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Letter introducing Æther: A Journal of Strategic Airpower & Spacepower, Volume 2, Number 3, Fall 2023
The USAF has only recently begun to address moral injury from an institutional standpoint. This special issue can be a starting point for discussions about moral injury in the squadron, among peers, and within families.
Retired US Air Force colonels Dave Lewis and Dr. Paul Nelson discuss moral injury from the perspectives of their active duty experiences and their current work with veterans.
Chief Master Sergeant David Nordel, USAF, Retired, shares his moral injury experience in Iraq as an RN and offers recommendations for healing and resiliency.
Warfighters must consider the way the character of war changes, the nature of sacrifice, the foundations of the military profession, and the relationship between killing and identity as they prepare for the next fight.
An analysis of Dave Grossman’s five factors of the likelihood of killing finds World War II bomber crews experienced significant psychological trauma, including moral injury.
Establishing some degree of consensus on key clinical elements that support the notion of moral injury is critical as research on moral injury continues to investigate treatment options and address its root causes.
The negative implications of multidisciplinary research reveals that moral injury holds no enduring value as a clinical diagnosis. Yet interdisciplinary research could explore communal healing rituals to engage the broader community in moral healing from war.
When we perceive or characterize war as entirely evil or as outside morality, as in the case with amoral realism and pacifism, we deny its legitimacy as a tool of good statecraft, in turn creating challenges for psychological and spiritual care providers and commanders.
The interpersonal theory of suicide can assist the military as it develops mechanisms to address the effect of moral injury on suicidal ideation among the active duty and veteran populations.
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