2010 - 2011: War

We would think of the ethics of war too narrowly with only the questions of when war is justly initiated (jus ad bellum) and what sort of behavior is justifiable in war (jus in bello). Although these questions remain central and fundamental, the ethical issues surrounding the possibility of waging war proliferate beyond the reach of just war theory: Ethical problems remain after wars are finished and begin before their preparation. To name just a few of the disciplinary and interdisciplinary questions that might be explored:

  • Is war natural? Are there natural wars?
  • What is a metaphorical war, (e.g., war on poverty)?
  • What's the difference between war and politics?
  • What is the environmental significance of war?
  • How do economic and racial inequalities affect how we wage war?
  • Who should fight (or, perhaps, be allowed to fight) our wars?
  • How does war change medicine, and medicine change war?
  • Who bears responsibility for war?
  • What do we owe those who fight for us?
  • What is a war story?
  • Is the problem how we should remember wars, or how they can be forgotten (e.g., post-traumatic stress)?
  • How can we avoid war?

Campus Wide Teach-In, Thursday September 9, 2010

Our Annual Teach-In is a multi-disciplinary event in which the ethics of war is addressed by faculty across the whole curriculum. Faculty identify issues or questions of interest to them and give short presentations and lead discussions. Bringing disciplinary interests and expertise to bear on questions of the ethics of war, this event exemplifies the interdisciplinary emphasis of our ethics throughout the curriculum initiative.

  • "War as Philosophy-in-Action: Considering Clausewitz's Dictum That "War is Politics by Other Means," and Hence a 'Natural' Outgrowth of Human Striving" with James Thompson, Assistant Professor, Political Science
  • "Can Sports Stop a War? Looking into Sports Influence on Social Conflict" with Carl Capellas, Head Men's Soccer Coach and Intramural Co-Director
  • "Cowardice and Bravery in War Literature" with Jeff Swenson, Assistant Professor, English and Director of Writing Across the Curriculum
  • "Public Opposition to War: Its History, Consequences, and Morality" with Vivien Sandlund, Associate Professor, History and Director of Graduate Studies and Audrey Cunningham, Instructor, Communication
  • "Biological Warfare" with Cara Constance, Assistant Professor, Biology
  • "Pacific Disengagement: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Japan-US. Propaganda in World War II" with Christopher Dewell, Instructor, History
  • "Can Education Prevent War?" with Dawn Sonntag, Assistant Professor, Music
  • "Alfred Nobel: The Story of Explosives from Dynamite to Erectile Dysfunction" with Thomas Koehnle, Assistant Professor, Biology
  • "Metaphorical War: What Does It Mean to Declare War on a Social Problem?" with Jessica Olin, Information Literacy and Instruction Librarian and Cynthia Willis-Chun, Assistant Professor, Communication
  • "War: Saving Lives, Creating Disability" with Michael Blackie, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Humanities and Michelle Nario-Redmond, Assistant Professor, Psychology
  • "Children Soldiers: The Despicable and Unpardonable Way of Fighting a War." with Roger Cram, Director of Community Relations and Special Projects
  • "Conflicts Between Military and Professional Ethics: Discussion of Recent Cases in Medicine, Psychology, and Sociology" with the Ethics Bowl Club (Caroline Christoff '12, Corey Trusso '12, Colin Anderson, Associate Professor, Philosophy)
  • "They Hate our Freedom: Invoking External and Internal Threats" with Paul Gaffney, Assistant Professor, English

Opening Convocation: Going to War - Friday September 17, 2010

Participants: Louis Fisher, Shannon French, John Koritansky

In our opening convocation and marking of Constitution Day, we examine ethical constitutional, and political questions that surround when and how we go to war.

Louis Fisher is the senior specialist in separation of powers at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. He has written numerous books on questions surrounding the separation of powers and constitutional questions surrounding executive power and war, including military tribunals and the 'war on terror.' He is the author of more than 300 articles and has taught at many schools including Georgetown University, American University, Catholic University, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, and the College of William and Mary law school.

Shannon French is the Director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University.

John Koritansky is professor of Political Science and Director of the Garfield Institute of Public Leadership at Hiram College.

At War: Tim O'Brien - October 6, 2010

Participants: Author of "The Things They Carried," Tim O'Brien

Author of The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien lectures twice to Hiram's campus and the surrounding community as part of the Big Read.  This event is co-sponsored by The Big Read, the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature, and the Center for Engaged Ethics.

Tim O'Brien is from small town Minnesota. He was born in Austin on October 1, 1946, a birth date he shares with several of his characters , and grew up in Worthington, "Turkey Capital of the World."  He matriculated at Macalester College. Graduation in 1968 found him with a BA in political science and a draft notice. O'Brien was against the war, but reported for service and was sent to Vietnam with what has been called the "unlucky" Americal division due to its involvement in the My Lai massacre in 1968, an event which figures prominently in In the Lake of the Woods.. He was assigned to 3rd Platoon, A Co., 5th Batt. 46th Inf., as an infantry foot soldier. O'Brien's tour of duty was 1969-70.

After Vietnam he became a graduate student at Harvard. No doubt he was one of very few Vietnam veterans there at that time, much less Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) holders. Having the opportunity to do an internship at the Washington Post, he eventually left Harvard to become a newspaper reporter. O'Brien's career as a reporter gave way to his fiction writing after publication of his memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Send Me Home. Tim O'Brien is now a visiting professor and endowed chair at Southwest Texas State University where he teaches in the Creative Writing Program. He is on the advisory board for The Ridenhour Prizes. O'Brien's archive is held by the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas.

After War - November 11, 2010

Participants: Dr. John P. Wilson and Jason Gatliff

This event is a panel discussion about post traumatic stress disorder with Dr. John P. Wilson and Jason Gatliff.

