Ethics and "A Few Good Men."

2856 Words Sep 24th, 2005 12 Pages
The movie is about two marines indicted for the murder of a fellow marine in their platoon. Private First Class (PFC) William Santiago died because of lactic acidosis triggered by the assault inflicted by Lance Corporal Harold Dawson and Private Lowden Downey. This assault was the result of a direct order by the platoon commander Lieutenant Kendrick. The order was to train Santiago to respect the Code of the Marines and the chain of command. Private Santiago had broken this chain and written directly to the NIS asking for a transfer, in exchange for offering information about an illegal fence-line shooting. When Colonel Nathan Jessep, commander of the marines stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, learned of this letter, he ordered the …show more content…
However, they were bound to their duty; overriding their commanding officer's orders would have placed their career at stake.

This case involves an ethical dilemma for the following reasons:

1. A murder has been committed. It is not acceptable to take a human life merely because this individual doesn't get along with the rest of the company.

2. The investigation of the murder is hindered. It is not acceptable to lie about the cause of death in an effort to preserve public relations or personal esteem.

3. Cadets and officers lie under oath in court. It is unacceptable to lie in court. The military has determined that it is essential this case be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. A sub-group in the military can't make its own rules of military morality.

PFC Santiago is treated as a means rather than being treated as an end.

The murder was immoral in every sense and those causing the murder should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We further stipulate that it is unacceptable for a coverup of the murder. Colonel Nathan Jessup defends the practice of lying under an area of lying covered by Plato.

Plato gave support for some lies when he said: "It is the business of the rulers of the city, if it is anybody's, to tell lies, deceiving both its enemies and its own citizens for the benefit of the city; and no one else must touch this privilege."(1)

If using the Plato type justification for the coverup, Jessup and

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