Morals under the Gun: The Cardinal Virtues, Military Ethics, and American Society

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Overview

James Toner argues that the cardinal virtues are and must be the core values of the military. By embracing these values, the profession of arms serves as a moral compass in an increasingly confusing age. Building upon a bold introduction, which includes what many will regard as a surprising view of military ethics, Toner examines the four cardinal virtues -- wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice -- and places each in the context of a compelling case study from recent U.S. military history. He discusses the Flinn Case, the Lavelle Affair, a B-52 crash in Washington State, and the courageous actions of Hugh Thompson after My Lai. Morals Under the Gun connects ethics and moral theology with the armed services, demonstrating that the task of preserving virtue, both personal and professional, is a noble, if imperfectible, task.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A call to arms to make the understanding of the profession of arms understood in our country." -- Books-On-Line

"Makes the case that the cardinal virtues are what delineate the ethic of a soldier from the judiciousness of civilian ethical maxims." -- Seapower

"Virginia Quarterly Review Devoted to establishing the relevance of this well-timed and well-meaning advice.... Topical, instructive, and thought-provoking." -- USI Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813191355
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 0.53 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The necessary immorality of the military profession 1
2 A new beginning 13
3 Morals under the gun 29
4 Moral reasoning and the cardinal virtues 47
5 Prudence and the profession of arms 59
6 Justice and the profession of arms 76
Interlude : Obiter Dicta 94
7 Courage and the profession of arms 109
8 Temperance and the profession of arms 125
9 Character and the profession of arms 143
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