from the world's big
What’s Fair in War
Question: How did military ethics become a field\r\nof serious inquiry?\r\n\r\n
Nancy Sherman: If\r\nyou think about the history and its introduction into the military \r\nacademies,\r\nit often is indexed or linked to a cheating scandal. And\r\n that was certainly the case of the Naval academy when I\r\nwas brought in, in the mid-‘90s. \r\nThey had taught psychology of leadership and also the law of war,\r\n or\r\nthe law of the high seas, that sort of thing, but they didn’t teach \r\nmilitary\r\nethics until they had a massive electrical engineering cheating scandal. And the same, I believe with West\r\nPoint, and I thinking 1959, the Air Force probably was ahead of the \r\ncurve and\r\ndid it, I think without provocation.\r\n\r\n
But it’s a relatively new field in the way that the\r\n ethics\r\nof, these applied ethics are sort of business of law. Often\r\n they come about when there’s a problem and they\r\nrealize that some of us who have been teaching ethics for the longest \r\ntime and\r\nteach these general issues even though they might not be specifically \r\napplied\r\nto a kind of profession. But it’s\r\nas old—the topic is as old as the ancients. If \r\nyou think about it, in the Iliad, Achilles drags around\r\nHector’s body seven times around, desecrating it in revenge, wild \r\nrevenge for\r\nthe death of his buddy, Achilles’ buddy, Patroclus. And\r\n Homer says finally, he breaks down and says, “Even the\r\ngods cannot sit by quietly and watch this.” And \r\nthey protect the face of this desecrated body so that in\r\nfact, because if the gods watch, it’s never really desecrated. So there’s this important sense of the\r\nugliness of revenge. Maybe it’s a\r\ncombat motivator, maybe it’s fire in the belly that adrenalizes, we \r\nwould say,\r\nbut it’s got its really ugly side.\r\n\r\n
And so the Stoics come in later as a comment on the\r\nancients, they themselves, like second century, before the common era, \r\nthe second\r\ncentury after, and say, you ancients, including Plato and Aristotle, but\r\n before\r\nthat Homer and his warrior tradition gave carte blanche, you might say, \r\nopen\r\nticket to revenge, but revenge knows no limits, knows no excess. So, event he warrior ought not to have\r\nit. Do it for its own sake. Fight\r\n in there because the cause is\r\nright, or because you believe in the cause, not for the sake of payback,\r\nbecause you won’t be able to control the revenge. Once\r\n it’s out of the gate, the game is over.\r\n\r\n
So, it’s been around for a long time and that gives\r\n you a\r\nsense of... it’s been around as a worry about the inward war, not just \r\nwhat you’re\r\ndoing to other people and whether your conduct is good, but how you can \r\ncontrol\r\nyour own inner motives. So, that’s\r\nwhat I’m fascinated by, it’s not just the limits of just war. That’s been also a tradition since the\r\nmedieval... since the Crusades. How\r\ndoes a king get his, or the church get his Army going and have them not \r\nhave\r\nmassacres? And how do they\r\nseparate the people that are legitimate targets from those who aren’t\r\nlegitimate targets? Are the\r\ncivilians, or the folks that aren’t knights in armors, are the \r\nlegitimate? No, they’re not legitimate. But there’s always been rape, pillage,\r\nand plunder. In the middle ages,\r\nit became a cause célèbre. Let’s\r\nwrite rules for the church so they know how to fight. So\r\n that’s been about justification. When can you go\r\n to war and how does the\r\nhonorable, chivalrous soldier fight well?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
What there has been very little discussion of is \r\nwhat goes\r\non in the head of the soldier and how do they conduct the moral debate \r\nin side\r\nand live with the moral difficulties and quandaries. And\r\n that’s sort of what I’ve been interested in, and it’s in\r\nthe border between philosophy, that's worried about justification of \r\nwars, just\r\ncauses, and just conduct. And\r\npsychology that’s worried about what goes on in the privacy of a \r\nclinician’s\r\noffice and the unloading of the trauma. Between \r\nthose two goals, there’s a huge area about the moral\r\npsychology in the inner psyche of the soldier.\r\n\r\n
Question: Is there some\r\ntruth to the idea that "all’s fair" in war?\r\n\r\n
Nancy Sherman: There’s\r\n a real sense that all’s fair in\r\nlove and war, you know, and that all the rules are off. But\r\n since the Middle Ages and the\r\nformulation of just war, however abstractly, the idea has been that \r\nthere are\r\nrules of permissibility. Both for\r\nthose in charge of declaring war, what counts as a reasonable cause, a \r\njust\r\ncause, a justification for going to war, and aggressing or defending\r\nyourself. And also for how the\r\nsoldier conducts herself, or himself, justly, honorably.\r\n\r\n
So, there’s that, and then there’s the reality of \r\nit, as you\r\nsay, and the concrete cases. So,\r\nright now, we, with the surge in Afghanistan, are dealing with, or \r\nshould be\r\ndealing with the real heavy moral implications of the nature of the\r\nfighting. So, General McChrystal\r\nhas made it very clear that there will be tight rules of engagement on \r\nthe\r\ntroops, the 100,000 troops that will be fully deployed in Afghanistan. And those troops will not be able to—if\r\nthey’re mingled civilian and insurgents, the troops need to put the\r\npreponderance of risk upon themselves and take additional risk rather \r\nthan risk\r\nthe lives of civilians, unless the unit is being overrun, and we’ve sent\r\n that\r\nthat is not full proof. In\r\nMarsiya, there were 12 killings, there have been drones that have killed\r\ncivilians, and now the Special Forces are under the same tight \r\nrestrictions,\r\nso, unified command.\r\n\r\n
