Review Of "Outsourcing Duty: The Moral Exploitation Of The American Soldier" By M. Robillard And B. J. Strawser

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Too many soldiers return from war physically, emotionally, and morally damaged—that is no secret. The authors—both combat veterans and holders of doctorates in philosophy—are keenly aware of the scars many veterans bear, but their primary concern lies elsewhere: namely, the outsourcing of moral responsibility from society at large to its soldiers. The moral problem here is that those who serve come mostly from a definable subset of citizens: typically people from the lower strata of society who are given false promises but little information about what lies ahead of them. Although they "volunteer" for military service, most do not join the military as an informed choice among many enticing alternatives. The authors argue that this amounts to "moral exploitation," which leads to further unjust burdens when soldiers in combat are forced to make terrible, morally complex decisions and perform actions for which they are ill-equipped. This fine book is no diatribe but a careful conceptual and moral analysis of the problem the civil-military divide and its moral cost. Those concerned for the vulnerable should pay heed to soldiers, who are vulnerable and suffer exploitation in the service of their fellow citizens. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduates and general readers.


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