An article at the Christian Post notes broken relationships are a strong trend in the list of contributing factors in those who commit suicide in the US military. In addition, as has been noted here before, the concepts of moral injury and moral responsibility are significant in the US military — and young people today may not be equipped with the necessary moral foundation to deal with these issues.
A retired US Army chaplain said one of the contributing factors to suicide in today’s Army may be that men and women are entering the military with a substantially weaker spiritual foundation than prior generations — meaning they are often ill-equipped to handle the moral and life challenges they rapidly see in combat in today’s military: Read more…
The story of 1LT T.C. Houston has already been noted, but the eventual full article written by the reporter had an interesting anecdote not told the first time:
One soldier, a sniper, wrestled with his mission. Houston said the guardsman was struggling with the paradox of killing and eternity. Houston said he helped the soldier understand how God views this and how he can continue with his mission.
“According to the Bible, restoring peace is a righteous act in accordance with faith,” the chaplain explained.
While only a snippet of what was likely a much larger conversation, it is seems to be far better than the answer to the similar question raised in Faith of the American Soldier, originally discussed here.
There are moral wounds in war, even apart from an individual’s religious beliefs. Fortunately, the military recognizes that potential and supports both chaplains and other means to try to address that sacrifice by its servicemembers.
In an era in which society encourages each to do his own thing, and “right” is a relative term, a recent study seems to indicate many people do inherently have an understanding of morality at their core — and this may sometimes conflict with the actions required by military combat:
The conflicts that troops feel can range from survivor guilt from living through an attack where other troops died, to witnessing or participating in the unintentional killing of women or children, said researchers involved in the study.
The key quote comes near the end of the article: Combat experienced US Marines were the subject group, and the study showed
Their condition [PTSD] was more closely linked to an inner conflict Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion Afghanistan, army, bill nash, Chaplain, christian, Iraq, jonathan shay, Military, moral injury, morality, Navy, psychiatrist, ptsd, Religion, religious freedom, secular, spiritual fitness
The Stars and Stripes covered the “Navy and Marine Corps’ annual conference on combat and operational stress,” and indicates new “buzzwords” — “moral injury” — are causing some consternation:
One Marine commander roped into a panel discussion at the last minute bluntly took issue with the phrase: “As a Marine, I’m insulted.”
Lt. Col. James “Hall” Bain…said he thought the term implied that Marines were stressed as a result of immorality.
The Corps trains Marines to have “the skill and the will to kill,” he said. “It’s based on an ethical standard.”
In his defense, LtCol Bain seems to take issue with the terminology, not the concept. In other places, the term “moral injury” has been used to describe the dissonance that occurs when one man kills another: Read more…
In light of recent articles on the increasing moral conflict of war — troops told to fight and kill without being provided the moral foundation for those actions — it seems appropriate to note the increasing attention “moral conflict” has recently gotten in the press. The articles even refer to “moral injury” and make a statement similar to that made here before: Read more…