Author: Moral Injury in our Longest Wars
David Wood was interviewed by Alex Horton of the Stars and Stripes on his recently released book, “What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of our Longest Wars.” Wood is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and his take on morality, killing, and war could be interesting [emphasis added]:
I think everyone who goes to war comes back with some form of moral injury.
The simplest definition of moral injury is a violation of your sense of what’s right. We all walk around with a sense of what’s right…
The problem is, in war you can’t possibly live up to those ideals… In my experience, people we send to war struggle with what they see and do, what they have done to them. And that’s moral injury.
Wood essentially says the purpose of the military is to kill people, and while he doesn’t explicitly say it within the interview, he implies that killing people — while necessary and just in the military context — nonetheless violates every man’s basic moral code. This concept has been discussed here for years.
Though not mentioned within the article, it seems religion may play an important role in Wood’s discussion of moral injury. His book opens with a Prologue about a chaplain trying to help his troops cope, and Wood even includes a chapter specifically on “Atheists in the Foxholes.”