chapter  6
12 Pages

The Fall of the Warrior King

Situational Ethics in Iraq
ByPaul Robinson

This chapter draws lessons on ethics education for counter-insurgency operations from the case study of Lt Col Sassaman and the drowning of Zaydoon Fadhil. It examines what led the soldiers of the 18 Infantry Battalion to act as they did. Thomas E. Rickss describes an interesting example of how ignorance, not lack of character, contributed to prisoner abuse. It confirms the wisdom of Philip Zimbardos comment that needs to recognize more fully the complex of situational forces that are operative in given behavioral settings. Ethics education is an essentially practical subject and should be thoroughly integrated into field training. In a military context it is important to instill a sense of individual responsibility, and indeed, one of the soldiers ordered to force the two Iraqis into the river refused to do. The US Army is not alone in the way it emphasizes the traditional warrior virtues in its lists of military values and virtues.