Archive for February 25th, 2019

Military Ethics and Codes of Conduct – Traditional versus “New Age”

February 25, 2019

MILITARY ETHICS AND CODES OF CONDUCT – THEN AND NOW

Here is an article I had written 9 years ago – in the year 2010.

I am posting it once more.

Dear Reader:

Please tell me – isn’s it relevant even today…?

MILITARY ETHOS AND VALUE SYSTEM  THEN AND NOW

Ramblings of a Veteran By Vikram Karve  

MILITARY CODES OF CONDUCT  OUTDATED versus MODERN

Change in inevitable.

Everything changes with time.

Even Ethics and Moral Values change with time.

Let us have a look at the changes in Military Ethics and Codes of Conduct.

Long back – the Military (Army, Navy, Air Force) had rather Utopian and Idealistic Codes of Conduct – like – for example – a Cadet’s Code of Conduct.

CADET’S CODE OF CONDUCT

OUTDATED CODE OF CONDUCT (Utopian and Idealistic)

A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do 

MODERN CODE OF CONDUCT (Practical and Materialistic) 

A cadet may lie, cheat, steal – but he will not get caught doing so

If a cadet sees others lying, cheating or stealing – he will turn a blind eye since it is none of his business

It is this Modern Cadet’s Code of Conduct that produces “Smart” Officers rather than straighforward simpletons.

 

THE NEW-AGE “SMART” MILITARY OFFICER

In today’s world – a simple person who is sincere, honest and hardworking and obeys rules is dubbed as a “stupid nincompoop”.

On the other hand – a person who achieves “success” – even if he does unethical things – takes short-cuts – or breaks rules/regulations – but – he does not get caught – he is called “SMART”.

The essence of “Modern Ethics” is:

DO NOT GET CAUGHT

Yes – it is the “in thing” to do doing immoral, illegal and unethical things to achieve “success” at any cost – as long as you are “smart” enough not to get caught.

On the other hand – being honest, straightforward and upright is considered foolish and old-fashioned.

Unfortunately – this seems true in the military as well.

These “modern” flexible moral values – and “new age” military ethos – they seem to have been imbibed by many new age “smart” officers – during training as a cadet – as a junior officer – and later as a senior officer – as is evident from the increasing number of scams and scandals in the defence services being reported by the media.

ETHICS IN UNIFORM – TRADITIONAL MILITARY CODES OF CONDUCT 

A few years ago – while clearing my bookcase – I came across a booklet about various aspects of Naval Life – which we were probably given when I joined the Naval Academy way back in the 1970’s.

In this booklet there was a quote by John Paul Jones – CODE OF A NAVAL OFFICER.

These words made a lasting impression on me – and I tried to imbibe and follow the spirit of the code in my career and personal life.

John Paul Jones – often called the Father of the American Navy – helped establish the traditions of courage and professionalism.

He is remembered for his indomitable will – his unwillingness to consider surrender when the slightest hope of victory still burned – and for promoting professional standards and training throughout his naval career.

Let us have a look at his Code of Naval Ethics:

CODE OF A NAVAL OFFICER

Written by John Paul Jones

“It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner.

He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more.

He should be, as well, a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.

He should not only be able to express himself clearly and with force in his own language both with tongue and pen – but he should be versed in French and Spanish as well.

(Own language obviously means English, which is relevant even today as English is the universal language of officers and the reference to French and Spanish probably pertains to languages of the crew of those days and in today’s context may refer to the languages or mother tongues of ship crew).

He should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness, and charity.

No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without its reward – even if the reward is only a word of approval.

Conversely – he should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate – though at the same time – he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetence, and well-meant shortcoming from heedless or stupid blunder.

As he should be universal and impartial in his rewards and approval of merit – so he should be judicial and unbending in his punishment or reproof of misconduct.

