Why did American soldiers torture prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison or rape a young girl and murder members of her family in Iraq? American military personnel will recognize the concepts of command responsibility, proportional force, necessity, and humanity; they are already familiar with considering military codes of conduct.
confusion generated by emergency phone lines, Preventing such transgressions is the reason radio call-ins, and media interviews. for training in military ethics. Baarda and Verweij Lastly, Anderegg reminds readers of the great have edited a Dutch training manual on military leadership at Clark and Subic Bay during the ethics, writing or cowriting nine of its 16 chap- eruption and coinciding hurricane, both of ters. Developed from a practical training guide, which sealed the fate of all military personnel in the manual is time-tested and credible. Specifi- the Philippines. Despite the confusion and mul- cally written for the Dutch military, the book tiple natural disasters, not one US citizen died— offers examples and principles that apply everyone evacuated safely. equally well to other military forces. American Would the American military still be in the military personnel will recognize the concepts of Philippines had the volcano remained dormant? command responsibility, proportional force, ne- Probably, but it would have had to assume an cessity, and humanity; they are already familiar astronomical financial burden stemming from with considering military codes of conduct. base reconstruction, not to mention the necessity Although American readers will learn much from Military Ethics, military members from any of dealing with ever-increasing demands from nation will find it especially useful for creating the Philippine government. Anderegg briefly or teaching an ethics training program. The real- mentions the importance of the political aspects world examples come from a wide range of mili- but, rightly, does not dwell on the subject. tary and humanitarian operations conducted by Should Mount Fuji (currently classified as an many different militaries. active but low-risk volcano) ever erupt, com- The examples and chapters are specifically manders at Yokota Air Base would face the same written for the different Dutch military services sort of situation that confronted their counter- and for members of many professions who have parts at Clark—coping with a foreign government independent ethical standards, such as doctors, and large noncombatant evacuations. Thus, The social workers, and other medical specialties. Ash Warriors also serves as a valuable case study for Other chapters consider the problems of com- support commanders or emergency-management mand, ethical leadership, reasons for abandon- personnel. Furthermore, engineers should take ing or ignoring ethical principles, and ways of note of the author’s characterization of water helping troops maintain their ethical standards. distribution and sanitization (including personal The many chapters allow specific discussions hygiene) as probably the single most important of professional ethical conflicts. When doctors’ factor in preventing death and sustaining sanity medical ethics conflict with their military ethics, in the days immediately after Pinatubo’s eruption. how do they resolve difficult problems? Can con- fidential counselors or social workers effectively Maj Darrell Smith, USAF help people if they must also turn in soldiers Shaw AFB, South Carolina who have committed a crime?
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