Unethical Orders in the Military

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Virtue ethics Pages: 8 (2731 words) Published: February 11, 2013
Ethical theories have been applied globally, and in different perspectives as mirrors for analyzing potential knowledge and ethical decision making. Classical theories of ethics provide the basis for defending, systematizing and recommending ideas, concepts and notions of moral behavior. Classical ethics falls under the normative class of ethics. Ethics can be divided into Meta, applied or normative ethics. Normative ethics concerns the practical meaning and determination of moral courses of action. Normative ethics concerns the moral appropriateness of a course of action (Arrigo, 2006). It presents classical theory as an overarching ethical principle that could be applied in solving moral ethical issues. In this case, classical ethics will be used in analyzing unethical orders in the military. This means that different perspectives of moral issues will be discussed through the introduction of relativism, emotive and ethical egoism. Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism favors a course of action that facilitates happiness. It can be considered as a form of consequential processes. According to this principle of classical ethical theory, utilitarianism refers to the moral value of an action though the determination of the resultant outcomes of the action. However, considerations should be placed on actual consequences, intended consequences and foreseen consequence. A classical study of this principle can be seen in the orders the military gives out or obeys (Arrigo, 2006). Utilitarianism principles have characteristics of reductionist and quantitative approaches to ethical issues, and it can be seen as a form of naturalism. Utilitarianism can be distinguished from deontological principles because deontology does not regard consequences as a determinant to moral value. Utilitarianism can also be distinguished from virtue ethics because virtue ethics emphasis on habits and acts that lead to happiness. A leading unethical order in the military, in my opinion, is the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima using atomic bombs. The American military gave out an order for dropping two atomic bombs over the densely populated cities in Japan. This bombing led to the death of thousands of Japanese civilians and the deformations in future generations. In fact, the nation has to cope with some of the effects of the bombing in present day. For instance, the nation’s agricultural potentials were destroyed by the bombing. Utilitarianism emphasis on actions that lead to happiness; hence, some will argue that the dropping of the bombs in Japan led to the end of the war (Hu, 2009). Thus, this means that the application of absolute utilitarianism would favor the use of the atomic bombs on the Japanese. Deontological Ethics

Deontological ethics emphasizes on arguments or positions that evaluate the ethics of an action on the basis of the adherence of actions to rules. This can be seen as an obligation to the obedience of rules that bind an individual to duty. Deontological issues exist in the military on a daily basis. The military issues and follows orders that usually break the rule of duty and obligation. The principles of permissible harm under deontological ethics derive constraints that may cohere with considered case judgments, while they rely on categorical imperatives. According to these principles, harm aimed at saving many is acceptable because it facilitates the safety of the greater population (Miller, 2010). This principle can be used to address people’s notions that judge based on intuitions. This principle expresses constrains that indicate to people time to act with an aim of acceptable outcomes. After the 2001 terrorist attacks on American soils, the military formulated tough measures that would be used, on suspected terrorists, to obtain information. These interventions can be viewed as torture, in the absence of clear ethical principles for evaluating the military’s actions. The military will argue that the use of...
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