Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Ethical Issues

Drawing from the “consequentalist” moral dynamic for intelligence operations introduced in the Arrigo paper, give examples of when human source intelligence, counterintelligence, or covert operations pass the “moral divide” and violate the Just War doctrine.
A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause. Further, a just war can only be fought with "right" intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury (Just War Doctrine 2008). The current Global War on Terror (GWOT) is being fought for these reasons. During the course of a covert operation terrorists capture members of a cell in the process of planning a major terrorist attack. The interrogation operations that follow will move into high gear by exerting more pressure on the prisoners to get more details as to who, what, when, where, how the attack will happen so that the attack can be prevented. Now the pressure really mounts to find out more information on the attack, the stakes are rising even more because during the initial interrogation it is discovered that the terrorists are planning a weapon of mass destruction attack (WMD). Now the pressure is mounting to find out more information and the prisoners are no longer responding to approved interrogation methods. At this point the interrogation operations crosses the moral divide to protect the integrity of the United States and starts using harsher and harsher interrogation methods to get the answers they need to stop the attack. The result of these methods is that lots of things happened that just look on their face to be immoral (Arrigo 2001). The results of these harsh methods result in another covert operation that will require the elimination of the remainder of the terrorist cell or the attack will still be successful. This cell is discovered and is located in a safe house with women and children around it because the enemy knows the U.S. will avoid civilian causalities if at all possible. The covert action team is ordered to go kinetic on the target and guides a 2,000 pound bomb onto the house again crossing another moral divide by killing everyone in and around the house. According to the Just Law of war this house was a legitimate target. The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target (Just War Doctrine 2008). So while going over the moral divide to achieve the objectives the operations it could be said the Just Law of War where followed.

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