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Read over case study included at the end of the attached instructions file. State a discussion critique as to how you would handle this situation.
instructions_for_case_study_critique_discussion.docx

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR CRITICAL POSITION DISCUSSION
ESSAY:
Your objective in this assignment is to compose a SOUND argument for what you would do in
this case assuming you were in this situation and you had to make a decision. Remember from
your reading that a SOUND argument must pass two tests:
(1) THE VALIDITY TEST: It must be valid, and
(2) THE TRUE PREMISES TEST: All the premises must be true.
GUIDELINES ?: Please follow these guidelines:
(1) CLARIFY YOUR CONCLUSION: Your conclusion is a position statement on what
should be done. It should be stated as one, single proposition. Try to make it as clear as
possible. This is the first level (or focal point) of your argument.
(2) CLARIFY YOUR PRIMARY REASONS: What reasons first come to mind as the
most important factors on which you base your conclusion. Use complete sentences. It
would be a good idea to number each premise so that your readers could refer to them
without confusion. This is the second level of your argument. Your primary reasons
combined with your conclusion are what is called your primary argument.
(3) SUPPORT YOUR PRIMARY REASONS: Ask yourself why each of your primary
reasons (that is, the reasons which directly support your conclusion) would be true to a
reasonable person. If a skeptic challenged the truth of any of your primary reasons, what
support (or defense) would you have? In other words, do you have any good reasons for
your reasons? Here you might offer definitions of key terms, data, evidence, statistics,
quotations from experts or authoritative sources, etc. This is the third level of your
argument.
(4) DEFINE KEY TERMS: Usually if you develop your argument to this stage, you have
used some important concepts which should be defined (e.g, rights, human rights,
morally wrong, morally right, cultural value, culture, etc.). It is always a good idea to
clarify in your own mind what you mean by these key terms, and, then, to record a
definition of each. These definitions could be additional supporting reasons in (3) above.
(NOTE: Our current reading assignments focus on language and definition. I am looking
for a few good definitions for us to discuss. So please try to work on this. For example, if
you use such terms as “moral,” “cultural values,” “human right,” etc., offer a definition.)
HOW WILL IT BE GRADED?: I will give you a PRELIMINARY or TENTATIVE GRADE
based on the above four criteria (clearly stated conclusion=0-5 pts., well-developed primary
reasons=0-5 pts., well-developed supporting reasons=0-5 pts., and definition of key terms=0-5
pts.).
CASE STUDY TO BE DISCUSSED IN ESSAY:
Captain Carlson, an intelligence operative for the U.S., has just confirmed that Osama bin
Laden and his closest advisors have just arrived at a nearby Madrasa (or school) inside the
Afgan border. Carlson has both human informants and surveillance technology that confirm that
Bin Laden is meeting inside one of the school’s rooms, and that he intends to stay there for at
least an hour. Indeed, Carlson’s equipment is so sensitive that he can hear Bin Laden’s voice in
conversation with others–a voice Carlson has been trained to analyze. Also inside the school
are several hundred local village children and their teachers. Carlson knows that Bin Laden’s
usual pattern is to leave such meetings under cover; so this is a rare opportunity for U.S. forces
to take him out. Carlson proceeds to punch in GPS coordinates for CentCom to launch a cruise
missile that would arrive in less than 15 minutes. The result will be that nearly 250 children will
become “collateral damage.” It is a virtual certainty that 90% will be killed. Carlson has a
moment of hesitation as he reflects on the action he is about to perform. He knows that he is
authorized to communicate a live and actionable target, and, he knows that he has little or no
time for indecision.
Carlson asks his commanding officer what to do. His CO orders Carlson to go through with the strike.
Carlson questions the order. He asks whether it conforms to the Geneva Conventions. His superior
replies that Carlson must follow the order immediately. Carlson hesitates; but then follows through with
the order. He calls in the coordinates for the missile, and the target is destroyed.
News of the strike and Bin Laden’s death hits the newspapers the next day. The Pentagon is pressured to
prosecute Carlson and his superiors for violating the Geneva Conventions. Carlson is charged with
following an unlawful and immoral command. Regardless of the guilt or innocence of his superiors, was
Carlson guilty of this charge.

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