Lance Cpl. Harold Dawson and Pfc. Lowden Downey are taken to court for a murder that they were forced to perform in the film “A Few Good Men.” They were ordered by their superior Colonel to perform a “code red,” an action that was outlawed by the military many years ago where members of the same squad punish each other for not performing well enough, on a weak soldier named William Santiago. However, they were not to blame for the murder because disregarding an order from an officer is a crime in the military, and if they had not done the code red than they could have been discharged from the military, so Dawson and Downey really did not have any options.
1. The act of punishing and killing private Santiago is objectively wrong because it contradicts natural law
2. The intent, however, was good because all Jessep intended to do objectively Santiago to put out more effort
3. For Harold Dawson and Lowden Downey the circumstances are mitigating because they had no other options. If they ignored the order than they could have been kicked out of the military, but if they did go through with it, which they did, than they could have been court-martialed, which is what happened.
4. Dawson and Downey are use proportionality by choosing between the lesser of two evils. They were taught to always obey orders no matter what, and if they did not than “people die.” So what they figured was that if they ignored Jessep’s order than something worse could happen, and if they did the code red than all that would happen would be that Santiago would be a little more motivated in the future.
Overall, Dawson and Downey were only obeying orders so, even though they were objectively wrong for the killing of Santiago, there were mitigating circumstances. Also, the sentence they received, innocent of murder, but dishonorably discharged from the military is the correct one because they did still kill a weaker marine even if they were only following an order.
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