Situational Ethics in the film "Windtalkers"
The film "Windtalkers", starring Nicholas Cage, is a movie about World War II and Navajo Americans who played a big role in the American victory. Out on the battlefield, important messages and coordinates of where to bomb the enemy were sent out over the radio. The enemy could hear the radio transmissions being sent out by the Americans. The American soldiers would try to talk in a code to keep their messages secret, but the enemy would find a way to break them. So the Americans decide to use Navajo Americans on the battlefield to transmit orders and coordinates over the radio. The enemy could not find a way to figure out the Navajo language, so combat communications could be given without fear of the enemy knowing what they said. Many lives were saved with the help of Navajo Americans.
There are a couple parts in the movie that represent situational ethics. The first part is when the American soldiers are taking a break in a town. All of a sudden, they are attacked by the enemy. There was a soldier that was carrying a flame thrower, and the pack on his back that carried the fuel for the flame thrower was hit with a bullet. He bursts into flames fairly quickly. He is in tremendous pain and is suffering very badly. It is certain that he will die, but it will take a couple minutes. So his fellow soldier and friend beside him pulled out a pistol and shot him in the head, ending his suffering. The reason this situation represents situational ethics is the soldier that kills his friend is doing this out of love. He did not want to see his friend in pain and suffer, so he does what he feels is the right thing. Situational ethics sometimes breaks rules that most people consider basic ethical behavior. Murder is not a basic ethical behavior, but with situational ethics, the soldier did the right thing.
Another part of the film that displays situational ethics is when one of the "windtalkers" is...
Bibliography: Wilkens, Steve. Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics. Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1995
"Windtalkers". Produced by John Woo. 134 min. 2002. Videocassette.
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