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The government of the United States is also a representative democracy and its citizens can

only try to elect the most qualified leaders. Unlike a direct democracy, it is not the job of the people

to make policy (only to check power). Voters choose leaders to make responsible and moral

choices when creating policy. Fundamentally, responsibility for firing missiles at targets in

Baghdad lays in the hands of those who will and can make the final decision to fire the missiles

and sacrifice lives. Just as we can not kill civilians in Baghdad based on the actions of Saddam

Hussein, I, as an individual, hold little accountability for the decisions of individual human beings

in power, especially if I did not elect those individuals into power. Those in power are human

beings and influenced by many variables and, accordingly, they will make decisions as such.

Ultimately, those who are morally responsible for the actions of government, are those in power--

the actual individual or group who must make a decision. As they exercise their freewill in their

actions and decisions, they too must bear the responsibility for their actions. It is not so much that

the government act morally but that the individuals and groups with the power to act, should act

morally. Still, we must wonder if a government has the same duty to act morally as would an

individual. Perhaps the only manner in which governments and institutions are capable of acting is

through cost/benefit analysis. Is a government capable of dealing with Sarte's paradox of whether

to join the free French forces or staying home with his ill mother who lives only for him, both of

which carry an equal moral obligation?

While I may not be responsible for the actions of my government, I do still have a moral

obligation to act morally in spite of the consequences. I am accountable for my action or inaction in

face of immoral government action. Even if I am not successful in acting out of moral duty, I can

not be accused of being immoral because I failed. Blame must be laid at the door of those who did

not knowingly, out of free will, act out of moral duty or who acted immorally. Inaction against evil

is evil. This is no new idea. Confucius wrote in Analects"to see what is right and not do it is

cowardice" (1989, pg. 93). Even if I have no prospect of changing the government's missile

policy toward Iraq, even if I can't save ten thousand lives, I still have a moral obligation to do what

is in my power to convince family, friends,and all those within my sphere of influence that the

government is acting immorally. Though I may not be able to convince the federal government to

alter its policy, I still have an obligation to let my government know that I think its actions are

immoral, if only by a single e-mail to my congressman/woman. Inaction in the face ofimmorality

is just as immoral as acting immoral. Success. Consequence. These are not the judgment of one's