This sample paper on A Few Good Men Summary offers a framework of relevant facts based on recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body, and conclusion of the paper below.
The movie “A Few Good Men” was a great story of a young attorney who was in the Navy, called to defend some Marines who were suspected of murdering a fellow Marine. During the investigation, it is discovered that the Marines practice something called a “Code Red”. The ‘code red’ is an unofficial disciplinary measure, imposed by a marine squad when a member offends against the unit’s esprit de corps.
Having been gagged, bound and beaten, the marine dies at his colleagues’ hands. The argument of the suspects was that it was a direct command that they carry out this code red against a fellow Marine who was not living up to the stringent agenda of the Marine Corp.
and they were following the command. Eventually it came out that the person who asked for the code red to be carried out was the Colonel.
Jack Nicholson’s character as the Colonel had committed a crime and what he did was unethical in the eyes of both the law and the United States Marine Corps. The question here was whether or not what he did could be proved. A very long and thorough investigation ensued to find out the truth about what happened the night that the Marine died.
One of the observations made was that the man who died was suffering from a heart ailment and because of that ailment, it caused his death.
It was argued that what was done would not have killed someone normally, but because of his bad heart, he was not able to survive the punishment. Expert witnesses were brought in, including doctors, who testified that a man in his condition should not have endured the physical tests he had. Marines are expected to be a part of a team and each member of that team has a specific responsibility to his or her fellow soldiers. If one member of that team does not live up to his or her responsibilities, the rest of the team will suffer because of it.
His squad was suffering and wanted to make him pay. They did not think that the outcome would be death. The characters (who were lawyers) played by Tom Cruise and Demi Moore made a trip to Cuba where the dead soldier had been stationed and wanted to conduct their own investigation. While there, they met with the Colonel in charge of the squad that the dead soldier was a part of. The Colonel (Jessup) played by Jack Nicholson was fully cooperating until he was asked about the code red and some flight records.
He got very defensive and angry. When the trial began, he was called to testify by the defense. One other soldier, a Lt. Col. who worked under the Colonel, told the attorneys that the Col.
was the one who called the code red. The lawyers knew they would have a hard time getting him to confess and to directly ask him in open court could get them in trouble. They took a chance and after several questions, he was asked if called the code red. He flat out admitted it and the mystery was solved. Unfortunately for the men on trial, they were dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corp.
The younger of the two men, Pfc. Downey, did not understand why he was dismissed because he had followed a command from his superior officer, Lance Cpl. Dawson. It basically went through a chain of commands and although Downey did not get the command directly from Col. Jessup, he did not distinguish the difference between his superior officer and that of the Col.
The Marines are trained to fight for those weaker than themselves and Dawson and Downey did not fight for the dead Marine. They were the cause of his death. The ethical framework in this movie follows that of utilitarianism. The lawyers in the case were defending the Marines for committing a murder. But because the men were only doing that as a command from their superior officers, it was not necessarily viewed as being a bad thing.
Their intention was not to kill a fellow Marine, but to teach him a lesson about teamwork. These soldiers were following an order. In the Marine Corp. if orders are not followed, people can get hurt or killed. There is no question with the Marines about following an order.
They must do it. Although what they did was a crime, the argument was that they were following an order and could not say no. And again, they were not intending to kill their fellow soldier. (Virtue Ethics and Leadership) Their order was to tie up the officer, stuff a rag in his mouth, and leave him like that until they felt he had learned his lesson. Upon doing this and along with his heart condition caused his death from something called Lactic Acidosis.
(Too much acid in the body due to the buildup of lactic acid in the body). Lactic acidosis occurs when cells make lactic acid from glucose faster than it can be metabolized. The key signs of lactic acidosis include unusually deep and rapid breathing, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Lactic acidosis is a feature of different disorders. It is an important sign of diabetes that is out of control.
It is also a rare but dreaded adverse reaction from the drug metformin (Glucophage) for type 2 diabetes. (Definition of Lactic Acidosis) Dawson and Downey were doing what they believed to be a good thing for their squad and thought they would be helping the fellow soldier get more on the ball, so to speak and live up to the high expectations of the Marine Corp. Although the outcome was that the two accused men were not guilty of murder, they were guilty of conduct unbecoming a Marine and were dishonorably discharged. It seems as though the procedure used to help these men in court were somewhat effective, however the outcome was not what they would have chosen for themselves. They did not want to be discharged from the Marines because that is the job they chose to do and wanted to defend their country.
To them, the outcome was not justice. These two soldiers wanted everyone to believe, as they did, that they did nothing more than follow a command. The Col. as of course, found guilty as well and would be charged as such, as was Lt. Kendrick who was the officer that gave the order to Lance Cpl.
Dawson. In turn, Dawson gave that order to Downey. Downey does not distinguish between the chain of command and therefore, he took it as a direct order from Lt. Kendrick. Perhaps if the focus of the trial was more on Col.
Jessup and Lt. Kendrick and their roles in the death, Dawson and Downey may not have been discharged. If it had been shown more that Dawson and Downey were simply following a direct command then they may not have had to serve the time they did. If the lawyers had used the teleological view then it is possible the soldiers would be acquitted of all charges. Teleological moral systems are characterized primarily by a focus on the consequences which any action might have.
When people make choices which result in the correct consequences, then they are acting morally. If the focus of this movie had been on the morals being just, then the outcome could have been very different. (Deontological, Teleological and Virtue Ethics) The general public love to get inside the mind of attorneys on television because they like to be able to solve crimes and defend those they think to e innocent themselves. In a movie like “A Few Good Men”, sympathy is given to the accused soldiers and the people watching the movie rooted for them and wanted to see them acquitted. Just watching gave everyone the idea that these men were in fact innocent of the charges they were accused of, even if it was not decided upon in court.
Because the viewers were able to see each side of the case as it was being shown, they were able to make their own decisions. That type of viewing makes movies fun to watch, when people are able to decide for themselves who should be the guilty and not guilty parties. Sadly, not all outcomes of real trials work this way and perhaps in real life these men would have had to serve more time in prison. References Cpt. Praff, C.
A. (1996, November) Virtue Ethics and Leadership retrieved on February 17, 2008 from http://www. usafa. edu/isme/JSCOPE98/PFAFF98. htm Definition of Lactic Acidosis (2004, 23 February) retrieved on February 17, 2008 from http://www.
medterms. com/script/main/art. asp? articlekey=20521 (2008) Deontological, Teleological and Virtue Ethics retrieved on February 17, 2008 from http://atheism. about. com/library/FAQs/phil/blfaq_phileth_sys.