Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blog Assignment #5

2) Source:

3)This video is really long so I will summarize it briefly. Basically, the two men in the video are veterans of the Israeli Defense Force. In Israel, most young men and women are required to serve in the military for a least a couple years. The two veterans in the video have chosen to speak out about things they had to do while serving in the IDF that have caused them unrest. They served in the IDF during an event called the second intifada, which was a military operation against the Palestinians resulting in thousands of casualties to the Palestinians and nearly one-thousand casualties for Israel.

This video relates to our text because it talks specifically about the role of conscience in ethical decision making. There is a part in the video where the testimony of an IDF special forces officer is given. The operation described by the officer occurred during the summer of 2004 in Israel. No rules of engagement were given to the IDF soldiers and they demolished houses at their own discretion. The IDF used huge bulldozers to dig large ditches in a circle around a target house. Then the bulldozer would pull up to the house and knock a hole in the wall. After that, an armored personnel carrier would pull up to the hole and drop its ramp, allowing the IDF soldiers inside to storm the house. Many of the targeted houses had nothing to do with the fighting, they were just in the way of the army.

A large part of chapter 4 in our book was devoted to the difference in the level of conscience between people. It broke this difference down into three aspects: natural endowment, social conditioning, and moral choice. Members of the IDF are forced into service and regardless of their predisposition to act with a good conscience, they are socially conditioned to believe that it is patriotic and honorable to serve in the military. This may be true, but what most soldiers aren't ready for are the ethical dilemmas they will face. For instance, some of the IDF commanders issuing orders to demolish houses were as young as 21 years old. These men are making decisions that permanently affect people's lives. Knocking someone's house down just because it was in the way made the men in the video feel shame, a concept our book talks about. The men felt shame because they believed it was wrong and dishonorable to treat innocent people as enemy soldiers would be treated. Even though soldiers had the ability to make a moral choice, their social conditioning caused them to be careless with their power. Essentially, all Palestinians became the enemy instead of just the aggresive ones. The way to reconcile this dilemma according to the book is to follow our conscience, but not blindly. In other words, soldiers should make greater effort to spare the innocent and punish the guilty.

4) Arguable issue: Whether or not this post deserves 25 points.

Conclusion: This post deserves 25 points.

Premises: This post deserves 25 points because...

1) It presents a video that relates to the role of conscience in ethical decision making.

2) It explains the relevance of the video to the chapter in our text book, and

3) It points out specific examples from the textbook and ties them in with the video.

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