Morality of Killing The Morality of Killing PME2 – Lesson 1-2 Class Date: 14 Feb 2013 Morality of Killing • Learning Objectives: – Cadets will understand the moral justification for killing in war – Cadets will understand why members of the Army Profession must study and have professional discussions about this subject – Cadets will know that as Officers they must: • Train their Soldiers to be prepared to kill in combat • Make the right moral-ethical decisions in war and train their Soldiers to do the same • Mitigate, identify symptoms of, and respond to “moral injury” in their Soldiers and themselves Morality of Killing Why talk with Soldiers about the moral justification of killing? Recruited to defend our country and way of life Trained to kill Equipped to kill Prepared to kill when called upon May be given orders to kill when required Not given an explanation of why killing in war can be morally justified Morality of Killing Why do we need to know a justification for killing? Cannot trust our feelings or past experiences We (may not or probably do not) have prior experience of killing Even the blameless experience feelings of guilt To be mentally and morally prepared to ethically apply or give orders to apply lethal force Prevents or reduces moral injury. If you justly kill someone else, you ought to be able to live at peace with yourself Empowers us to talk to fellow Soldiers, family, neighbors, media, etc., about what Army Professionals must sometimes do Basic Human Rights By virtue of our humanity, every person possesses the right to life and self-defense Forfeiture of Rights If someone threatens the right of another person’s right to life, the aggressor forfeits their own right The Soldier Defender When a Soldier kills an aggressor who has forfeited his right to life, that Soldier is doing his or her duty. The defender violates no one’s rights, and thus he retains his right to life Defender Aggressor Victim Forfeiture of Rights How does a person forfeit their right ? • By violating or threatening to violate the right of someone else who possesses the right to life – – – – – – – – – Shooting at people who possess their right? Emplacing an IED? Driving a vehicle that has illegal weapons? Being a lookout for an insurgent safe house? Transporting IED components? Stealing US weapons and equipment? Financing the insurgency? Writing anti-coalition graffiti? Mocking/disrespecting/mutilating US casualties? Return of Rights Is the Loss of Rights Permanent? • No! By virtue of being human, a person defaults to possessing the right to life when they surrender, throw down their weapons, or are no longer a threat • Threat = Intent + capability – A wounded, incapacitated insurgent…no capability – A zip-tied, detained insurgent…no capability – Visit with an insurgent who is thinking about changing sides…no intent – The question of “Immediacy of the threat,” e.g., the enemy combatant who is peaceful at the moment Discussion Questions 1. Does this imply that the war has to be “just” for killing in it to be morally justified? 2. Does a “Just War” require that some moral principles (e.g., right to life) are universal? 3. What about cases in which the “aggressor” is not as morally responsible as an attacker on the street? – Child combatants – Misinformed soldiers – Family members accompanying the insurgent Morality of Killing Profession’s Moral Vocabulary • Morally right: to kill someone who has forfeited his right to life • Morally wrong: to kill someone who still possesses their right to life • Morally excusable: to kill someone whom you genuinely, reasonably believed to have forfeited their rights, but in fact had not (The moral fog of war) • Wrong is not necessarily blameworthy • Accidental fratricide • Unexpected/unplanned Collateral damage Leading your Soldiers to fight right • • • • • • • • • • • • Assess, set and maintain a positive ethical leader/command climate Lead by example - in word and deed Demonstrate your Character, Competence, and Commitment by making ethical, effective, and efficient decisions and acting accordingly Learn all you can about the culture and origins of the conflict “Know your enemy as you know yourself” – Tsu Zu Humanize and respect all people Talk about and make moral-ethical decisions and anticipate risks and consequences Wargame, vignettes, what-ifs, use CAPE virtual ethical decision making simulators for training Lead in the development of character in your Soldiers, inspire their shared identity as Army Professionals in ethical defense of the Nation, enhance Soldier morale, and motivate unit esprit de corps Assign and mentor Battle Buddies – Soldiers have to have a trusted confidant Acknowledge mistakes and “moral wounds” - discuss, unintended deaths and grievous wounds – enemy, non-combatants, friendly forces Identify Soldiers who may be “at risk” to commit unethical acts or be adversely affected by the violence of combat and provide them caring leadership. How We Fight The Army Profession The Army Professional • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Defense of the Constitution Protection of American People Prevent/Deter, Shape & Win our Nation’s Wars Compliance with Treaties and Law of War Honorable Service to U.S. Earn & maintain Trust Ethical application of Landpower – – – – • Military Necessity Distinction (combatants/noncombatants) Proportionality Prevent, Avoid, Reduce: Unnecessary Suffering Restraint, Respect, Legitimacy • • • • Accomplish the Mission Live by the Army Ethic Values based decisions & actions Warrior Ethos Protection of comrades Protection of innocents Respect, Restraint Compliance with Law of War Duty to Uphold/Enforce discipline and right conduct Demonstrate Competence, Character & Commitment Stewards others – coach, counsel, mentor Seeks and accepts responsibility Accountable for own &unit action/inaction Summary • Army Professionals are entrusted to accomplish the mission and defend the innocent by ethical application of lethal/nonlethal force • Every act of killing is a very serious, permanent action that requires moral justification (often after the act in the heat of battle) • Soldiers only kill those who, by their own threatening actions, have temporarily forfeited their own right to life (i.e., Combatants vice NonCombatants) • Killing someone, justifiably or accidentally, is upsetting to Soldiers at some level. That is a normal human reaction • If the killing is morally wrong or the result of an honest mistake, the psychological impact will likely be much greater • Leaders must address moral injury in their Soldiers and themselves after every death in the area of operations, training, or in garrison • Learn the signs of combat related stress and moral injury and how to reduce or mitigate that stress in your Soldiers and yourself (FM6-22.5) Back-Up Slides • Following Slides are for additional Information: – – – – Examples of Moral Injury/PTSD from killing in war Stages of Response to killing in war Just War and Ethical Application of Landpower Recommended reading: • Kilner, Peter. “A Moral Justification for Killing in War,” Army magazine, February 2010. • Terkel, Studs. The Good War: An Oral History of World War II, 1984. • Grossman, David. