Case Study: Identification

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Identification

You have been given a central ethical issue to use throughout the paper ?"What should General Barry Norman do about Afghanistan's poppy plants?

In this section you must identify (list) as many OTHER ethical issues, questions, or problems as you can find in the scenario. All issue should be in question form (Should….. Or Is it morally right to… )

Is it morally right to invade another country like Afghanistan?

Is it morally right to change the agricultural environment of another country?

Is it morally right to let drugs out on the open market?

Is it morally right to use mycoherbicides?

Is it morally right to take away the Afghan farmers' revenue and livelihood?

Is doing a drug morally wrong?

In one full paragraph ( 7-9 sentences minimum). Discuss why you agree with or disagree with our choice of central ethical issue as compared to the other ethical issues you have listed. Use details and examples to explain your response. (Do not attempt to answer or resolve these issues at this time save that for the Decision Making section).

I agree with the choice of the central ethical issue because it poses more than just one central moral question. It also is a scenario where if nothing is done, there could be negative consequences. Also, if something is done, and the plants are destroyed or treated, there are also other negative consequences. All of the potential positive outcomes have negative consequences associated with them. General Norman's own opinion regarding the central issue is biased by his own goals and mission in Afghanistan as a soldier. The central assumption he operates under is that drugs and the Taliban are bad, and that all other potential negative consequences of his actions are not as bad, in total, as Taliban rule and drug use.

2. Research

Gather information relevant to the central ethical issue - What should General Barry Norman do about Afghanistan's poppy plants?. Use outside sources to gain a better understanding of the issue and potential solutions. Explain relevance of information found. (Your instructor will provide specific details regarding appropriate sources and citation format). Mandatory - Read and Follow "Tips for Success."

Articles:

Felbab- Brown, Vanda. "Afghanistan: When Counternarcotics Undermines Counterterrorism." The Washington Quarterly. Vol 28, No. 4, Autumn, 2005. pp. 55-72.

Given his country's beliefs as well as his own, General Norman should take the initiative and destroy the poppy crop of the Afghan farmers. He must be careful however, because in the past, destruction of poppy crops has driven farmers deeper into debt, and they have become even more entrenched with the Taliban rule because of this. Norman needs to figure out a way he can encourage the farmers to grow an alternative product, and perhaps have the U.S. subsidize the new crop until the farmer's revenues are able to return to normal or they are able to pay off their debts.

Goodson, Larry. "Bullets, Ballots, and Poppies in Afghanistan." Journal of Democracy. Vol 16, No. 1, Jan. 2005. pp. 24-38.

To completely destroy the farmer's livelihood without considering the side effects, at least the short-term ones, represents a moral hazard in and of itself for General Norman. In order to contain the growth of poppy's as well as the Taliban, the U.S. efforts need to include state-building, whereby the farmers have a state-backed alternative as well as the enforcement to ensure that the other farmers and potential Taliban fighters do not become growers of the substance themselves.

Goodson, Larry. "The Fragmentation of Culture in Afghanistan." Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics. No. 18, 1998. pp. 269-289.

Regionally, there needs to be a proper creation of law enforcement bodies to help enforce the ban on pappy growth. Without proper enforcement, the poppy production would become a black market issue, and could create even more problems than the plants pose currently. Afghanistan's culture and economy is based around poppy production, and taking away this important cultural pillar will likely have detrimental effects to the entire country as well as the overseas soldier stationed there. A more culturally and economically sensitive alternative needs to be offered instead of just destroying the entire crop.

3. Analysis

Compare and contrast available solutions relevant to the central ethical issue - What should General Barry Norman do about Afghanistan's poppy plants. Using inductive or deductive moral reasoning, clearly explain the ethical implications the potential solutions may have on the stakeholders. Mandatory - Read and Follow "Tips for Success."

General Norman should work to eradicate the poppy crop from Afghanistan but also be aware that a viable, profitable alternative needs to be implemented where the farmers can still make money and will not be attracted to joining the Taliban because of their debts. Since drug use is morally wrong, the best solution involves the destruction of potentially millions of tons of poppy's as well as the revenues associated with these plants. Since the destruction is necessary, General Norman should use every tool at his disposal to destroy the fields, including mycoherbicides. This substance may however harm the production of other crops as well as the health of humans and animals. The greatest good will is served through the destruction of the poppy plants.

Choose the wisest, most ethical option and justify your decision. This is NOT an opinion. Using your research, analysis of the options and stakeholders and your applications of the ethical theories, laws and rules, select and defend the morally right (or most ethical) resolution to the central ethical issue. Using facts and relevant evidence from your research and analysis, thoroughly explain why this is the best solution. Mandatory - Read and Follow "Tips for Success."

Stakeholder: The United States Armed Forces

The theory I chose to back up the U.S. position is utilitarianism. This is a concept that philosopher John Stuart Mill proposed as a solution to problems. Mill states that utilitarianism represents, "The greatest good for the greatest number of people." This approach is characterized by the prioritizing of effects that an action will cause as both positively and negatively. If the U.S. is to affect the greatest good, it needs to consider not only the Afghan farmers' and troops' plights, but also the plight of the millions of drug addicts and their families.

Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty, ed. Himmelfarb. Penguin Classics, 1974, pp. 11.

The United States has billions of dollars and countless lives at stake in this decision. This stakeholder is most concerned with identifying and fighting the Taliban, and the destruction of poppy crops would directly affect this group's ability to successfully fight against the U.S. In their own country. The United States should destroy the crops as an act of utilitarianism. Not just because it would likely save countless American lives in the battle for the country's economy, but also because it would save the lives of millions of people abroad and in the U.S. who are using drugs.

Stake Holder:

The Taliban

Virtue ethics help to mold the Taliban's position into a justifiable argument. Since the Taliban is religiously and therefore morally opposed to the destruction of the poppy crops, it could be said that they must act virtuously and oppose the destroyers of the poppy's and their cultural heritage by every means necessary. The virtuous act, according to Aristotle, lies not in the exact middle, but at a golden mean sometimes closer to one extreme than the other. Abrahamic religious, such as Christianity and Islam, rely on the idea of virtue to help show the most logical and morally correct path to their followers. The Taliban would likely follow this sort of reasoning in trying to understand the situation at hand and to assign moral value to it.

Bostock, David (2000). Aristotle's Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press.

The Taliban rely on poppy production to fund their fight against the U.S. forces. From their perspective, the destruction of the poppy crops would represent a huge blow to their own functioning and survival. Without that money, the Taliban would not be in business. Also, without the debt created by the poppy productions, they would also not have the stranglehold they do over the Afghan farmers, and would have to look to the black market as a potential source of income. The Taliban need to do everything they can to stop the destruction of poppy plants and keep the Afghans from forsaking their own culture and traditions. The Taliban do not have access to the same information that U.S. troops do, and likely are not aware on the same level that the poppy crops destroy millions of lives worldwide. They would likely not be adversely affected by this information however, since they are religiously opposed to the destruction of the crops.

Stake Holder:

The Afghan Farmers

Since the Afghan farmers do not have the same access to information that the United States Armed Forces do relative to the huge negative effect of poppy production, they would likely rely on virtue ethics to make a decision relative to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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