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Wartime Ethical Decisions Are Justifiable


Ethics is a set of principles that tells us how we should conduct ourselves. Every individual needs a code of ethics to guide them in life. Ethics is not only doing what you must do but it’s also performing the right thing in life. Because this calls for discipline, it always limits us on what we can do. Ethics entails observing the difference between right and wrong. It’s an obligation to do what is precise, good and upright. (Sims, 1987, P.40) When ethics are not adhered to, there is always a price to pay. This should lead one to ask himself if he is willing to pay the price for making an unethical decision. Are you willing to give up pride, honor, character and respect by making an immoral choice? Are you willing to endure the cost of a bad choice? (Gross, 1997, p.304)

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Main Body

Because doing the right thing can cost us more in terms of friendship, money, prestige and pleasure, then practicing ethics takes courage. In life, character is build by choosing to do the right thing even when the odds are against you. Wartime ethical decisions are a set of principles on morals passed on individuals or a country to govern their actions during wartime. (Sorabii, 2006, p.251)The purpose of war ethics is to aid in deciding what is right or wrong for both individuals and countries. It also contributes to debates on public policy and to government and individual actions. (Gross, 1997, p.305)

Wartime ethical decisions may lead to a tragic dilemma as in the case of whatever to decide when fighting terror. This is due to the fact that there is always the possibility that when trying to flush out terrorists, innocent citizens may be killed. It then becomes important to ensure that there is a clear guideline on how to protect the people’s lives. In trying to get to the enemy lines, there are always human beings to think about. That’s when wartime ethical decisions are required. (Joseph, 1997, p.301)

I justify the use of wartime ethical decisions because it enables us look for alternatives so as not to cause damage, or cause the minimum amount of security damage, but the main duty is to defend citizens. With a guide of ethics, a state has an obligation towards its citizens, whereas those citizens are under its effective control. The government usually looks at all the sides and takes the most favorable option. So it’s by this wartime ethics that it knows who should be put first; the soldier’s safety, people’s lives or getting the terrorists. (Russell, 2009, p.250)

When torture of information on the enemy is used, I believe it’s a passive form of torture to an individual since no bodily harm is inflicted. Also the leveling of an entire village to get a known terrorist group is very justifiable. With a group of soldiers who understand the war ethics, they plan their move so well and work carefully not to interfere with the citizen’s life. In any case, if any damages occur during the leveling of the village, they are well compensated for to give back the people’s livelihood. (Russell, 2009, p.251)


Wartime ethical decisions are justifiable because they protect the lives of citizens. Wartime ethical decisions should be encouraged because they help the state to realize on the course of action to take while still maintaining morals. In short, ethical decision-making helps one to think morally and contributes to teaching you to weigh up interests and values and set priorities


Gross, L.M. (1997). Ethics and activism: the theory and practice of political morality, (Ed), Cambridge University Press, 3(1).299-305.

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Joseph, A. (1997). The ethics of war. (Ed), Manchester University Press, 2(1), 311-314

Russell, B. (2009). Justice in War Time, BiblioBazaar, LLC, 1(1), 248-260.

Sims, G.J. (1987).What is ethics? The university of Michigan, 2(2).21-42.

Sorabii, R. (2006). The Ethics of War: Shared Problems in Different Traditions, (Ed), Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 1(1).241-253.

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