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Soul Repair : Recovering from Moral Injury after War
The first book to explore the idea and effect of moral injury on veterans, their families, and their communities nbsp; Although veterans make up only 7 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an alarming 20 percent of all suicides. And though treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder has undoubtedly alleviated suffering and allowed many service members returning from combat to transition to civilian life, the suicide rate for veterans under thirty has been increasing. Research by Veterans Administration health professionals and veterans' own experiences now suggest an ancient but unaddressed wound of war may be a factor: moral injury. This deep-seated sense of transgression includes feelings of shame, grief, meaninglessness, and remorse from having violated core moral beliefs. nbsp; Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini, who both grew up in families deeply affected by war, have been working closely with vets on what moral injury looks like, how vets cope with it, and what can be done to heal the damage inflicted on soldiers' consciences.
In this appeal to Americans to take more seriously the psychic wounds of war and high suicide rate of veterans, Brock (Saving Paradise) and Lettini (Homosexuality) move beyond post-traumatic stress disorder to what they understand as a distinct category of injury: the moral toll of war. Ordinary people with everyday consciences often become deeply troubled when they have to kill, even for "good" reasons, and especially when the victims are women and children in ill-defined war zones. While PTSD can be cured or resolved through psychotherapy, moral wounds often become more acute as soldiers recover from traumatic stress. The authors question the efficacy of rationalizing away moral injury-should we not instead interrogate what it means for humans to violate their consciences? The book lets veterans tell their stories. Each veteran has a distinct social location-e.g., white, black, or Latino, Vietnam or Iraq war vet-but their sagas tend to melt together. The book's strength lies, however, not in the narratives but in the authors' eloquent and unflinching discourse on war's problematic moral core. (Nov. 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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November 06, 2012
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