In one word – every commander should keep constantly before him this great truth – that to be well obeyed – he must be perfectly esteemed…”

 

UNITED STATES MILITARY CODES OF CONDUCT 

Compare the Code of a Naval Officer with the United States Military Academy West Point Cadet Honor Code which simply states:

A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do

Both the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy have adopted this Cadet Honor Code as a formalized statement of the “minimum standard of ethics” expected of cadets.

In contrast – the United States Naval Academy Annapolis has a related standard – known as the Honor Concept.

Unlike the honor codes in other service academies – the “Honor Concept” allows a midshipman to confront someone committing an honor violation without formally reporting it.

At the other military academies – failure to formally report an honor violation is construed as tolerating it – which is itself a violation of the code.

At the US Naval Academy – the penalties for violating the “Honor Concept” can be severe – including expulsion from the Academy.

United States Naval Academy Honor Concept

Midshipmen are persons of integrity: We stand for that which is right.

We tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known. We do not lie.

We embrace fairness in all actions. We ensure that work submitted as their own is their own, and that assistance received from any source is authorized and properly documented. We do not cheat.

We respect the property of others and ensure that others are able to benefit from the use of their own property. We do not steal.

 

CODES OF CONDUCT IN INDIAN ARMED FORCES

SERVICE BEFORE SELF – or – SELF BEFORE SERVICE…?

In India we have the Motto of the National Defence Academy (NDA) Pune:

Service Before Self 

and the Chetwode Credo of the the Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun:

The safety, honour and welfare of your country comes first, always and every time.
The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.
Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.

If you are a “fauji” or a veteran – do tell us whether military officers do indeed follow these codes of conduct in actual practice.

Or – has Military Ethics turned topsy-turvy…?

For “smart” military officers – are these the “New Age” mottos/credos:

“Self Before Service” 

and

“My own ease, comfort and safety come first, always and every time”

 

DO WE NEED AN ETHICAL AND MORAL MILITARY ETHOS AND VALUE SYSTEM…?

I feel that every organisation and institution, civilian and military, needs a “code of ethics” or a “code of conduct”.

The “code of ethics” must be stated briefly in simple language – the code of conduct easily understood, realistic, practical and implementable.

Do you agree…?

Or – do feel that concepts like Ethics, Morals, Values and Codes of Conduct are outdated and irrelevant in today’s liberalised environment – where it is prudent to be “ethical chameleon” – and “moral flexibility” is the key to career success…?

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

  1. These are my personal views based on my observations. The reality may be different. This is just food for thought and should be taken in the right positive spirit with a view to improvement.
  2. This post is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  3. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/07/military-ethics-then-and-now.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Revised Version of Article Written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2010 and First Posted by me Vikram Karve in this blog on 02 Jan 2011 at 1/02/2011 12:53:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/01/code-of-naval-officer.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/10/code-of-naval-officer-military-codes-of.html  and  https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/03/code-of-conduct-outdated-versus-modern.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/code-of-conduct-and-ethics-an-article-from-academic-and-creative-writing-journal-vikram-karve/ and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/01/what-is-ethics-part-2-codes-of-conduct.html  and https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/12/military-ethics-and-code-of-conduct.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/07/ethics-in-uniform-new-age-smart.html  and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/military-ethics-and-codes-of-conduct/  and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/military-ethics-and-codes-of-conduct/  etc

Two Old War Veterans – Tête-à-Tête

February 25, 2019

Two old men – in their 70’s – they sit in the transit area of a famous international airport – waiting for their connecting flights.

The two old men look at each other. 

They notice that they have something in common.

Both of them have artificial limbs – prosthetic legs. 

Dear Reader – Read On – A tête-à-tête between two old War Veterans…

Tête-à-Tête between Two Old War Veterans  

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve 

Two old men – in their 70’s – they sit in the transit area of a famous international airport – waiting for their connecting flights.

The two old men look at each other.

They notice that both of them have artificial limbs – prosthetic legs.

