Medical ethics prohibits caregivers from discriminating and providing preferential care to their compatriots and comrades. In military medicine, particularly during war and when resources may be scarce, ethical principles may dictate priority care for compatriot soldiers. The principle of nondiscrimination is central to utilitarian and deontological theories of justice, but communitarianism and the ethics of care and friendship stipulate a different set of duties for community members, friends, and family. Similar duties exist among the small cohesive groups that typify many (...) military units. When members of these groups require medical care, there are sometimes moral grounds to treat compatriot soldiers ahead of enemy or allied soldiers regardless of the severity of their respective wounds. (shrink)
Torture, assassination, and blackmail in modern, asymmetric conflict -- Friends, foes or brothers in arms : the puzzle of combatant equality -- Dilemmas and paradoxes of combatancy -- Shooting to kill : the paradox of prohibited weapons -- Shooting to stun : the paradox of nonlethal warfare -- Murder, self-defense or execution : the dilemma of assassination -- Human dignity or human life : the dilemmas of torture -- Dilemmas and paradoxes of noncombatancy -- Blackmailing the innocent : the dilemma (...) of noncombatant immunity -- Killing the innocent : the dilemma of terror -- Risking our lives to save others : the paradox (and dilemma) of humanitarian intervention -- Torture, assassination, and blackmail : new norms for asymmetric conflict. (shrink)
Because the goal of military medicine is salvaging the wounded who can return to duty, military medical ethics cannot easily defend devoting scarce resources to those so badly injured that they cannot return to duty. Instead, arguments turn to morale and political obligation to justify care for the seriously wounded. Neither argument is satisfactory. Care for the wounded is not necessary to maintain an army's morale. Nor is there any moral or logical connection between the right to health care (a (...) universal human right) and the duty to defend one's nation (a local political duty). Once badly wounded, soldiers enjoy the same right to medical care as any similarly ill or injured individual. National health care systems grasp this point and offer few additional health care benefits to veterans. In the United States, however, lack of universal health coverage skews the debate to focus on special entitlements for veterans without considering the health care rights that other citizens enjoy. (shrink)
Gaucher disease is a rare, chronic,ethnic-specific genetic disorder affecting Jewsof Eastern European descent. It is extremelyexpensive to treat and presents difficultdilemmas for officials and patients in Israelwhere many patients live. First, high-cost,high-benefit, but low volume treatment forGaucher creates severe allocation dilemmas forpolicy makers. Allocation policies driven bycost effectiveness, age, opportunity or needmake it difficult to justify funding. Processoriented decision making based on terms of faircooperation or decisions invoking the ``rule ofrescue'''' risk discriminating against minoritieswho may already suffer from inequitabledistribution of (...) heath care resources. Apartfrom cost, Gaucher disease prompts questionsabout abortion. Unlike severe geneticdisorders, Gaucher offers no grounds forabortion and, in many ways, is analogous togender based abortions that are prohibitedregardless of fetal age. Finally, Gaucherraises concerns about the disclosure of geneticinformation. These affect potential carriersasked to participate in population studies andcarriers and patients who must considerdisclosure to others. These concerns weigh theright to privacy against communal interests andbilateral commitments. (shrink)
Because we are often nagged by the thought that we might not have behaved any differently than those good citizens whose respect for the law and fear of punishment led them to support the Nazi regime, we are fascinated with the behavior of ordinary Germans. Careful to first strip away the pathological explanations of German behavior, Pellegrino and Thomasma ask simply whether ordinary Germans could have reasoned and, by implication, acted differently. Although their affirmative answer is consistent with the activism (...) we have all come to demand of the Germans, it is not clear whether we, ourselves, can lay full claim to the moral high ground. (shrink)
Although the abortion debate continues to simmer in many places, the general issue of a woman's right to an abortion, at least in the Western democracies, is largely settled. In its place, the question of late-term abortion begins to assume a prominence only recently attributed to abortion itself. The advent of sophisticated fetal screening techniques makes possible detection of potentially severe fetal anomalies that in many cases are detected only late in the pregnancy, resulting in the need for late-term abortion.
Responsible citizens are expected to combine ethical judgement with judiciously exercised social activism to preserve the moral foundation of democratic society and prevent political injustice. But do they? Utilizing a research model integrating insights from rational choice theory and cognitive developmental psychology this book carefully explores three exemplary cases of morally inspired activism: Jewish rescue in wartime Europe, abortion politics in the United States, and peace and settler activism in Israel. From all three analyses a single conclusion emerges: the most (...) politically competent individuals are, most often, the least morally competent. This is the central paradox of political morality. These findings cast doubt on strong models of political morality characterized by enlightened moral reasoning and concerted political action while affirming alternative weak models that fuse activism with sectarian moral interests. They provide empirical support to further upend the liberal vision of democratic character, education, and society. (shrink)