When two primary values are conflicting there should be a good ethics code to serve as an arbiter. Ethical dilemma is therefore said to arise when there are two primary values conflicting in an individual for example a solider is supposed to be with his family but at the same time he is required to protect the government from enemies and enforce laws. During work he must choose between killing the enemy to protect the state or have mercy on the enemy at the expense of state security.
The solider now is having a series of conflicting principles should he be at home with his family or not, if he is on duty should he attack and kill the enemy or should he leave his nation to be conquered? Ethical dilemma is therefore defined as the conflict between two important ethical values or perspectives, for example conflict between ones professional values and personal values, or it may be the conflict between the values held by different people (Cohen 2007).
Ethical dilemma involving two people with different perspectives is typical between a doctor and a patient where the patient feels he is having the right not to take medication but the doctor feels that professionally he is entitled to prevent his patient from making this decision that may harm his life. For the US combats it is the professional value conflicting the personal value for example should they kill or not and if so what are the possible consequences.
Further on the soldiers are supposed to be with their families but they cannot because they are somewhere in Iraq, Sudan, Israel and other parts of the world keeping peace or protecting the state from possible enemies like the alqueda terrorist group. Combats are the military personnel that are trained by the US military defense section to provide both physical and ideological services needed to fight any enemy of the state.
With continued increase in global insecurity these combats are trained to deal with the enemy in the most brutal way possible even if it means killing the enemy. This kind of training makes the solders to develop poor ethical relations with other people more so anybody thought to be an enemy of the federal government will not be treated with any dignity by the combats. These people are always prone to great violations of human bioethical values because many a times they are killed mercilessly in cold blood.
The US military ethics and standards of conduct, gives guidelines to military personnel including the combats on the codes of conduct and military ethics to be followed to the letter by any personnel. Violation of the US punitive military provision by any personnel may result to the prosecution of the offender under “ The Uniform Cord of Military justice”. The US combats together with other service groups are supposed to direct their service and support to engage the US’s enemy in fight and offer state security at all costs.
They are always organized to operate as a single unit under a one commander who is entitled to give orders on how to combat the enemy as well as how to protect the state at the same time. Within this unit there are the military doctors who are responsible for the wounded or sick combats but within the military medical ethics. The ethical values to be upheld by the combats are honesty, integrity, accountability, fairness, loyalty, respect, caring and promise keeping to the state fellow combats and the citizens.
This applies to all the combats from the commander to juniors including the military medical officer. However studies have revealed that “Mixed Agency” and “conflicting loyalty” is as common in combats as it is in civilians with malicious combats justifying their acts to protection of the state leaving the straight forward ones in ethical dilemmas since they have to be loyal to the state, they have to kill (Beam 2005). The ethical dilemmas facing the combats include conflict in military ethics and health ethics, bioethics, human psychological ethics as well as military medical ethics.
Therefore the combats are left in huge dilemmas on how to address each specific value with respect to their professional ethics that is the military ethics. One of the commanders in Iraq was reported to have accepted that actually in the battlefield they were at dilemma not with the bioethical value of the enemy or the civilians but also amongst the combats themselves. He said that it is actually it was not a simple matter to kill or to be killed, however the soldiers have to think about their fellow soldiers, their country and the reason why they have gone for war.
If the leave the enemy to kill their fellow soldiers because they sympathize with the enemy, the soldiers are considered compromising the military ethics. If they kill the enemy they are considered war criminals before the law concerned with international human rights. The soldier are then expected to protect the interests of their fellow soldier and their nation but without compromising the interest of the civilians in war torn nations or the interest of the war lords they fight with for example the taliban group in Iraq.
However those feeling the pinch of the dilemma here are the commanders, they have to put soldiers to battle knowing very well that deaths will occur but there is nothing they can do because they will do everything within their powers to save the lives of the soldiers the can not accomplish the mission. Continued war all over the world sees the combats being sent to various destinations this has by far added greater dimensions to the combat’s ethical dilemmas. With increased injuries and deaths the soldiers do not know where to start and end because the dilemma now is actually seen in their lives versus the profession.
The US military ethics does not offer any guideline on whether to withhold treatment from soldiers with severe brain injuries or not, the military doctors are the in turn faced with a very complicated moral and ethical dilemma. Here the doctor must choose between treating the worst and disturbing wounds he has ever seen or to let his fellow soldier to die in the battlefields like Iraq. In these situations the military doctor are obsessed with keeping the wounded soldiers alive even if the wound is so serious something they would not have done in US.
The military ethics back in US calls for immediate termination of life in such cases or an amputation if any of the limbs is involved, but in the war tone Iraq the military doctors are doing exactly the opposite of what is expected of them. Recently heated debates were witnessed across the states to discuss the position of women in US combat many people were against the view that females should be part of the team while others were supporting it by citing the great roles played by German women to fight the Nazi wars in the post war Germany.
However the main ethical dilemma facing the women is to choose between going to war to protect their nation from enemies or to remain at home to care for the family. But if they go to war will they be safe in regard to their male counter pats in issues regarding sexual harassments and equality. To avoid these dilemmas there should be a well-defined ethics code to guard everybody getting involved with the soldiers for example there should be a specific line to differentiate military ethics and Bioethics or military ethics and medical ethics.
The soldiers should adopt military role specific ethic which only favor military interest exclusively and the medical ethics should also be exclusive to patients. No mixing up agency should occur in the different values. When it comes to killing for example its a military ethics that a soldier whom is expected to be injured to recover should be shot dead, a soldier who betrays the federal government should also face the same but what of bioethics, is really right to kill?
The soldiers should therefore be vigilant not to act inhumanly, they should learn to be flexible in their actions not to be influenced by fellow soldiers or even the state but should consider the values of the people they meet in war. The combats should also develop the skills of listening and learning from the mistakes made in the past by them or colleagues to avoid making any further errors. They should also learn to make their own decisions regardless of the unexpected situations they encounter in the battlefields and act accordingly with regard to military ethics and other moral ethics.