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Leadership - Essay Example

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There are definitely several tough decisions he might have to take but he should never forget his morals and ethics. The three ways a commander can ensure a proper ethical environment is…
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Ethical Leadership during War A commander is required to maintain an ethical environment throughout the war period. There are definitely several tough decisions he might have to take but he should never forget his morals and ethics. The three ways a commander can ensure a proper ethical environment is through living ethically, teaching ethics to others, and keeping up the ethical standards of his unit.
The first factor, that of living ethically, is easily visible through the commander’s attitude. Talking about Lt Col Nathan Sassaman, he was termed to be an extremely aggressive commander, in fact the most aggressive one in Iraq. He wanted to get done with the enemy through killings and to put down anyone who resisted him. When he had this on his mind he did not have any regard even for the second and third orders of effect. For instance, the case study “Fall of the Warrior King” relates that Sassaman closed down the entire city of Abu Hishma by sealing it off with barbed wire. No person was allowed to enter or leave the city without showing the identification card which had been provided by his unit to the entire city population. This cannot be termed as an ethical act. It only paved inconveniences for the city people and they hated the Americans even more. Sassaman ended up making more enemies but he did not care about it, which was wrong.
While a commander should live ethically so that his unit sees and follows his actions, he should not hesitate to teach ethics to his subordinates. He should continue this during a war as well because that helps with keeping him in the game and to prevent desensitization towards any dubious acts. Sassaman, however, does not fit the description of such a commander. After SSG Dale Panchot was killed due to an RPG, and when a company commander also died, Sassaman got hyper. He could not tolerate any misbehavior on the part of the soldiers under him. He cared for his men and probably wished to avenge the two deaths by making people pay for it. However, this is not how things work. The commander should have taught ethics. If so, Sassaman would have been able to actually pay attention to the ongoing game and maintain an ethical environment.
The chaplain could also have talked to the commander and helped him stay calm. While giving any kind of an advice to an aggressive commander like Sassaman is pretty difficult it is not exactly impossible. In any case, the chaplain was supposed to help out the commander. It is, however, not known whether he did that or not, so the blame cannot be placed upon him. But the commander is just a human and the chaplain and the staff should be concerned with taking care of him and even assisting him with maintaining a proper ethical environment.
Sassaman did not act ethically during this war and was unfair to the Iraqis. He should not be proud of the way he or his men acted. Probably these men might be wishing to go back in time and change the way they behaved. This, the importance of living ethically cannot be understated. Lack of ethics may make one do things that he would forever regret.
Reference
Filkins, D. (2005, October 23). The Fall of the Warrior King. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from The NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/magazine/23sassaman.html?pagewanted=all Read More
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