Presentation on theme: "A Shot Not Taken: Ethics and Political Violence Victor Asal & Marcus Schulzke Univeristy at Albany Note some of these slides are."— Presentation transcript:
A Shot Not Taken: Ethics and Political Violence Victor Asal & Marcus Schulzke Univeristy at Albany Note some of these slides are modified from slides created by James Barry
"The end excuses any evil." --Sophocles, "Electra" (409 B.C.)B.C. "No man is justified doing evil on the grounds of expediency." --Theodore Roosevelt, "The Strenuous Life" (1900)Theodore Roosevelt “Ethics is obedience to the unenforceable.” Lord Moulton
adapted from James Barry Ethics Presentation Vocabulary: What is ethics? The rules and standards of a culture or group The branch of philosophy that deals with issues of right and wrong An individual’s standards of behavior. From Greek, ethos: character or nature
A shot not taken… 'It's a judgment call,'' Corporal McIntosh said. ''If the risks outweigh the losses, then you don't take the shot.'' But in the heat of a firefight, both men conceded, when the calculus often warps, a shot not taken in one set of circumstances may suddenly present itself as a life-or-death necessity. … To illustrate, … ''There was one Iraqi soldier, and 25 women and children,'' he said, ''I didn't take the shot.'' But more than once… he faced a different choice: one Iraqi soldier standing among two or three civilians. He recalled one such incident, in which he and other men in his unit opened fire. He recalled watching one of the women standing near the Iraqi soldier go down. ''I'm sorry,'' the sergeant said. ''But the chick was in the way (Filkins 2003).''
…a different choice: one Iraqi soldier standing among two or three civilians. Are these soldiers ethical? Does it matter?
adapted from James Barry Ethics Presentation An Ethical Dilemma A real life situation Human needs at stake A clash of values Must make choice Can’t do everything
adapted from James Barry Ethics Presentation Ethics involving life and death decisions Compressed time frame: requires “acumen” High stakes create temptation to compromise values “Us versus Them” attitude Closed decision making circles inhibit free flow of advice
Techniques for Ethical Deliberation: Character-based Duty-based Ends-based John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism Immanuel Kant Deontological Aristotle Virtue Ethics
Command C – Night Ops - Falluja Operational orders for hamlet of Uja’h hamlet of civilians, terrorists. 25 houses Terrorists assumed to be in three houses but unknown which three Need to capture or kill terrorists They are coded HIGH threat Can call in air strike Warning decision, degree of force and attack order at commanders discretion at disposal two infantry companies, six tanks Limiting casualties to our troops high priority
As the commander.. What should you do? If civilians are killed did you act ethically? When does collateral damage cross the line?
You are the commander on the scene And a bomb has just gone off killing 12 injuring six. When rescue personnel arrive a suicide bomber attacks killing 30 more. One other suicide bomber has been captured. There are now several hundred people milling around and headquarters has told you to secure the area and make sure there are no more follow up attacks. What means do you use to question the captured bomber?
What is permissible in extracting information?
Argentina 1970s They were unconscious. we stripped them, and when the flight commander gave the order, we opened the door and threw them out, naked, one by one. That is the story, and nobody can deny it (http://www.yendor.com/vanished/junta/scilingo.html)." On April 24, an army sergeant, Victor Ibañez, revealed in an interview published in La Prensa that death flights like those described by Scilingo had departed regularly from El Campito, the clandestine detention center in the Campo de Mayo army headquarters near Buenos Aires. The victims were anaesthetized before being boarded on the planes, which left under cover of darkness. "I witnessed the interrogation of people who gave no information at all. I saw a man die on the parrilla (literally, grill, an iron frame to which victims of electric shock torture were tied) whom they were unable to get anything from. And there is no way of bearing the physical pain. If they said nothing it's because they knew nothing, This made me sick, as well as a whole lot of other people who now repent what they did (http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/argentina/argen htm)."
You are a waiter in a hotel in Argentina in 1976 … The Commander of the Air force is coming to stay in the hotel. You would like to help bring down the government. You have access to explosives. The commander is staying in the top floor. You do not know which room because the entire floor has been booked. You…
What is permissible in resisting oppression? Who is right? Wolin Hornstein, Honderich Note By RICHARD WOLIN or chronicle.com/article/Are-Suicide- Bombings-Morally/27421http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/Wolinhispiece.html chronicle.com/article/Are-Suicide- Bombings-Morally/27421 Hornstein, Alison The Question That We Should Be Asking. Ted Honderich TERRORISM FOR HUMANITY