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Ethics of War

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

David DeCosse, Director of Campus Ethics Programs, met on November 11 with Santa Clara University ROTC officers, their commander, Lt. Col. Shawn Cowley, and one of their Army instructors, Captain Rob McMahon. In a three-hour class on the ethics of war, Dr. DeCosse and the cadets addressed such issues as the moral justification for killing in war; the use of the ethical principle of double effect in making judgments about the protection of civilians; and the ethical questions arising from the case of the Navy Seal Lt. Michael Murphy, who posthumously won the Medal of Honor after a 2005 battle in Afghanistan in which he and his Navy Seal colleagues refused to kill Afghan civilians who then revealed the Seals' position to the Taliban. Dr. DeCosse teaches the Ethics of War and Peace in the Department of Religious Studies at SCU. The Ethics Center looks forward to continuing its fruitful engagement with the officers of SCU's ROTC unit.