Ethics is not just about the little guy and other observations

Author: Robert Lummack

This article will discuss military ethics within the contemporary security environment. The three points discussed are personal observations based upon teaching and collaborative interactions with Canadian and international military personnel as to what I feel are important points to highlight within the discussion of military ethics. They do not arrive in any sequential order, nor are they necessarily linked although links can be made. The first point argues that we cannot consider the Jus ad Bellum and Jus in Bello distinctly, as the legitimacy of reasons to enter conflict directly affect military members within the conflict. Secondly, the emergent property of group behaviour is critically important to our understanding of ethical shortcomings in the Jus in Bello and it should be a priority focus for research and training. Finally, that differential ethical perspective when partnering with host nation security forces or within multinational coalition partners, can be problematic and need to be better understood and accounted for in order to achieve greater aggregate mission cohesion.

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