What Does Honor Require?


Yugandu is a country in central Africa under civil war as a result of warlords who are trying to dominate their territories. One of the warlords is growing stronger since his troop has been able to access superior weapons due to the fact that they have gained control of the minerals in the country. In essence, the war is becoming more ferocious and intense. As a matter of fact, the rebels have developed genocide character and the number of refugees is exponentially increasing (Olsthoorn, 2017). The peacekeeping troops go to Yugandu to maintain peace and order, collect weapon that is in the wrong hands and protect refugees. As the warlord troops grow stronger, there is discord among the peacekeeping troops. The discord is as a result of cultural differences and competition for national interests.

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The rebel troops besiege and overwhelm one of the peacekeeping squads that is guarding the armory. They demand their surrender and order that they surrender the superior weapons in the armory (Levine, 2014). As a lieutenant leading the squad of peacekeepers, one is supposed to make a decision within a very short period of time. The lieutenant has to consider the lives of his squad as well as the lives of the civilians.

As a rational being, the lieutenant has to put in mind that his squad has been outnumbered and that the rebels have superior weapons. In addition, they have been besieged at a pointblank range. In essence, there is no room for combat. On the other hand, the lieutenant should bear in mind that those weapons will be used against the civilians.  The lieutenant as a squad leader of a peacekeeping troop must choose a course of action that is morally correct (In Olsthoorn, 2017). He should scan the available options and decide which one of the options is the best action to take. It is important to consider who would be harmed from the decision made. The decision made must be in line with concept of morality of peacekeeping troops. It is important to remember that peacekeeper should result to force as their last resort.

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As a lieutenant who is in a dilemma, I would have called my troop to surrender to the rebels due to the prevailing scenario. To start with, the troop has been outnumbered and besieged at a pointblank range by the militia. There is a very low probability that the troop would come out of the combat alive. Once the militia takes the weapons from the armory, then the troop can call for backup and go after the militia before they get to the civilians (Olsthoorn, 2017).

There are a number of theories that would make me come up with the decision of surrendering. In such a case I would subscribe to the school of consequentialism ethics. This is a theory that bases the rightness or wrongness of any action on its overall consequences (Levine, 2014). It is good to access the consequences of an action that the lieutenant takes. In this scenario, it is a case of instant death if they engage in exchange of fire or a case of probable postponed death in case they let them take the weapons and follow them later. I would prefer the later because following the former decision, the soldiers would end up dying and the weapons would still be seized. In essence, the lieutenant can prefer to save the lives of his soldiers. A live soldier can always live to fight another day.

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  1. Olsthoorn, P. H. (2017). Military ethics and leadership. New York, NY: Brill – Nijhoff.
  2. Levine, D. H. (2014). The morality of peacekeeping. Edinburgh: Edinburg Univ. Press.
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