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Canadian Military Journal

Is Battlefield Mercy Killing Morally Justifiable?

Peter Bradley
Peter Bradley
Abstract :

On 19 July 2010, Captain Robert Semrau was convicted of ‘disgraceful conduct’ by a military court martial for shooting a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan on 19 October 2008, in what the media characterized as a ‘battlefield mercy killing.’ In addition to bringing this obscure topic into the spotlight, media reports revealed that Canadians held a range of views on the ethics of this issue, indicating just how important ethics education is for the military. The Canadian Forces (CF) provides ethics training to its personnel in various forms, from unit-level training for junior members to university classes in ethics for officers and noncommissioned members. During these classes, military personnel learn how to analyze ethically charged problems like mercy killing. This article will draw on the three major decision-making frameworks covered in this training to argue that battlefield mercy killing is not morally justifiable.

Keywords :
Is Battlefield Mercy Killing Morally Justifiable

Date Deposited : 08 Apr 2015 10:35

Last Modified : 08 Apr 2015 10:35

Official URL:

Volume 11, Number 1, - 2011

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