Thursday, November 19, 2015

Troops talk of how war assaults conscience

First, it was Vietnam veterans being studied that had researchers looking at the "moral wound" and what PTSD does to the men and women risking their lives in combat. Second, as this article points out the "largest group since Vietnam" it avoids mentioning the fact that Vietnam veterans are the forgotten generation in all of this.

If you want to read one of the best books on "moral injury" then read Achilles in Vietnam by Dr. Jonathan Shay published in 1995.
You can also watch this video
Achilles in Vietnam
from Charles Berkowitz
This documentary, developed as an undergraduate thesis film by director Charles Berkowitz, is based on the groundbreaking book, "Achilles in Vietnam : Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character", by Dr. Jonathan Shay. In it, Shay examines the psychological devastation of war by comparing the soldiers of Homer's Iliad with Vietnam veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the Iliad was written twenty-seven centuries ago it has much to teach about combat trauma, as do the more recent, compelling voices and experiences of Vietnam veterans.

Achilles in Vietnam from Charles Berkowitz on Vimeo.
They didn't take care of the veterans they already had and that is why things are as bad as they are now. None of this is new but it seems as if social media is rewriting history so that we forget how long they have had to get this all right for all veterans.
Moral injury: Troops talk of how war assaults conscience
By Patricia Kime, Staff writer
November 19, 2015
“The largest group of veterans who have served our country since Vietnam are home," Sherman said. "And we need to help.”
Former Army Reserve Capt. Josh Grenard thought the anguish of losing men in combat would eventually wane in the years after a deployment to Iraq. But when soldiers from his unit began committing suicide, the wounds reopened — fresh, raw and painful.

“It’s almost two sets of injuries — but having your men kill themselves is wholly different,” Grenard said. “Was there something I could have done? Was there a way we could have gotten them help? Should I have seen it?”

He found himself slipping into isolation, going to his law office each day but questioning his very existence. He drank from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily — “very metered, all day.”

“You don’t want to think about anything. You don’t want to answer those questions,” he said.

Grenard was not suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the psychiatric condition normally associated with combat.

Rather, his feelings, which included crippling helplessness, emotional pain, guilt and frustration, are often described as “moral injury,” a psychological condition related to having done something wrong, being wronged by others or even witnessing a wrongdoing, argues Georgetown University philosophy professor Nancy Sherman.
read more here