What Joe Darby Did Essay

1265 words - 5 pages

Which is more unethical, a soldier who has been under the stress of war and not fully trained for the job abusing enemy prisoners, another soldier who after seeing pictures of horrible prisoner abuse and becomes a whistle-blower or the Secretary of Defense leaking the name of a whistle-blower? That is the question I will look at in this paper. Being a part of a team or group is very important to most people, acceptance and friendship is something we all long for. So when reserve soldier Joe Darby saw some pictures of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq he was taken aback. After a lot of soul searching he knew what he must do. This decision would change many lives forever. Nonetheless I feel the real ethical issue in this story is not what Joe or his fellow soldiers did in 2004 but what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did.
When Joe Darby first saw the images on those photos of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and abused by not just his fellow soldiers but by people he had known since high school he was torn between two choices. Those choices for Joe were, should he do or say nothing to protect his friends or should he do what was ethically correct. He chose the latter; “I knew that some people wouldn't agree with what I did... They view it as - I put American soldiers in prison over Iraqis (Joe Darby, 2004)” The photos showed Iraqi prisoners naked and posed in sexually suggestive ways. Some of the Iraqis in the photos were dead. Joe knew what was happening in these photos were wrong but because of the fear of repercussions it took him three weeks to turn them over and only after he was promised anonymity. He felt that was the end of it and he could go on doing his job. When the accused soldiers were removed he started to feel that he really did the right thing and no one would know it was him who told. For the accused soldiers they became the prisoners instead of the guards. They found themselves becoming infamous overnight. As for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld he found himself in a controversy that was not of his personal making but was his responsibility. At this point Joe Darby had made his choice, now the accused soldiers would have to choose to tell the truth and admit guilt and take the punishment or fight the charges. For Donald Rumsfeld he knew he would have to make a public statement and would had to consider the words used. Joe Darby was shocked when he and hundreds of other US soldiers were sitting in a canteen watching television and he heard Donald Rumsfeld thank him by name for handing over the pictures. It is this statement by Mr. Rumsfeld that is the true ethical issue in this story.
What happened after Mr. Rumsfeld’s statement is the true ethical dilemma for the United States government and the military. Joe Darby was labeled a traitor by his fellow soldiers and citizens in his hometown and his wife had to flee their home which was vandalized. He had to be secretly taken out of Iraq and was...

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