Free Ethical Dilemmas In The Military Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Ethics, People, Military, Dilemma, Ethical Dilemma, Religion, Morality, War

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/10/24

Ethical Dilemmas

Ethical Dilemmas are defined as a difficult situation in which you have to make a choice about a situation that can prove challenging because of two different outcomes that can be equally challenging (dictionary, 2015). Military personnel are expected to uphold both ethical and moral values and this is one of their core qualities of requirement. One example of an ethical dilemma in the military is when a person is faced about a choice concerning religion and work. The soldier’s ideas of religion can present a huge conflict when faced with adversity causing them to be caught in a situation where he/she faces an ethical dilemma. To more clearly define this example if a soldier is faced with an opportunity in their position of power to promote their own religion. In the military one’s personal religion is respected however it is considered unethical to use your powerful position to promote that religion within the work field (Greenslit, 2015). Often time’s ethical dilemmas are caused because two opposing views of the situation merit equal attention as they are equally correct. In the case of religious ethical dilemmas one view point could be that the person promoting their religion is only doing so because in their eyes this is the correct thing to do morally as their religion says that they should be saving other people by converting them. However the other side may feel like this is a direct violation of their religion and that this effort is unfair toward their own personal beliefs. Both of these people have an equal leg in the fight because to both of these people although there opinions differ they are doing the right thing.

Different Situations

Fraternization among soldiers can pose very challenging ethical dilemmas and is strictly forbidden in any branch of the military and it is especially challenging when the soldiers are of different ranks. Ranks are considered the position of power that an individual holds making him/her superior to lower ranks. When different ranks decide to commingle it can cause quite a stir as some people feel like unfair treatment will be issued to the lower ranking people as a result. There is some lenience awarded like if a person is married to an upper ranking officer than they cannot work in the same section of the military so that the superior ranking officer is not directly in charge of the lower ranking individual. The definition of fraternization among ranks in the army is “Any relationship which diminishes or predictably will diminish the ability of the senior member to influence a subordinate (junior) through the exercise of leadership or command is an unacceptable relationship in military service”(Army, 2015) . The best example for hypothetical purposes is if a master sergeant begins a relationship with someone who is a lower rank. If this person is in this situation others will feel they are being treated differently because of the existing relationship. This could be special treatment and advancements or the treatment could be harsher, since the relationship is happening it is difficult to determine if the right choices are being made creating an ethical dilemma in the workplace.
Don't ask don't tell or DADT policy is in place to protect people in the military that identify as gay or bisexual. This allows gay people in the military to conduct their business as usual without fear of repercussions from people who are not comfortable with it. Many critics feel that this policy is not necessary because there is no real proof that people in the military would react negatively. However the implications could make a person very uncomfortable whether it is the person who is homosexual or the people around them. This could create an ethical dilemma because people that are homosexual may not want to identify this with everyone however someone may suspect that they are and feels like they deserve to know. Don't ask don't tell creates a safe environment in hopes that there military members will not be faced with this situation (Frank, 2012).
The usage of drones can cause an ethical and moral dilemma for many people. Drones are unmanned flying aircraft usually used to investigate an area without putting any personnel in harm’s way. This can cause some issues because people feel that it is an unfair advantage and puts war into a category where people do not have to think twice about their decisions because seeing everything from a remote view makes warfare more like a video game than reality. The real ethical dilemma comes when it has to be decided if drones should be used to kill people. The two sides are equal as far as a decision goes since it would save lives to use drones instead of putting men in challenging situations where their lives are at risk. However opposing views feel like this is an unfair advantage that takes away from the reality that ever person’s life is important and this is not a game it is reality (Foust, 2012).
Snipers have the ability to make a kill from a great distance with little to no detection depending on how well they do their job. An ethical dilemma arises each and every time that a sniper has to pull the trigger. He/she is faced with the moral decision and reality of whether they are making the right or wrong decision. For example if a sniper is faced with shooting a child who is armed in a war zone it can be difficult to determine if the child is hostile or in the wrong place at the wrong time. The child could have wandered in, or been trained to kill the soldiers comrades. The ethical dilemma happens when the sniper has to decide to kill or not to kill the armed child (author, 2013).
Last but not least water boarding is a much debated tactic that has been used in some situations as a means of torturing the enemy into releasing valuable information. When these techniques have been used some psychological professionals have had a difficult time complying as it created many ethical dilemmas for them. It is difficult to decide if this technique is helpful or just plain torture which made complying with the CIA's orders to water board the subjects very difficult for health professionals who are usually in there line of work to protect people not to harm them. Ethically this puts psychologists in the position to use their knowledge for harm and the use they intended was for the good of all people.


In conclusion ethical dilemmas are a major concern for all different branches of the military and different situations leave military members facing ethical and moral values every day. With a promise to uphold ethical and moral values that is made by all military personnel it can create quite a challenge when faced with situations that are difficult like deciding who to kill and if torture is a means of extracting information that is acceptable (Braun, 2015) . Military members are constantly facing some type of ethical dilemma whether it is concerning water boarding, choices as a sniper, DADT, concerns when using drones or something else the members of the armed forces are expected to uphold there moral and ethical values while doing their job to the best of their capabilities.


• Army, D. (2015). Reltaionships between soldiers of different (1st ed., pp. 1-3). Army. Retrieved from
• author, a. (2013). Facilitating Professional Character Development Using Stories, Vignettes and Case Studies (1st ed., pp. 9-11). Retrieved from
• Braun, S. (2015). CIA medics monitored brutal interrogation tactics. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 1 February 2015, from
• dictionary, A. (2015). Dilemma - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Retrieved 1 February 2015, from
• Foust, J. (2012). More Than Just Drones: The Moral Dilemma of Covert Warfare. The Atlantic. Retrieved 1 February 2015, from
• Frank, N. (2012). The last word on dont ask dont tell (1st ed., p. 1). The slate group. Retrieved from
• Greenslit, L. (2015). RELIGION AND THE MILITARY: A GROWING ETHICAL DILEMMA (1st ed., pp. 1-5). Dr. David Perry. Retrieved from

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