Please see "Stake Holder: The Taliban" for more information regarding virtue ethics.
The farmers who are growing poppy plants have a logical stake in this moral dilemma as well. If their crops are destroyed they will have no alternative but to join the Taliban to help settle their debts. They are in a precarious position where they are often forced to grow poppies because they are a very lucrative and traditional cash crop. Their history and culture will be severely affected if their livelihood is destroyed as well. If they functioned as utilitarians, the farmers would look for another alternative to growing poppies or perhaps request a government subsidy since their poppy production kills millions worldwide who abuse their drugs. The farmers likely do not have access to this information however, which makes their position even harder to justify.
The Afghan People
Utilitarianism- Principle. See "Stakeholder: The United States Armed Forces."
The destruction of the poppy plants would likely represent the destruction of a part of Afghan culture and history. The Afghan people have a stake in the argument because they are directly affected through Taliban rule and U.S. troop occupation. If the poppy plants are destroyed, they may turn to the Taliban as a last cultural resort to fight against the U.S. troops. The people are also affected by General Norman's decision to use mycoherbicde, since it is not yet known what kind of negative side effects may be present with the use of this substance. The Afghan people need to fight for the destruction of the poppy crop and the creation of a strong central state to help enforce the new anti-poppy laws, as well as be able to voice their concern over the use of mycoherbicides. These people should be educated on the arguments for and against the potential U.S. actions so that they can understand the moral and ethical dilemmas that are presented in their own country and economy.
Apply two ethical theories to reach a resolution of the central ethical issue What should General Barry Norman do about Afghanistan's poppy plants? What would the central principles of each theory imply is the morally right or best course of action?
A. Apply one (1) consequential theory (Act or Rule Utilitarianism) 15 pts.
The central principal behind the utilitarian approach would be the fact that the destruction of the poppy plants would do the most good for the most people. Assuming the goal was to keep heroin off the streets of Europe and the U.S., the destruction of the crops would likely benefit millions of people, and only hurt a few hundred thousand. The utilitarian approach would dictate that General Norman eradicate the poppy plants from Afghanistan. Also, careful consideration must be taken to ensure that the application of mycoherbicides does not do more harm than good, since the utilitarian approach would be compromised in this case if it did.
B. Apply one (1) non-consequential theory (Deontology (KANT), Contractarianism, or Virtue Ethics) 15 pts.
The most virtuous action the General Norman could undertake would be to kill the poppy's growing in Afghanistan. This action would save the lives of millions of people and even if the farmers were swept into the Taliban because of their debts or other alliances, the deaths in Afghanistan would virtuously justify the millions of lives saved in other places. The virtuous man sometimes has to do what is unpopular, or at first seems cruel in order to do the greatest good. Since Islam is an Abrahamic religion, they would likely use this type of deductive reasoning to justify fighting against the efforts of the U.S. Armed Forces to destroy 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."
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.
Identify and provide counter arguments against the option that you selected as being morally right (or ethically best). What are the possible arguments against the resolution you chose? How would you defend against those arguments? Mandatory - Read and Follow "Tips for Success."
The first counter argument against my position that General Norman should destroy the poppy crops would logically be that he should not, because doing so would create debt problems for the farmers. I would counter this argument by stating that from a utilitarian perspective, the greatest good would be done around the world by destroying the poppy crop and hopefully replacing it with something just as lucrative.
The second counter argument is the fact that it is not right to invade another country and destroy another's livelihood could be used to catalyze this argument. I would counter this argument from the utilitarian perspective by stating that if a country is a safe-haven for people looking to destroy the lives of millions of people worldwide, then the country needs to be changed from the outside as the only means to real, effective change. Outside change also brings outside perspectives, for better or worse, and allows the country being changed to take a shape that is more beneficial to others and not just to those living inside it.
A third argument against the destruction of the poppy crops would be the idea that it is not fair for another person to interfere with another's livelihood, especially if they are farming heir own land and their own culturally and historically significant crops. I would counter this argument by stating that the destruction of this livelihood is justified because that livelihood itself destroys the lives of millions of people worldwide and creates a means for the Taliban to control the farmers and the population. The farmers need to choose a more people-friendly product, even if that means they have to argue for government subsidies or help from outside sources in order to stay out of debt. This would hold true as long as they can provide the farmer with a job and his or her family with sustenance and a centralized governing body was created to help enforce new anti-poppy laws and regulations.
Reflect on your own thought process. What did you learn from this process? What could you do differently next time to improve the problem-solving process? Mandatory - Read and Follow "Tips for Success."
I learned that the problem of poppy production in Afghanistan is a very complex one, and on that needs to be carefully considered before any destruction occurs. Also it seems to me that going into another country without taking these things into consideration, and potentially adding to the problem by not providing the farmers with an alternative to poppies creates even more enemies. Every action has a consequence, and even the most virtuous actions on the surface can actually be counterproductive I no measures are taken to ensure that the killing of the poppy plants are followed by a national campaign for state power as well as the provision of an alternative livelihood.
The morally right option for General Norman is to destroy the poppy crops and help to save the lives of millions of people worldwide. The destruction of these crops must also be followed-up with a creation of another viable market alternative crop for the farmers because it wouldn't be morally right to rob them of their livelihood and potentially help the Taliban's cause in trying to recruit them as their fighters. This satisfies the utilitarian as well as virtuous arguments and helps to solidify the rationalization that U.S. forces and troops are doing good in Afghanistan not just for their own interests but also for the interests of millions of people worldwide. Consequentially, any action will have byproducts, and the taking of farmers' crops will likely result in the creation of more enemies as long as no consideration is put…