War Is Not/Shouldn't Be finally made it into the NYT
C.J. Chivers wrote about Sam Siatta, a Marine Corps veteran, and his fraught journey home.
It was reassuring to learn that Sam Siatta is finally getting the medical and psychological care he needs, and I hope the government will fund fully the treatment required by those who fight our perpetual war. But for some kinds of wounds, there is no palliation. In addition to his psychological injuries, Siatta may be dealing with a moral injury.
Moral injury results from doing or witnessing something significant that violates your deeply held beliefs about yourself and your role in the world. It isn’t a disease or a diagnosis, and though it may be related to PTSD, it is more a sickness of the heart than of the head, so it can’t be medicated away. It’s not necessary for someone to be trained as a killer to be marked in this way because, at its most basic, moral injury is the recognition that few, if any, escape from war unscathed. Apparently, the only sure way to avoid the moral injury of war is not to go to war in the first place. Nan Levinson, Somerville, Mass.