Military Ethics and Moral Blame Across Agency Lines
Seagren, Chad W.
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In this article, I examine the extent to which military officers are morally responsible for the actions of others by virtue of shared membership in various groups. I argue that career military officers share membership in morally relevant groups that include their branch of service, Department of Defense and the entire Executive Branch of Government, and I outline the circumstances under which career officers bear moral culpability for the actions of members of this group. A number of implications arise from these findings. The first and most important is that military officers have an interest in ensuring the moral rectitude of government agents specifically as it pertains to their official capacities. Additionally, military officers have a duty not only to be informed about problematic government policies but also to educate themselves on the pertinent legal jurisprudence or ethical considerations. Finally, the Constitutional Paradigm of Military Ethics may be an insufficient guide for the particular sort of moral dilemma dealt with in this article.
The article of record may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15027570.2015.1068499
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