3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division must face reality. “The kill company” scandal has seriously damaged the image of the US Army, which in turn has challenged the trust the Nation places in its armed forces. More concretely, these events highlighted the need for strengthening the Rakkasans’ ethics standards. Soldiers are not warriors; they are ethical warriors, whose identity relies on two inseparable pillars: ethics principles and operational efficiency. The Army core values reflect this ethical identity and the duties that come with it. Understanding that warriors need solid ethical references, the Brigade will demonstrate commitment to the Army values, invest in ethics education, and engage leadership.
Warrior ethos without military ethics leads to acts of crime, misconduct, and ethical breaches. On the one hand, fighting spirit is a central piece of combat power. In ancient times, the Spartans cultivated their culture of aggressiveness and competition to defeat their enemies. Soldiers do the same. That is what the US soldier’s creed is all about: “I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.” US soldiers are ready to fight, both mentally and physically. Mental toughness, aggressiveness, and competitive spirit have led generations of soldiers to success. This fighting spirit is necessary.
On the other hand, the Army has ethics that guide and frame its activities. US soldiers fight to defend the Constitution. They all have pledged an oath to do so. The nation expects soldiers to be shining examples of the America’s best values. Soldiers have rules and principles that define the way to use force against their enemies. The Army respects life and believes in human dignity. Compliance with these values and principles is compulsory. The trust that the Nation has in the Corps relies on this code of honor. Thus, the Army’s ethos is not only about fighting spirit, it is also about military ethics.
Warrior ethos and military ethics are not contradictory; they are complementary and define together who is a US soldier. American soldiers are ethical warriors. Military ethics and warrior ethos constitute the two fundaments of the Army’s Code of Honor. One cannot be separated from the other. This obligation has applied for ages to those who held power: "science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul," as wrote Rabelais in the early seventeenth century. More than ever, soldiers need ethic references to guide their actions and prevail, especially in a Counter-insurgency environment where excessive use of force jeopardizes mission accomplishment. Whatever the situation might be, soldiers must be able to use their science of war with restraint, discernment, and ethics. Recent bad experiences proved that the Army should advocate this ethical military obligation with humility and determination.
The Brigade will advocate its commitment to the...