Since 1842, The Citadel has been producing principled leaders who make sound ethical decisions. Therefore, to begin your study of military leadership and ethics as well as the timeless ethical concepts and principles that will help you adjust to The Citadel, all incoming freshmen will read the summer reading selection, A Few Good Men by Aaron Sorkin. Aaron Sorkin's story explains the complexities of ethical decision making and the effect that these decisions have on others.
A Few Good Men by Aaron Sorkin is a “gripping military courtroom thriller. A young marine, apparently unfit to endure the physical rigors of Marine duty, has died. Was it an accident, or were the circumstances of his death more sinister? Two marines in his unit are indicted for a variety of charges including murder. Their only defense against the prospect of long prison terms is mounted by their military attorneys, Lt. j.g. Daniel Kaffee and Lt. Cmdr. Joanne Galloway, neither of whom has successfully mounted a criminal defense in a courtroom before. It takes all their intelligence, skill and perseverance to fight a sadistic military cult within the walls of Guantanamo Bay if Kaffee and Galloway are to win their clients' liberty and prevail against those who would subvert the Constitution and stain the honor of the Marine Corps” (Gray, 2012). Randall Gray is a well-known California theatre critic.
“The U.S. naval base in Cuba is where A Few Good Men unrolls. Two Marines stand accused of murdering a weakling stool-pigeon fellow Marine. And a young rookie lawyer Daniel Kaffee, whose legal experience has been confined to plea-bargaining between baseball games, has been assigned to defend them. This is the military’s cagey response to interventionist provocations by the outsider Joanne, a thorny woman naval lawyer who suspects the accused have been railroaded by the higher-ups. Were they executing an order, a Code Red? The third member of their little band of, mixed-gender siblings up against the U.S. military establishment is Sam, a Jewish, Harvard-educated lawyer who takes the skeptical, humanist, extra-military view, pace Nuremberg, that following orders does not, in the end, excuse morally reprehensible acts. The infrastructure: the traditional courtroom drama. The fabric: the ramrod Marine world, with its fanatical discipline and code of honor. Sorkin’s entertaining play moves us to want the underdogs to win, a classic setup. And along the way, it offers some provocations to the things we think we know” (Edmonton Journal, 2012).