Moral injury — the damage to the soul caused by participating in something unjust — has a wide blast radius for anyone with a conscience. The ambiguity of military operations since 9/11 are fertile ground for moral injury. Average Americans may feel guilt or shame for the conduct of the war on terrorism — the pardoning of war criminals or the indefinite jailing, without trial, of men at Guantánamo or the civilian casualties caused by drone strikes — but it can be devastating for those who are a part of it.
…Fewer than one-third of all young Americans meet the qualifications for serving in the military. Those who don’t qualify lack enough formal education; they have a criminal records; they’re too overweight.
Among those who do qualify, few serve. Since the attacks of 9/11, the burden of fighting wars has fallen on the slenderest sliver of the population. They deploy again and again and again.