Academic Programs From
Case Western Reserve University

Bringing a diverse range of academic perspectives on local, national, and global issues to audiences around the world.

Case Western Reserve University

Subscribe to Our Programs
Enter your email address:

frame image
frame image
Friday February 11th, 2011

Divided Loyalties: Professional Standards and Military Duty – Panel Three


Michael Benza, Visiting Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University
School of Law


Peter A. French, PhD, Lincoln Chair in Ethics, Arizona State University (Participating via DVD)

Shannon E. French, PhD; Inamori Professor in Ethics and Director, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Case Western Reserve University

Friday February 11, 2011, 8:45 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Sponsored by An Interdisciplinary Symposium funded in part by the Arthur W. Fiske Memorial Lectureship Fund at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Panel three examines the ethical, legal, and professional obligations of chaplains/religious advisors serving in the military.

There has always been some tension between the ethical, legal, and professional obligations of professionals and the requirements of military service. This tension has been increased by the War on Terror. Physicians, mental health professionals, lawyers, and law enforcement/corrections officers serving in the military have been placed in situations in which their professional ethics, obligations, and legal duties may contradict military necessity or directives, or even place the role of professional in direct conflict with the role of military personnel.

As the management of armed conflict, the law of war, and the professionalization of the military has increased, this tension has similarly increased. Military professionals have been asked to bring their expertise, skills, and professional talents to the prosecution of military action not just as military personnel but as doctors, mental health professionals, lawyers, and law enforcement/corrections officers. Doctors and mental health professionals are charged with supervising and controlling interrogations, lawyers are asked to provide legal opinions and advise on the treatment of prisoners, and law enforcement and corrections officers must guard and control prisoners. While performing these duties military necessity can impose conflicting duties and concerns. The need for information, validation, or security may require different loyalties and focus than the professional duty. The need for information about an upcoming attack that could save the lives of comrades may directly contradict the need for care or treatment of a prisoner.

This symposium brings together professionals, ethicists, theorists and practitioners from medicine, mental health care, the law, law enforcement, and the military to explore these complicated and timely issues in an open and frank discussion.

Additional Information About Our Guest…

Michael Benza is a Visiting Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He received his Bachelor of Arts (1986) and law degrees (1992) from Case Western Reserve University. He also received a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology (1988) from Pepperdine University. He was the 1992 Biskind Fellow from Case School of Law and spent a year working for the Legal Resources Centre, a civil and human rights law firm in South Africa. Upon returning to the States, he spent four years in the Capital Defense Unit at the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. He was assistant counsel at the Cleveland Bar Association working with the Certified Grievance Committee as well as other committees. Professor Benza teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I, Death Penalty Issues, and the Death Penalty Lab, and coached the Mock Trial team. The Student Bar Association selected Professor Benza as the Professor of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2009 Professor Benza was elected as an alumni member to the Society of Benchers. Professor Benza continues to represent death row inmates in state courts and federal habeas proceedings. He has litigated capital cases in state trial courts, state appellate and post-conviction courts, and federal courts including arguing Smith v. Spisak before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Dr. Peter A. French is the Lincoln Chair in Ethics, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University. He was the Cole Chair in Ethics, Director of the Ethics Center, and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at University of South Florida. Before that he was the Lennox Distinguished Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He has taught at Northern Arizona University; the University of Minnesota; Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, and was Exxon Distinguished Research Professor, Center for the Study of Values, University of Delaware. Dr. French has a B.A. from Gettysburg College, an M.A. from the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. from the University of Miami. He received a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from Gettysburg College in 2006.

Dr. French is the author of 20 books including The Virtues of Vengeance; Cowboy Metaphysics; Ethics and College Sports; and War and Border Crossings: Ethics When Cultures Clash. His newest book, War and Moral Dissonance, includes a memoir of his experiences teaching ethics to Navy and Marine chaplains returning from or about to be deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a senior editor of Midwest Studies in Philosophy and was editor of the Journal of Social Philosophy and general editor of the Issues in Contemporary Ethics series. Dr. French has lectured throughout the world and published dozens of articles in major philosophical and legal journals.

Shannon French, PhD, became Director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence in 2008. She is the Inamori Professor in Ethics and tenured faculty in the Department of Philosophy. Dr. French was previously on the civilian faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy (1997-2008) and was Associate Chair of the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law. She received a B.A. degree from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas and her Ph.D. from Brown University. Dr. French’s research and scholarly interests include military ethics, leadership ethics, professional ethics, moral psychology, biomedical ethics, and environmental ethics. She has published numerous articles and book chapters. Her 2003 book, The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values, Past and Present, includes a forward by Senator John McCain. Dr. French is Associate Editor of the international Journal of Military Ethics and of the Encyclopedia of Global Justice. She has been a featured speaker in Japan, England, Italy, Canada, Norway, France, and Australia, and has participated in the public debate on recent issues in military ethics through articles or interviews in the New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Toronto Globe and Mail, the Christian Science Monitor, the Baltimore Sun, and other publications, as well as appearances on NPR (National Public Radio) and affiliates, BBC radio, CBS radio, C-SPAN, PBS and A&E.