Ethics on the battlefield
Ethical lapses among military personnel in Iraq pose a grave danger not simply to U.S. military professionalism but also to the operation itself. According to a newly released Army field survey, significant numbers of U.S. troops directly undermine their mission by mistreating civilians. Ironically, the same person who inscribed high ethical standards into new U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine -- Gen. David H. Petraeus -- inherited this compromised force. While the Army and Marine Corps can address future education and training for U.S. forces, is it too late to fix the problem in Iraq?
Intuitively and anecdotally, we understand the corrosive effects of irregular warfare. An unseen enemy that won't respect the laws of war tempts the opposing force to abandon its professional ethic. Now for the first time, we have hard data that scopes the extent and nature of the problem.
(Sunday, July 1, 2007)