Capt. Rick Rubel, USN-Ret., distinguished Professor of Ethics at the U.S. Naval Academy, offers an ethics thought experiment on "leave no one behind." What - and whom - does a commander risk in order "to bring home one wounded servicemember or a body?"
This becomes one of the most difficult moral decisions of command — losing an unknown number of lives to uphold the important code, "Leave no one behind."There are many cognates outside the military, too. The basic premise is not much different related to the Israelis' dilemma to get the remains of two Israeli army reservists, killed by Hezbollah terrorists in 2006, " their bodies being grabbed for the purpose of bargaining," as co-author Daniel Jackson reported from Israel yesterday.
This case is a peacetime scenario — which probably occurs more frequently than the wartime scenario and has the exact same moral decision at its core.
Read the professor's scenario and ponder the very tough, and extremely short-term, decision-making that faces commanders in battle, or others in crisis.