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War and Moral Dissonance
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This collection of essays, inspired by the author's experience teaching ethics to Marine and Navy chaplains during the Iraq War, examines the moral and psychological dilemmas posed by war. The first section deals directly with Dr Peter A. French's teaching experience and the specific challenges posed by teaching applied and theoretical ethics to men and women wrestling with the immediate and personal moral conflicts occasioned by the dissonance of their duties as military officers with their religious convictions. The following chapters grew out of philosophical discussions with these chaplains regarding specific ethical issues surrounding the Iraq War, including the nature of moral evil, forgiveness, mercy, retributive punishment, honour, torture, responsibility and just war theory. This book represents a unique viewpoint on the philosophical problems of war, illuminating the devastating toll combat experiences take on both an individual's sense of identity and a society's professed moral code.


'Where this book should be studied is in preparation for command; it does provide a wonderful insight into the fragility of the human condition both in terms of witnessing the horrors of modern warfare and how even disciplined western militaries contain individuals who will revert to the basest of human behaviour given the slightest justification … For the Naval reader who lacks combat experience ashore this book does provide an alternative viewpoint on how difficult the last decade has been on our Army and Marine colleagues. Theirs have been wars of death, dirt and dissonance; the results of which can be found in these pages as the author describes torture, murder and disobedience from the lens of the confessional, last rites or slit trench.'

Dave Mugridge Source: The Naval Review

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