“How did you lose your leg…?” one old man asks the other old man.

“In war…” the other old man says.

“Oh – in war – I too lost my leg in war…”

“Really…? So – like me – you too are a “war veteran”…”

“Yes…”

“In which war did you lose your leg…?”

“Long ago – in the “Battle of Two Peaks”…”

“What…? Believe it or not – but – I too lost my leg in the “Battle of Two Peaks”…”

“What a coincidence…!!!”

“Yes…”

“But – how come I don’t know you…? I know almost everyone who was there…”

“Maybe – we were fighting on opposite sides…”

“Oh. Are you from “XXX” Army…?”

“Yes – I was in “XXX” Army – in that war – we were enemies – our countries were adversaries…”

“But now – our countries have a friendly relationship…”

“Yes – foes became friends – but – we lost our legs…”

“Politicians play jingoistic games – but – it is soldiers who lose their life and limb…”

“Yes – like we lost our limbs…”

“Luckily – we didn’t lose our lives…”

“Yes – it was terrible – the “Battle of Two Peaks” – a bloody battle…”

“We lost more than 100 men – while capturing “Yellow Peak” – from you…”

“We too had heavy casualties – while capturing “Green Peak” – from you…”

“It all went waste…”

“Yes – immediately after we had captured each other’s peaks – there was a sudden ceasefire announcement from both sides – an armistice…”

“And then – hostilities between our countries ended – and – the war was over…”

“Then – politicians and diplomats sat across the negotiating table – and they agreed to return each other’s captured territories…”

“So – we returned “Yellow Peak” back to you…”

“And – we returned “Green Peak” back to you…”

“Everything was back to normal after the war was over – status quo ante – except for one thing – the soldiers who got killed fighting in the war – the dead soldiers – they did not come back to life…”

“Yes – the dead soldiers did not come back to life…”

“And – we lost our legs…”

“Yes – we became “disabled” for life…”

“Maybe – it was you who planted the landmine which blew up my leg to smithereens…”

“And maybe – it was you who fired the shell whose shrapnel shattered my leg…”

“Ha Ha Ha – what an irony – we soldiers destroyed each other. And – those wily politicians who made us destroy each other – they remained safe and sound…”

“Yes. Politicians start wars – but – politicians don’t die in wars. It is soldiers who die in wars – or get wounded and disabled for life – like us…”

“It’s one hour to my flight. I think I will get moving – and – I will hobble along to the boarding gate. It’s a long walk…”

“Where are you going…?”

“San Francisco – my son has settled down there…”

“I am going to Melbourne – my daughter lives there…”

“I still have trouble while walking. What about you…?”

“Yes – I too have lot’s of trouble while walking. After all – how can an artificial leg be as good as a real leg…?”

“Every time I walk – with each painful step – I remember the “Battle of Two Peaks”…”

“Me too. Every step is so painful that it evokes traumatic memories of that terrible battle…”

“In hindsight – it was a futile battle…”

“Yes. We fought bravely on the battlefield – but the unscrupulous politicians claimed all the glory for victory in the war…”

“And then – in an act of “statesmanship” – the crafty politicians returned the captured peaks to each other…”

“The politicians – of both our countries – they usurped the credit for “victory” – and – they became “statesmen”…”

“Yes – the politicians gained from the war…”

“But – we patriotic soldiers lost our legs – and we became disabled forever…”

“For politicians – the war was a “win-win” situation…”

“But – for soldiers – a war is always a “lose-lose” situation…”

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/08/war-veterans-tete-tete.html

revised and reposted at urls: https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/a-tete-a-tete-between-two-war-veterans/

and https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/two-old-soldiers/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/a-conversation-between-two-old-war-veterans/

To Obey or to Disobey

February 25, 2019

Essay by Erich Fromm on Disobedience

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http://eqi.org/erich_fromm_on_disobedience.htm

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To Obey or To Disobey

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