Moral Injury, Pt. II
To put it still more plainly:
the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity
are the same thing.
To hold your breath is to lose your breath.
A society based on the quest for security
is nothing but a breath-retention contest
in which everyone is
as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet
You and I may talk about peace,
have conferences, sit round a table and discuss,
but inwardly, psychologically, we want power, position,
we are bound by beliefs, by dogmas,
for which we are willing to die and destroy each other
--On War, Krishnamurti (1948)
He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought
will never be able to change reality
"Moral injury" is a wound which corrodes the psyche, throwing one's self-orientation over a cliff. It is a wound of the soul. The brunt is borne by soldiers who wanted to do the right thing but somehow got off track. Scenarios abound, but we will stay with the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) for the purpose of this small inquiry.
Did the SEALs who gunned down Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad perform a morally correct duty? Did President Obama and the National Command Authority that executed his kill order deliver their violence in accordance with the Rules of Land Warfare or the laws of the United States?
Our citizens should know that torture, assassination, black sites, secret prisons, drone killings, kidnappings, open-ended imprisonment, isolating prisoners and all of the other illegal hallmarks of the PWOT © were immoral (besides being illegal), yet we went along with the program.
So leaving the soldier's moral injuries aside for the moment, let us ask a question of great importance:
Is moral injury a national burden, and are we as a society demonstrating any of the symptoms of moral injury as exhibited by our soldiers?
Nine years ago, President Bush said the Iraq war was "straining the psyche of our country," but that leaving would be a disaster. Did he foresee the sorry blight of "moral injury"?
If so, why aren't Mr. Bush and Co. so afflicted? Ditto for Mr. Obama who orders "death squads" that roam the earth and rain death from the skies?
Could one also say that the very conception and implementation of these actions implies a mind suffering from moral injury? Can moral injury affect a society en masse, a sort of collective pool of damage? If so, any actions which issue forth from that damaged place are in question.
This is not a small consideration. The implications of the answer to this simple question are profound.