26 July, 2010

The end can never really justify the means

Cristina Alarcon, a Vancouver pharmacist (and frequent participant in the comment threads of this blog - thank you Cristina!!) has produced an excellent editorial that was published in THE PROVINCE newspaper in B.C. In it she raises a series of issues related to the conviction of Capt. Robert Semrau of conduct unbecoming an officer when he killed a severely wounded Taliban soldier on the grounds that it was the most 'merciful' action he could offer. Capt. Semrau was found not guilty of the more severe charge of murder.

Given the exigencies of war (where the 'rubber' REALLY hits the road!) it is an article well worth reading for anyone who is concerned about is the issues of war and justice.

There have also been a number of posts on this subject that can be found on the National Post's Religion blog, 'The Holy Post'. Check them out and join the conversation!

The end can never really justify the means

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Fr.Tim. That was a tough piece to write, and the responses I got vary... one from an animal rights activist was well..interesting...
    Mostly people are invoking the idea that during war principles can vary. My intent was to reflect on my own principles, and ask myself whether I would uphold these or not under such pressure. Were I unable to uphold these, the principles would still stand. They don't just cease to be.
    The principle of "the ends do not justify the means" are pretty universal.
    One person claimed that because there was no medication or other means on the battle field, that it was therefore justified to shoot a badly wounded soldier. My question is, if this were true, then how would we deal with a hypothetical situation at home where, for example, medication needs exceeded available supplies? Just a thought.
    Here is the blog of the soldier-ethicist I speak of in the article.


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