Ethics for the CEO

Most of us who have worn a uniform like to think of ourselves as pretty ethical people. And for the most part, we are. But we’re not perfect, either.

Of course, most people that haven’t worn the uniform like to think of themselves as pretty ethical people.

USA Today had a fascinating  article about a program at the Marine Corps Base Quantico where students from civilian institutions are invited to a three day course. Under stress and confusion, do you make the ethical choice?

First, watch the video. It’s brief but informative. Then read the article. 

3 thoughts on “Ethics for the CEO”

  1. The takeaway at the end probably DOES surprise civilians. So often when talking with folks who had no experience with the military, I would say something outside of their expectation and they’d be shocked because “aren’t you in the Army?” I’d point out that they don’t make us share a hive mind, and they’d acknowledge, ‘no, of course not.’ But it didn’t OCCUR to them until I said it. People build up this image in their head of ‘what soldiers are like’ and don’t ever consider that solders are still just people. These business types are shocked that individual Marines CAN question orders because they think ‘Marines follow orders.’

    Case in point, one of my civilian friends posted something on his FB about “would soldiers fire on US civilians if ordered to.” And I threw back, “that answer depends on what they’re doing. Are they placing IEDs? Are they attacking other civilians? Or are you asking if they’d fire on US civilians who were just engaging in their civil rights if the POTUS ordered it?” Of course, it was the latter, and I patiently explained the concept of illegal orders. But he rejoined with “do you underestimate the stupidity of people to justify opening fire?”

    So then I explained that in his hypothetical that command would come through the POTUS, down the chain of command, and that for the LT at the bottom to issue that order (forget about the reaction of the enlisted men to that order), not ONE of the officers in that CoC would have objected to it, stopped it, or even arrested the issuing officer. Then he admitted that yeah, maybe it wouldn’t happen. The assumption is “soldiers follow orders”. And everything most civilians see in media and fiction back up that assumption. It’s why they can believe that the military assassinated Kennedy, or blew up TWA Flight 800, or (recently) shot up Sandy Hook. Because they assume solders are mindless robots who follow orders without question.

    1. Sorry if I was unclear. There was a stupid conspiracy theory that the US Navy shot down TWA Flight 800. The fact that people were stupid enough to believe that you could keep an entire ship’s worth of sailors from talking about either intentionally or accidentally shooting down a passenger aircraft from New York harbor is only incredible if you discount the fact that these morons think that the Navy (like the other services) unquestioningly follow orders. Just like the idiots who believe that “special ops soldiers” shot up Sandy Hook.

      I am not one of them.

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