Ethical behavior on the battlefield by War College

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Growing up, I was always told the military’s job was to “kill people and break stuff.” It’s a maxim that gained popularity in the United States at the end of the Vietnam War. But total war with few rules, as World War One demonstrated, carries too high a human cost.

This week on War College, philosophy professor Pauline Kaurin explains the role of ethics and morality in warfare, and the gaps in educating military officers and enlistees alike about them.

Instead, she argues, the U.S. military places an emphasis on officers and enlistees developing their own personal morality based on core values.

But, as Kaurin and I discuss, that isn’t sufficient.

By Matthew Gault
Produced and edited by Bethel Habte
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