Here is my attempt at a Joint Ethics Code. Comments welcome of course.
This Joint Ethics Code will apply to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States and Defense Department. It reflects and encapsulates aspects of the U.S. Constitution, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). In effect, the Joint Ethics Code supplements and reinforces the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the service Core Values, the U.S. Code of Conduct and the Constitutional Oath. The Joint Ethics Code states the values that inhere in the Constitution and other documents that broadly define the ethical obligations of service in the Armed Forces of the United States.
- As a member of the United States Armed Forces, I will never dishonor my country or my uniform by turning my weapons on the unarmed: on civilians, on the wounded or disabled, on prisoners or those attempting to surrender. Nor will I engage in beatings or torture towards any person.
- If I learn of acts of violence towards the unarmed, I will report this to my chain of command, without fear or favor.
- If in command, I will pursue all reports of violence towards the unarmed until I am satisfied that the demands of justice and of the highest traditions of an honorable profession have been met.
- I will set an example of my commitment to human rights and diversity, to gender, racial, and ethnic equality, and I will exert myself to ensure that my fellow service members do likewise.
- I will refrain from private commercial or partisan political activity on duty or in uniform.
- I will respect the religious beliefs or absence of religious belief in my fellow service members, and I will never seek to impose my own beliefs on those junior to me in rank.
- I will demonstrate respect for the institutions of democracy and support for the electoral and legislative process.
- I will never place loyalty to my unit, to an individual, or to my service branch above the interests of the nation, the lives of my fellow service members, or the truth in all matters.
- In war, I will seek an honorable victory gained at the lowest possible cost in lives and suffering.
- I never forget that my I and my fellow service members are members of an honorable profession, American citizens with Constitutional rights, and human beings entitled to opportunities to grow and flourish, that our lives have value even as circumstances may require us to hazard our lives.