluation of the soldiers at My Lai?


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Conduct of War

  • Recalling Kant’s dictum to show respect for persons, is it wrong for military commanders to encourage their subordinates to view the enemy as “Other” - as less than full persons?

  • What are the practical benefits of doing so?

  • Will it be more or less easy for warriors to act in accordance with the non-combatant immunity clause if they are so trained?


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Conduct of War

  • Given the requirement to obey (legal) orders, does the average soldier have less freedom than the average civilian?

  • If you answer yes, think about how this diminished freedom bears on the soldier’s responsibility for killing.


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Conduct of War

Questions?


The moral leader

The Moral Leader

Reading Assignment:

Ethics for the Military Leader

pages 473-501 / 2nd edition

Fundamentals of Naval Leadership

pages 21-17 to 21-22 and 24-1 to 24-4


The moral leader1

The Moral Leader

Reading Assignment (continued):

Ethics and Moral Reasoning for Military Leaders

Lesson 28, pages 28-10 through 28-30

Case Study:TBD

Naval Leadership Voice of Experience

pages 482-486


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