Tend to Troops’ Moral Injuries

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Photo: US Central Command/Capt. Brian Harris
Media Outlet: New York Daily News

David Wood wrote for the New York Daily News on the moral injuries American service members face:

All of us, of course, experience twinges of conscience in daily life as we fall short of our ideals. But the moral injuries of wartime come faster and harder, and particularly so in the confused conflicts that comprise the war on terrorism.
A soldier is felled by a shot; his grieving buddy is tormented for having failed to spot the sniper in time. A wounded lieutenant is medevaced and consumed with guilt for having “abandoned” her platoon.
A medic holds a dying soldier, a beloved comrade bathed in blood, whom he cannot save. A rifleman looks into the eyes of an insurgent as he shoots, and is haunted by that killing.
No wonder words fail when they return to a society dominated by those who chose not to serve. Who would understand their stories?


David Wood was a Class of 2016 & 2017 ASU Future of War Fellow at New America. He is the author of What Have We Done, a book on moral injury, the effects of war on those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on civilians at home who sent them. A staff correspondent for The Huffington Post, he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series on the severely wounded of those wars.