The film Munich directed by Steven Spielberg is aimed at exploring the ethical aspects of revenge. It should be noted that the authors of the movie focus on the military operation known as Wrath of God. It was supposed to be the retribution against people to kidnapped Israeli athletes and later killed them.
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One can examine this operation from the perspective of consequentialism or the ethical framework which lays stress on the results of a decision, rather than its motives (Attfield 128). On the whole, the movie shows that revenge is an immoral act because it does not contribute to any positive outcome. More likely, such an action can pose a threat to innocent people. This is one of the points that can be made.
It should be mentioned that consequentialism is a philosophy according to which the results of a person’s actions or decisions are the main criterion according to which their morality should be evaluated (Attfield 128). In a turn, the motive of an individual cannot be used as a justification for an action that harms people (Attfield 128).
In fact, the motive underlying a decision is not relevant. This principle can be used to analyze the events described by the film-makers. They focus on the activities of Avner Kaufman who is a Mossad agent. He is ordered to assassinate people who planned and implemented the kidnapping of Israeli athletes in Munich. It is necessary to focus on the consequences of this operation.
First of all, one can mention that, they assassinate one of the suspects in a hotel by denoting a bomb within his room (Munich). However, in this way, they severely injure and probably kill several civilians. They are innocent people who have nothing to do with terrorist organizations. Certainly, the film-makers show that the agents do not want to harm any innocent bystanders; however, such a risk is an inseparable part of this operation. This pitfall is vital for assessing the ethical dimensions of revenge.
Another result of this operation is that one of the agents named Carl is killed in the course of this operation. In particular, he is murdered by a contract killer. This outcome can hardly justified from the perspective of people who might have cared about him. This concern is relevant when one speaks about people who decided to carry out this operation. This is another issue that should be taken into account by the viewers of this movie.
Finally, it is critical to remember that this operation did not eliminate the threat of terrorists. Those people, who were assassinated by Mossad agents, were easily substituted by others. This is why the main character of this film resigns from Mossad because he believes that this war against terrorism is futile (Munich). One can argue that he looks at this dilemma from consequentialism viewpoint. This is the main aspects that can be distinguished. It is important for understanding the ethical conflicts that are imbedded in this movie.
The analysis of these events suggests that that revenge cannot be justified from the standpoint of consequentialism. The problem is that this action did not lead to any positive outcomes which could benefit any stakeholders. Moreover, one can say that Steven Spielberg’s film Munich eloquently illustrates the futility of this strategy. This is the main argument that can be put forward.
Attfield, Robin. Value, obligation, and meta-ethics, New York: Rodopi, 1995. Print. Munich. Ex. Prod. Stephen Spielberg. New York: Universal Studies, 2005. DVD.