Military Ethics: International Perspective. By Jeff Stouffer and Stefan Seiler, eds. Kingston, Ontario: Canadian Defense Academy Press, 2010. Illustrations. Notes. Glossary. Index. Pp. v, 307. $25.00. Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-10016318-5
Unconventional foes using decidedly unorthodox methods pose unique threats requiring conventional militaries to focus even more attention on roles and responsibilities. Understanding ethics and their role is a crucial component of preparing today's warriors to ensure they can fight to win without compromising societal values they are sworn to protect. The International Military Leadership Association sponsored by the Canadian Defense Academy launched a series of books delving into contemporary military issues; this is the fifth in that series. Its purpose is to "illuminate how the various militaries represented in this book study, prepare for and approach ethical situations or, in other words, how military personnel are developed to effectively respond to the numerous and diverse situations encountered at home and in theatres of operation."
This is a collection of essays and reports from a variety of contributors in The Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and Indonesia. It offers a broader perspective on ethics issues in today's militaries than a work covering only one country. This gives the book a unique value in helping broaden the viewpoint of military members trying to grasp the issues of multiculturalism prevalent in coalition operations in diverse regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
The book's diversity is both its greatest strength and biggest weakness. The variety of viewpoints forces the reader to consider many issues from perspectives they might not encounter in their own experience. In that sense, it is very useful. But the editors did not stick closely enough to their purpose: to focus on training and education. Topics range across a broad spectrum from a discussion of morals and ethics training, to analysis of
ethical behavior among military members, to developing a personal moral compass to guide one in making decisions in combat, to guidance for a researcher on ethical...