Ethical Dilemmas Essay

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The Merriam Webster dictionary defines ethics as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. Therefore, making an ethical decision requires an individual to evaluate what is good or bad and the moral duty and obligation to society. The good and bad are defined by societal norms and one’s moral duty is based upon an agreed set of rules, which govern human behavior. However, making an ethical decision often requires a much more in depth analysis of the situation and the possible outcomes. In this paper, I will examine four dilemmas in which decisions must be made based on ethical reasoning and moral duty to society. In most of these cases, the choice is not an easy one and often, a choice must be made between two unattractive choices or two evils. The first dilemma I will be discussing involves a marine lieutenant in Afghanistan who must choose between either killing or releasing four Afghani goatherds who might or might not be Taliban partisans. In this scenario there are several stakeholders, the four goatherds, the marine lieutenant, the other personnel in the patrol, the Taliban and the Afghani civilians. The first perspective for this dilemma is that the lieutenant can release the four goatherds assuming that they are not partisans to the Taliban. This would be the easiest decision since the lieutenant’s personal morals are not sacrificed. Another perspective could be that the four goatherds are released; however they are partisans to the Taliban. This could put the lives of men in the patrol in danger and also could be a major setback for the military mission. Also, this would allow the Taliban to further terrorize the citizens of Afghanistan. Lastly, the lieutenant can have the four goatherd killed, thereby removing any risk to the patrol and the mission. The goatherds could be innocent or involved with the Taliban.

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