Jason Gatliff is the Integrated Ethics Program Officer at the Cleveland Louis Stokes VA Medical Center and Director of Ethics Consultation at Case Western Reserve University's Center for Biomedical Ethics at Metro Health Medical Center where he serves as a clinical ethicist. He received a B.A. in philosophy and a M.A. in history from Boise State University, a M.A. in philosophy from Texas A & M and a M.A. and PhD in Applied Philosophy from Bowling Green State University. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics and has served as the William Lyon's Chair in Professional Ethics at the United States Air Force Academy. Dr. Gatliff has served over eighteen years in active and reserve components of the military, including four years in the USAF as a military working dog handler. His areas of specialization are military and medical ethics and currently his research focus includes the reintegration of military members into civilian life and the influence of the military culture on the expectations and experiences of patients in the VA health care system.

Dr. John P. Wilson is an internationally recognized expert in the field of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).   Dr. Wilson is a founding member and past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). Dr. Wilson is the author of eight books and over 20 monographs on traumatic stress syndromes. Research and clinical work developed by Dr. Wilson have led to consultations with the U.S. Army and Navy, Department of Veteran Affairs, The White House, U.S. House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs, National Institute of Mental Health, National Science Foundation, Commonwealth of Australia, American Psychiatric Association, American Red Cross and The World Health Organization, where he developed mental health programs during the war in Bosnia in 1994 and 1995. Dr. Wilson has lectured in the U.S. and abroad on the effects of trauma.  Dr. Wilson is a Diplomate of The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and the Academy is privileged to have him serve on the Board of Scientific & Professional Advisors.

The Tom and Betty Niccolls First Year Essay Contest - Spring Semester 2011

Guest Judge: Connie Schultz, Columnist for the Plain Dealer

The Tom and Betty Niccolls First Year Essay Contest began in the spring of 2009, offering a monetary prize to the best first year essays about the ethics theme of the year.

Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for The Plain Dealer and Creators Syndicate. She won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for what the judges called her "pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and the underprivileged." It is a common theme in her work.  In addition to winning the Pulitzer in 2005, Schultz won the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award for Commentary and the National Headliner Award for Commentary. She was a 2003 Pulitzer Prize finalist in feature writing for her series, "The Burden of Innocence," which chronicled the ordeal of Michael Green, who was imprisoned for 13 years for a rape he did not commit. The week after her series ran, the real rapist turned himself in after reading her stories. He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence. Schultz's series won numerous honors, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Social Justice Reporting, the National Headliner Award's Best of Show and journalism awards from Harvard and Columbia universities.  In 2004, Schultz won the Batten Medal, which honors "a body of journalistic work that reflects compassion, courage, humanity and a deep concern for the underdog." In 2005, she was elected to the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame.  Schultz's first book, Life Happens - And Other Unavoidable Truths, was published by Random House in 2006. Her second book for Random House, ...And His Lovely Wife, is a memoir about her husband Sherrod Brown's successful race for the U.S. Senate. It was published in 2007.

The Future of War - March 28 - 29, 2011

Participants: Dr. George Lucas

Dr. George Lucas is Class of 1984 Distinguished Chair in Ethics in the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis), and Professor of Ethics and Public Policy at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA). A Summa cum Laude graduate in Physics from the College of William and Mary, he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and received the Sigma Xi Research Award in 1971 for his work in intermediate energy particle physics, published in The Physical Review (1973). Professor Lucas received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Northwestern University in 1978. Lucas is the author of five books, more than forty journal articles, translations, and book reviews, and has also edited eight book-length collections of articles in philosophy and ethics. Dr. Lucas is also co-editor (with Capt. Rick Rubel, U.S. Navy, retired) of the textbook, Ethics and the Military Profession: the Moral Foundations of Leadership, and a companion volume, Case Studies in Military Ethics, both published by Pearson Education (New York, 2004).

Beyond War - May 4, 2011

Participants: Rabbi Ben Kamin, Joseph A. Adler, and Michael T. Snarr

Rabbi Ben Kamin is a nationally-known clergyman, teacher, counselor, and the author of seven books on human values, civil rights, and spirituality. He has led congregations in Toronto, New York, Cleveland, and San Diego since his ordination in 1978. He has published hundreds of articles about community life in newspapers around the world. He appears frequently on radio and television and serves on several national boards dealing with community affairs and interfaith relations. He is married to Audrey Kamin, a financial professional and community activist; they live in Del Mar, Ca., and share four children. Rabbi Kamin holds the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College. In 2004, Audrey and Ben co-founded Reconciliation: The Synagogue Without Walls, a privately-operated consulting agency for interfaith relations, pastoral and communal. Ben represents the agency as a director of San Diego's Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.

Joseph A. Adler of Kenyon College (B.A., University of Rochester; M.A., Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara) has taught East Asian religions at Kenyon since 1987. His field of research is Neo-Confucian religious thought in China, and he is currently working on two of the seminal figures of that movement, Zhou Dunyi (11th century) and Zhu Xi (12th century). He is the author of Chinese Religious Traditions; translator of Introduction to the Study of the Classic of Change, by Chu Hsi; co-author of Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching; and contributor to Confucianism and Ecology, Sources of Chinese Tradition (2nd. ed.), Confucian Spirituality (vol. 2), New Qing Imperial History, The Encyclopedia of Religion (2nd ed.), and Teaching Confucianism. In 2008 he became Professor of Asian Studies, and he currently is Director of the Asian Studies Program.

Michael T. Snarr is associate professor of social and political studies at Wilmington College. He is knowledgeable about current Quaker work to end war through groups such as the Friends Committee on National Legislation and the Christian Peacemaker Teams. He is a life-long Quaker, familiar with the background on the Quaker attitude about war and conscientious objectors.

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