by Bryan Cones, US Catholic
After more than 10 years of the “war on terror,” we’ve become familiar with the new collection of wounds of returning women and men in uniform: lost limbs, brain injuries due to powerful blasts, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression, to name a few. Those who work with veterans are now are exploring a new dimension to the suffering of returning veterans, which they call moral injury. Scholar Rita Nakashima Brock, in today’s New York Times, describes the unique moral dilemmas soldiers have faced in this war of counterinsurgency: “If you’re looking at a kid on the side of the road with something in his hand, if it’s a grenade and he throws it and kills someone in your unit, you’ve failed your comrade. But if it’s a rock, you’ve just shot a kid with a rock.” One person studying at Brite Divinity School’s Soul Repair Center, Michael Yandell, a veteran of Iraq, put’s the damage in sharp relief: “Most deeply, it’s a loss of confidence in one’s own ability to make a moral judgment with any certainty. It’s not that you lose your ability to tell right from wrong, but things don’t seem so clear any more. For me, it’s whether or not what I did, did any good.”
Nakashima Brock’s work is specifically raising the issue of the church’s responsibility to returning veterans, especially after a war in which civilians without relatives in the military were asked to sacrifice nothing…
One thought on “WAR: Moral injury, the walking wounded of the war on terror”
We (those of us that have not gone to war) have much work to do to help all those that have fought in our names. Even then we will lose many more before the effects of these wars are overcome. I suggest the therapy be love and not drugs however I understand drugs may be necessary.