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symposium on kerrey and the thanh phong incident
1. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Joseph Betz Kerrey and Calley: Is There Really a Moral Difference?
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Lieutenant Bob Kerrey, later Governor and Senator Kerrey, revealed in the spring of 2001 that he was being accused by a former military subordinate that he had ordered a massacre during the Vietnamese War. Kerrey denied most parts of the charge. If guilty, however, he would be a war criminal of roughly the same kind that a court martial found Lieutenant Rusty Calley to be. I examine the available evidence and argue that a court martial would probably find Kerrey guilty and I compare him in many ways to Calley.
2. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jan Narveson Kerrey and Calley: What Is the Moral Difference?
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In the Vietnam war, Lieutenant Calley, claiming to be following orders, ordered the killing of several hundred women, children, and elderly people in the village of My Lai. In 1969, Lieutenant (later Senator) Kerrey led a small group of SEALs in the dead of night on a dangerous military venture. In course, a dozen or so innocent villagers were either shot in crossfire or killed intentionally because there seemed a real chance that they would inform the enemy, endangering themselves and the mission. I argue that Calley was clearly not justified and that Kerrey, given the circumstances, may have been. More generally, I argue that all soldiers at all ranks must be expected to act decently, with as much regard to the distinction of civilian/combatant as circumstances permit. That one is following superiors’ orders is never sufficient, of itself, to justify what would otherwise be grossly evil acts.
3. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Tom Grassey When He Was a Young Man
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This article examines the events in Thanh Phong, Vietnam, on the night of 25.26 February 1969, when Lieutenant (junior grade) Bob Kerrey led a squad of U.S. Navy SEa-Air-Land (SEAL)s on a mission to capture a Viet Cong district chief. It studies the events at an outlying hooch the SEALs encountered as they approached the village, and what happened in Thanh Phong, examining several sources, most notably Gregory Vistica’s New York Times Magazine article and Kerrey.s recent memoir, When I Was a Young Man. The article explains the differing accounts at the hooch and in the village, and considers whether military necessity, fear for their own lives, or obedience to superior orders can justify what these accounts offer. It concludes that neither Gerhard Klann.s nor the combined conflicting versions offered as his “best memory” by Kerrey gives sufficient reason to justify the deaths of about two dozen Vietnamese civilians.
4. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Reginald Raymer Sounds of Silence
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In this article, I suggest that exclusive attention to questions of individual moral responsibility for the killing of Vietnamese civilians in raids on My Lai and Thanh Phong (March 16, 1968, and February 24.25, 1969, respectively), while important, may serve only to silence equally important ethical questions like: Are these cases genocide and mass murder? What does the response or lack thereof of the American government and public to these events tell us about our quest for justice? If we cannot ascertain a reliable account of the facts, does this relegate such actions to meaninglessness? What role does memory play in our representation of horror as well as our memorializing the past? Do we have to be both victims and executioners or can we, in Albert Camus.s words, become “neither victims nor executioners”? My point is that the relevance of this issue is less about returning to the past and assigning guilt and moral culpability and more about the pragmatic-ethical concern of addressing the conditions that make such actions possible.
symposium on war, pacifism, and dialogue
5. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Daniel A. Dombrowski Rawls and War
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The purpose of the present article is to explicate John Rawls’s views on war as they are scattered across several of his writings. Three claims are made: (1) Rawls is generally a just war theorist who usually argues against the “realist” view of war; (2) Under the influence of Michael Walzer, however, Rawls ends up making an illadvised concession to the realist view concerning conditions of “supreme emergency”; and (3), despite Rawls’s blend of just war theory/realism, the logic of his theory of justice and his political liberalism should push him in the opposite direction toward a blend of just war theory/pacifism.
6. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Ali Paya “Dialogue” In a “Real World”: Quixotic Pursuit or sine qua non?
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Can dialogue make real impact on the state of affairs in the real world, or is it a pastime of the polite societies or a lullaby useful for sending gullible grown-ups into “sleep”? In the present paper, following a two-tier analysis of the notion of dialogue, as “shared exploration towards greater understanding, connection, or possibility,” and as a product of our “collective intentionality,” I shall develop a bifurcated argument. Against the cynic pundits, who preach that realpolitik and not dialogue is the name of the game in our daily interactions with each other, I shall argue that in an increasingly pluralistic world, dialogue is a powerful and indispensable means for making desirable changes. Similarly, against the over-enthusiastic optimists who believe that dialogue provides us with a magical wand, I shall argue that dialogue is as good as we can make it: dialogue cannot work miracles in a vacuum of collective will. The upshot of my argument is that firstly, dialogue is an indicator of the rationality and maturity of the social actors: the more rational the social actors the more ubiquitous and effective the dialogue and vice versa. And secondly, although, dialogue itself may lead to frustration or even violence, it is the absence of dialogue that poses the greatest danger for the future of mankind.
7. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Messay Kebede Generational Imbalance and Disruptive Change
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According to most scholars, what defines modernity is the prevalence of change and mobility in all aspects of life, as opposed to traditionality in which immobility of beliefs and statuses is said to be the dominant trait. One major implication of this definition is the conclusion that the occurrence of modernity involves generational conflicts on the grounds that older people are less open to innovation and change. This paradigm of modernity has led to the exclusion of elders from political life in Third World countries, especially in those countries that opted for a revolutionary course. In light of traditional views of old age and recent gerontological findings, this paper examines the validity of the assumption according to which younger leadership is best equipped to achieve modernity in developing countries. It finds out that both factual and theoretical considerations underline that integration as much as deviation defines positive change and that the failure of generational interaction results in detrimental outcomes.
8. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Peter Johnstone, Joe Frank Jones, III Noble Cause Police Corruption: Suggestions for Training
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This essay confronts police corruption historically and conceptually, isolating noble cause corruption as a neglected yet powerful motivator of corrupt police behavior. Noble cause corruption is defined in some detail and several specific suggestions are made regarding police training programs to address the issue.
9. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Yotam Lurie The Ontology of Sports Injuries: Professional Ethics of Sports Medicine
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Disclosing the ontology of sports injuries by looking closer at their meaning provides us with insight into the professional ethics of the sports medicine specialist. The aim of this article is twofold: to disclose the “the ontology of sports injuries,” and to use the disclosure as an insightful perspective for dwelling on the ethics of sports medicine. Because of the unique nature of sports, the standard ethical prescriptions usually associated with medical ethics are of little use for the sports medicine specialist in treating sport injuries. In spelling out the special ethical context of sports medicine, this paper suggests several distinctions. I propose several models, which provide different conceptions of what constitutes a sport injury: (1) The Medical Model; (2) The Normative Model; (3) The Liberal Model; (4) The Phenomenological Model. The implications of each of these models for sports medicine is assessed, and through them the concept of a sports injury is clarified in a way that can assist us in inferring what is to be done from an ethical point of view.
book review
10. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Mike W. Martin Provoking Thoughts on Professionalism
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In this book, Michael Davis, one of the most insightful writers on professional ethics, substantially revises and integrates fifteen of his previously published articles, making them available to a wider audience. Several professions are emphasized: law, engineering, and police work (including international law enforcement). Yet the topics discussed have relevance to all areas of professional ethics: defining professions, the moral authority of professional codes, intelligently interpreting codes, professional autonomy and discretion, dirty hands, and goals in teaching professional ethics.