Ethics Of Leadership In Military Decision Making

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Ethics of Leadership in Military Decision Making

Ethics of Leadership in Military Decision Making

Introduction of Case Study

Images of the great warrior being given a treatise on morals, ethics and values on the battlefield by Lord Krishna are vivid in every Indian mind. Should he decimate the revered teachers who had taught him every skill they knew, or the warrior cousins he had grown up with? That was when Lord Krishna stepped in with his Divine justification of Dharma Yudha or Righteous War: a war he urged Arjun to fight with a clear conscience because it was the right thing to do.3 Homer's heroes from the Iliad and the Odyssey fought each other at Troy over a moral violation of ethics. Battlefield ethics of fighting equals and returning the bodies of slain warriors indicated the existence of an honor code.4 The Roman Empire fell because of a progressive decay in morals and ethics that blinded successive emperors from differentiating between what was right and wrong.

They ordered the military to plunder, destroy and rape; and the military blindly obeyed till the rage of the common man pulled the empire down. Renewed multiple pressures on medieval military leadership led to the subjugation of classical military ethics and universal values like honor, integrity, courage and honesty to the spread of religion. The Industrial Revolution and its fallout of colonization did have its share of unscrupulous and unethical conquests of natives, but, at the same time, it laid the foundation for the emergence of a worldwide similarity in military leadership as practiced by the British and the French. Ethics and values as practiced by British stalwarts like the Duke of Wellington who once said, “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing field of Eton,” indicated that good military leadership could not be acquired in a matter of days or weeks but accrued from years of value-based grooming and learning. While military ethics have remained almost static for thousands of years, military values have undergone many transformations.

Historically, military leaders have always struggled to cope with political or nationalist directives and modern military values owe their origin to the emergence of the nation state and the rapid proliferation of military technology. World War II saw the success of generals like Rommel and Slim who occupied the moral and ethical high ground and yet won. Rommel always struggled to come to terms with Nazi Germany and yet managed to carve out an exemplary niche for himself amidst the moral degradation that was to ultimately cause the collapse of Nazi Germany. It also saw the emergence of politically savvy generals like Eisenhower who were operationally sound and yet malleable and flexible. Then Korea and Vietnam wherein a nation's military leadership had to succumb to political manipulation, The aftermath of the Vietnam War saw a complete reappraisal of military leadership in the US armed forces. A grassroots drive was initiated to restore the faith of a nation in its military leadership ...
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