Coming Home: Dialogues on the Moral, Psychological, and Spiritual Impacts of War


This half-day event brings together thought leaders engaged with moral injury and the impact of the lived experience of war. The event includes academics, military leaders, veterans, journalists and clinicians to explore the value of the humanities (philosophy, history, poetry, and literature) for dialogues exploring the moral, psychological, and spiritual effects of armed conflict on the warrior as she or he returns home.

The event is part of a research initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and managed by the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University and the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy. The event is co-sponsored by the Center on the Future of War, which links Arizona State University and New America.


8:30 - 9:00 AM: Registration & Breakfast

9:00 - 9:15 AM: Welcome

Dr. Jesse Kirkpatrick
, Research Assistant Professor, George Mason University, Assistant Director, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy and Fellow, New America International Security Program
Dr. Daniel Rothenberg, Co-Director, Center on the Future of War, Professor of Practice, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University and Senior Fellow, New America

9:15 - 10:00 AM: Panel I - Moral Injury and Torture

Dr. David Luban
, moderator, University Professor and Professor of Law and Philosophy, Georgetown University and Distinguished Chair in Ethics, Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, U.S. Naval Academy
Lt. Col. Bill Edmonds, author of God Is Not Here: A Soldier’s Struggle with Torture, Trauma, and the Moral Injuries of War, and former Special Forces officer with combat deployments in Iraq
Maj. (ret.) Ian Fishback, former Special Forces officer named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world after sending Sen. John McCain a letter on prisoner abuse in Iraq and currently a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Michigan
Dr. Kate McGraw, Deputy Division Chief, Psychological Health Center of Excellence, Defense Health Agency

10:00 - 10:35 AM: Keynote - Moral Injury: When Two Worlds Collide

David Wood
, writer-at-large, Texas Monthly, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his work on moral injury and a former ASU Future of War Fellow at New America
Introduced by Candace Rondeaux, Professor of Practice, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University, Senior Fellow, New America International Security Program and former Afghanistan/Pakistan bureau chief for The Washington Post

10:35 - 10:45 AM: Break

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM: Panel II - Moral Injury and Combat: Personal, Policy and Philosophical Reflections

Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff
, moderator, Research Professor for the Military Profession and Ethics, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College
Caroline Johnson, author of Jet Girl: My life in peace, war, and the cockpit of the Navy's most lethal aircraft, the F/A-18 Super Hornet
Lt. Col. Michael Manning, National Security Fellow, Fletcher School, Tufts University, preparing a report on moral injury among U.S. special operations forces
Dr. Nancy Sherman, University Professor and Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University, author of Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of Our Soldiers
Drew Trojanowski, Office of Veteran and Military Engagement, Arizona State University, former Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, The White House

12:00 PM: Concluding Remarks