The Ethics of Military Deception
Master's thesis 5 Aug 97-5 June 98
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Military deception is institutionalized as a practice in warfare to the same extent that warfare is institutionalized as a social practice among the community of nations. However, throughout the philosophical history of the West and except for the context of warfare, there has existed a strong moral presumption against, if not outright proscription of, virtually all forms of deception in human affairs. While, in almost every context of social intercourse, one would be held morally blameworthy for deceiving another, certain military deceptions perpetrated in wartime traditionally are heralded as examples of great military cunning and skill--hardly attributes to be regarded as morally blameworthy at all. The purpose of this study is to define exactly what is meant and not meant by military deception, to trace the history of the ethical issues raised concerning it over the past two millennia as evidenced in the writings of principal contributors to the just war tradition, to propose an ethical account for military deception as a morally acceptable practice in war, and to identify the residual issues that the proposed account leaves less than completely resolved.
- Sociology and Law
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics