Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Afghanistan: moral trauma, no victory

Soldier's Heart
Joel Elliott, Maisonneuve: Grenier's OSI [Operational Stress Injury] categories are a useful way of understanding this new anguish. The first category of war-related psychological injury is 'trauma,' referring to an identifiable 'impact injury.' The second is 'fatigue,' caused by burnout. The third is 'grief,' caused by personal loss. And the final category is 'moral,' referring to the clash between a soldier's norms and values and the perceived irreconcilable demands of his or her deployment.

The first three categories are common to all warfare, but the fourth has resonance for a force grappling with an unconventional combat role in the unpopular Afghan war. This 'moral' trauma is further proof that not only does PTSD need to be accepted by the Canadian military as a legitimate medical problem... but it's a fight few soldiers can win on their own.

Vancouver Sun: Two in three Canadians do not believe a surge of more than 30,000 extra US troops will win the war in Afghanistan, says a new poll... Pollster John Wright... suggested the poll reflects three factors: Afghanistan's reputation for resisting outsiders, the experience of Vietnam and other modern wars, and a failure by public authorities to clearly define a victory... A separate recent poll showed 92 per cent support for Canadian Forces, an increase from the summer.

There was not one province or region across the country where a majority believed victory is in the cards. The highest level -- four in ten -- was in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The lowest was in Atlantic Canada at 24 per cent.
Image source here.