Ethics of Killing

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The Ethics of Killing
22 April 2012

Table of Contents

Executive Summary3
The Ethics of Killing4
Introduction4
The Act of Killing4
Those Who can’t Kill7
Those who Kill out of Greed9
Killing for other reasons10
Conclusion11
References12

The Ethics of Killing
Executive Summary

The following paper discusses the ethics of killing in many different forms. It looks at the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by soldiers on the battlefield over the centuries. Those who would kill others human beings and the ones that couldn’t kill anyone despite what was occurring around them. As well the other side of why people kill one another from personal greed to crimes of passion due to affairs. There is no ethical belief that condones killing yet it occurs all the time.

The Ethics of Killing
Introduction

Ethical dilemmas are faced everyday by human beings, but one of the most powerful ones to deal with is the killing of another human being. Somehow inadvertently though, mankind has not only evolved in the way that they can kill each other but brought into the spectrum continual advancements to make them better killers. How is it, that something that is considered so wrong can be performed daily around the world, do people not have any form of moral ethics or place any value on human life? Does killing for your country or out of duty make it not considered murder by the individual? The answer is ‘perhaps not’. The Act of Killing

Killing is a violent act that mankind has seemingly mastered, the apparent lack of respect for human life does not seem to matter for some individuals. Humans have displayed over the centuries the ability to slaughter one another without regret or remorse. “[I]nterclan and interfactional fighting have flared up with little warning, and kidnapping, murder and other threats to foreigners occur unpredictably in many regions. Since 1991, an estimated 350,000 to 1,000,000 Somalis had died because of the conflict”. (Pike, 2012) Wars and conflicts like the one in Somalia have occurred around the globe in several countries where the death count is just as high or higher. Deaths due to war around the world have numbered in the millions over the last century alone even after the rise of the Roman Empire and Genghis Khan. Hitler was responsible for nearly six million Jews being killed during the holocaust in WW2. How could one man’s vision be carried out by so many soldiers without question, did the German soldiers not feel any remorse in executing the orders of the Fuhrer. The soldier may have followed orders where “the honour of his profession essentially rests; and this is done even if it should issue in the killing of his adversary. But as such a result takes place publicly and under the consent of both parties, although it may be done unwillingly, it cannot properly be called murder”. (Hastie, n.d.) Did this mean killing the Jews was acceptable because the soldiers were only following orders? The German military may have perceived the killing of the Jews as not murder or genocide but the conditions under which their orders were written and must be followed. Perhaps they did so out of duty as written by Kant “the morally important thing is not consequences but the way choosers think when they make choices”. (Garrett, 2006) Could the German Wehrmacht have been so blinded by their sense of duty that they were able to kill without any remorse because it was dictated to them by a higher power? Soldiers in the Canadian Forces (CF) (the combat arms more specifically) are taught to kill other human beings through speed, aggression and violence; but they are referred to by a different name to change the troops perspective hopefully if they are represented as the enemy. The fact that they are called something other than humans or people seems to make the act of killing another human being generally more acceptable and alright. Do people not differentiate between the simple fact that...
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