Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some ethics questions from the news

Woah. Intersting. I wonder what ethicists will have to say about self-guided bullets.

Another question: Should medivac helicopters be armed?

What is the best military-wide response to ethics/war crimes/LOAC violations? Can Neuroscience shed light on the situation? (I'm not too sure.)

And speaking of neuroscience, what ethical strictures and oversight is needed over the military's use of neuroscience? How about when DARPA tests a way to zap a brain into quickly train snipers.

(Continuing from this post) I assume that the question of the ethics of remote killing via drone and other devices will not go away, though it is already being discussed and I think that there are anthologies coming out discussing this too. See herehere, here, and here for the issue in the news. And while we are on the topic, there are plenty of robots in use in militaries. See here for example.

UPDATE: Apparently there is a whole mailing list dedicated to drones. Also, it looks like the question about arming MEDIVAC helicopters is seriously being considered.


  1. MEDEVAC should -ABSOLUTELY- be armed- for self defense purposes only. I am not implying that they should be given M240B/Gs, however there can be argued the case that MOS 68W "Combat Medic" and to a lesser extent MOS 56M "Chaplain Assistant" are allowed to arm themselves for defensive purposes. Even some civilian law enforcement agencies who have SWAT-medics are allowed to arm themselves. Then why not allow a military medical aid resource be allowed to arm? This is not implying that they would be allowed for a fire/maneuver asset to close with the enemy.

  2. I think that the US army is designed to fight other armies who we have to assume abide by the various military ethics conventions. In cases like that, where there is agreement that the two sides will not fire on medical or religious personnel, it strikes me as unethical to violate the treaties. However, lately we have been fighting people who we assume have little respect for the treaty and see a big red cross as a bulls-eye. That, I suppose where the question comes in. But that answer opens a rather large can of worms about asymmetrical warfare in general.