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, 1996. “Moral Injury” * “My son is wrestling with what he did during his deployment. He was raised Catholic and was taught morality and values. Our son is really grappling with the fact that he took a human life and I don't know exactly how to explain it, excuse it, or justify it. I want him to feel okay with what he did and about himself. I am avoiding the word forgiven, because I don't feel there is anything to forgive. We are supportive of his decision to join the military and are very proud of his accomplishments and ability to do his job effectively. I don't know how to impress upon him that killing in war is justified and not the same as murder, and that he did what he was trained to do and did a good job. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. “ ---a Soldier’s Mom A Lieutenant's Story The last guy I killed was in a vehicle that came up to my checkpoint during a HVT raid in Fallujah. He tried to evade, I opened up as per ROE at the time. I zeroed 28 rounds of a 30round magazine into the passenger and driver. The driver was hit but not killed, and managed to back his car into his driveway 300 meters away. What I’ll never forget about that engagement was listening to the family react when they saw the inside of the car and their loved one without a chest. I saw a counselor for about 6 months when I got back. I quit when I could start sleeping through the night without having to drink a six-pack beforehand. There are other instances which vary in their troubling meanings to me, but I think the one above is the most prevalent. A Veteran of Honorable Service He was in active combat in Somalia, Honduras, and Iraq. I think Somalia was the hardest for him. Yesterday I came into our room and saw him staring at the wall. He was pale, diaphoretic, and clenching his fists. I have never seen him like this. I asked if he was ok. This startled him and sort of "woke" him. He said he was fine and didn’t want to talk about it. Later he told me he has been starting to have dreams again and has had a few episodes of feeling charged/panicked, but he is able to regain composure and be fine. We talked at length for the first time about his dreams and his feelings about the people he killed while in combat. He carries so much guilt. At the time he just reacted. He is an amazing shot with patience and near perfect aim. He said at the time there was a moving target and he reacted. Now he remembers those same incidences and sees their faces. He is haunted by them. He didn’t want to talk to me or anyone else about it because he didn’t want to be looked at for what he had done instead of who he is.... Is there anything you can recommend that I can do or he can do to help deal with his guilt? I love him dearly, he is amazing. I want him to be free. He has carried this for so long. He has been out of the service for 8 years now and it is still with him every day. ---- an Army Wife Killing Response Stages 1. Concern about being able to kill 2. Killing Circumstance 3. Exhilaration from Killing or personal Survival 4. Remorse & Nausea from Killing 2.x. Inability to Kill 1.f. Fixation with ability to Kill 5. Moral or Logical Rationalization & Acceptance 2.f. Fixation with inability to Kill 3.f. Fixation with exhilaration 5.f. Rationalization Fails (Moral Injury) 4.f. Fixation with remorse & guilt PTSD Just War • Just War theory (jus bellum iustum) is a doctrine, also referred to as a principle of US military ethics. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure war is morally justifiable through a series of, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just. The criteria are split into two groups: • The right to go to war (jus ad bellum) – the morality of going to war. The US Joint doctrine in JP 3-0 recognizes this principle as “Legitimacy” which has been added to the 9 Principles of War. • Right conduct in war (jus in bello) – moral conduct within war and war fighting. The US is a charter signatory to the Geneva Conventions and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those principles have been incorporated into the Law of Armed Conflict (FM 27-10/ATP 6-27). The US Joint doctrine in JP 3-0 recognizes this principle as “Restraint” and “Respect” which have been added to the Principles of War, which the US Army Doctrine (ADP/ADRP 1) have further described as “Ethical Application of Landpower.” • Just War theory recognizes that while war is terrible, it is not always the worst option. There may be responsibilities so important, atrocities which can be prevented or outcomes so undesirable that they justify war. Final Thoughts • War is “good” only as the lesser of bad alternatives, and killing in war is the same. – Perhaps killing in war is akin to a doctor amputating the infected limb of a wounded warrior. It is sad and painful, but it is the right choice among lousy alternatives and should be done by a skilled professional. – “Killing a jihadist can be as satisfying as excising a cancerous tumor.” – a recent Army combat veteran • We are “as sick as our secrets.” As members of the Army Profession, we should talk among ourselves about the moral realities of killing. As an Army Professional it is your Duty to talk to your Soldiers, peers, mentors and family about this topic. POC FOR MORE CONVERSATION • LTC Pete Kilner, [email protected] • Has been studying and writing on this subject since 1997.