BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programme has a fascinating edition on how the public’s psychological perception of war is changing and how this is having an effect on the armed forces.
It’s drawn from a UK perspective and its bookended by a bit of political stuff but the main part is full of interesting observations on how our understanding of acceptable soldiering is changing.
For example, medals for bravery are increasingly given for soldiers who rescue their wounded comrades under fire, rather than for killing the enemy as they used to be, despite the fact that killing the enemy remains a necessary part of a soldier’s job.
The core point of the programme is to explore the how the public and the military view of conflict is diverging and what effect this has on the operations of the armed forces.
Difficulties in adjusting back to civilian life are known to contribute to mental health problems in soldiers and I wondered how much the growing sense of ‘not being understood’ contributes to this but could find no research which directly tackled the issue.