Third Prize Winner in the 2005 Vincent Astor Memorial Leadership Essay Contest
If combat leaders have their moral compasses set before the fighting starts, they can prevent tragedies such as the My Lai Massacre in the Vietnam War and the atrocious behavior by guards at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Today more than ever military professionals need a firm understanding of and commitment to their morals and beliefs. In this age of fourth-generation warfare, the military is no longer fighting a nation state, but rather a group of individuals bound by common principles and goals. The way orders filter to the ranks of the junior officer has shifted as well.