What is moral injury?

A two-time combat veteran, David Fisher joins The American Legion’s Tango Alpha Lima podcast this week to discuss moral injury.

Fisher, who founded and runs the Moral Injury Institute, defines moral injury as “witnessing whether in person, through reporting, or some other means something that causes a crisis of conscience due to a violation of one’s deeply held moral, religious, or ethical beliefs such that one psychically suffers in a materially adverse way.”

It’s been a journey for Fisher to become an expert in this field. He holds a bachelor’s in quantitative methods and computer science, a master’s in international management and a Ph.D. in depth psychology.

“Can you imagine sipping tea in a man’s living room while you pay him for killing the man’s child?” said Fisher, a member of American Legion Post 25 in Cottonwood, Ariz. “How could I ever teach my daughter right from wrong when you think about what I have done? When you think about those kinds of questions, that’s very different than how PTSD is described and how it is diagnosed.”

Fisher envisions his institute as a supplement to other organizations that are trying to help veterans with experiences instead of pharmaceuticals.

“Part of my intent is to keep the ball rolling,” he said. “All of these efforts are aimed at trying to convince VA of something besides medical-wise diagnostic criteria.”

Learn more about moral injury by downloading or viewing this week’s episode of Tango Alpha Lima, The American Legion’s weekly podcast for veterans, servicemembers and others. Each episode is available for download by 9 a.m. Eastern each Tuesday. All of the previous 40 episodes are also available in both audio and video formats here.