Code Red In John Steinbeck's 'A Few Good Men'

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PHIL 2406.101WE Stacey Burleson Thursday, October, 27, 2011 Code Red In the first moments of A Few Good Men, Lance Corporal Harold Dawson and Private First Class Louden Downey walk into the barracks of Private First Class William Santiago, shove a rag down his throat, and bind his hands and feet with duct tape. Within a matter of minutes, Santiago loses his life as a result of lactic acidosis, with a flight back to the United States at 0600 hours leaving Guantanamo Bay without him. The author claims that Dawson and Downey should be convicted on the charges of murder because they took it upon themselves to eliminate a weak link among their ranks. One can argue in favor of Dawson and Downey’s defense. Firstly, the circumstances surrounding…show more content…
That is, the testimonies from Dawson, Downey, and Col. Nathan R. Jessep all shared the order of the Code Red issued to Private First Class William Santiago. Dawson and Downey say they executed the Code Red because they were merely following orders, an order given by Col. Jessep via Lt. Jonathan Kendrick. Col. Jessep admitted to ordering the Code Red on Santiago because “Santiago was a substandard Marine” (A Few Good Men, 1992), and as such, proved to be a liability to Second Platoon Delta, Rifle Security Company Windward. As Jessep states, “Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives” (A Few Good Men, 1992), following the precept of sacrificing a finger for the sake of the hand. Kaffee, recognizing Jessep’s absolutist mindset, says that “[Jessep’s men] follow orders. Otherwise, people die” (A Few Good Men, 1992). Dawson and Downey, probably unaware of Santiago’s condition, knew that, though illegal, if they did not carry out the order, they would stand court-martial for omitting an order from a commissioned officer, as implied by UCMJ Article 89. Prosecution could press for the guilty verdict on the sole fact that the issuing of the Code Red resulted in the death of a Marine, but UCMJ Article 118 states that the act must have been premeditated or of a nature disregarding another man’s life. Neither Dawson nor Downey intended to kill a fellow Marine. They merely wanted
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