Friday, June 11, 2010
As a general rule, it's usually better to try to do a good thing imperfectly than not to try at all. Here, Dick Couch, a former SEAL, explains why the military should give more training in moral decision-making to front-line troops, and particularly to special forces personnel. Sounds good, but moral decision-making entails a lot more than merely following a set of rules -- and it's still not entirely clear to me how one makes a soldier a capable moral agent. In any case, Dick is pursuing a worthwhile goal.
Take this one as a snapshot of current moral thinking among military officers. How representative it is, I just don't know.
Dick had quite a distinguished career as a Vietnam era SEAL, including leading a team that rescued some POWs from the North Vietnamese -- one of the very few such attempts that succeeded. Subsequently, he's authored quite a few books, both fiction and non-fiction, has taught at the Naval Academy, and has lectured widely.
As always, if you like this one please feel free to forward the link.
PS I'm having one of my iron-overload episodes this morning, so I may sound slightly funky in my intro and exit comments, recorded moments before the worst of it hit.