Now the way that—you have to think about that, how \r\ndoes that\r\nplay out on the troops? Well we\r\nknow a lot of the grunts, the ground troops, are grumbling bitterly on \r\nfighting\r\nwith one hand tied behind my back while they get all the advantage \r\nbecause they\r\ncan shield their innocence in... They shield their insurgents in \r\ncivilian populations and then I as a\r\ncombat troop have to restrict my fire. \r\nSo, you have to say, are they risking troops at the cost of \r\nsaving the\r\ncivilians in Afghanistan and some will say that. And\r\n we’ll say, oh, it’s just a political ploy. We \r\nneed to buy the hearts and minds of\r\nthe population. But I think it\r\nalso is protecting the hearts and minds of our own soldiers, and that’s \r\nthe\r\nmilitary ethics really made concrete.\r\n\r\n
The soldiers I have spoken to who have been \r\ninvolved in\r\ncivilian casualties, that’s an awful term, collateral damage. It makes it—it’s so euphemistic. But\r\n it means not just accidental\r\nkillings of civilians, it’s where you foresee that it might happen, but \r\nyou\r\ndon’t intend it. The civilians are\r\nin the periphery of the target area and it’s an important enough target \r\nthat\r\nyou go for it. In cases like\r\ncheckpoint incidents in Afghanistan and Iraq where this has happened, \r\nand\r\nespecially if the civilian is a child. \r\nThe Marines that I’ve talked to just decompensate almost, they \r\nfeel so\r\nawful about killing a vulnerable child; it’s like the mythic child that \r\nhas\r\nbeen killed. And if you think\r\nabout it, here they are in a place on the Helmand Province we are \r\nfighting in\r\nAfghanistan, and they are there not only to be fighters, but they’re \r\npoliceman,\r\nthey’re community organizers, they’re building a city in a box. They’re building civic order in a box. \r\n And that’s how it’s been phrased. And \r\nthey’re the savior in a sense,\r\nthey’re bringing order. And\r\nthere’s a lot of idealism about them, but also the sheer reality of \r\nwhat’s\r\nhappening. And when they can’t do\r\nthat and they fail miserably in the sense of see a kid killed in the \r\nmidst of\r\nthat operation, I think that really, really plays hard.\r\n\r\n
So, I think the restrictions which come from high \r\nup and are\r\nimposed through the chain low down by a commander that has to work \r\nreally hard\r\nto restrain his troops and restrain the fire force, the fire power \r\nthat’s used\r\nare protecting the hearts and minds of our own soldiers. \r\n They’re reasonable moral\r\nrestraints. Not just to buy the\r\nhearts and minds of the country we’re in, but to preserve our own souls.
From the Iliad to Afghanistan, the field of military ethics has tried—not always successfully—to impose rules on the chaos of mass slaughter.
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.
A time for sleep<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="Mt29uUqI" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="931343dee3c02121445e51e94ba22446"> <div id="botr_Mt29uUqI_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/Mt29uUqI-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>Previous studies had already suggested a link between persistent nightmares in childhood and psychosis and borderline personality disorder (BPD) by adolescence, but researchers at the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology wanted to see if a similar connection existed between these mental disorders and other childhood behavioral sleep problems.</p><p>To do this, they scoured data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a longitudinal cohort study that followed approximately 14,000 children born in Avon, England, in the early 1990s. The study followed the children for more than 13 years. During that time, mothers filled out questionnaires asking about the children's lives. Factors looked at included housing, parenting, nutrition, physical health, mental wellbeing, environmental exposures, and so on. </p><p>The cohort study inquired about sleep routines, sleep duration, and awakening frequency when the children were 6, 18, and 30 months old, and then again at 3.5, 4.8, and 5.8 years. It also assessed mental health in adolescence using semi-structured interviews, such as the Psychosis-Like Symptom Interview.</p><p>"We know that adolescence is a key developmental period to study the onset of many mental disorders, including psychosis or BPD. This is because of particular brain and hormonal changes which occur at this stage," <a href="https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/psychology/marwaha-steven.aspx" target="_blank">Steven Marwaha</a>, professor of psychiatry at Birmingham and senior author on the study, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200701125431.htm" target="_blank">said in a release</a>. "Sleep may be one of the most important underlying factors—and it's one that we can influence with effective, early interventions, so it's important that we understand these links."</p><p>After compiling the data, the researchers discovered an association between children with irregular sleeping patterns and teenagers with <a href="https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/psychosis/about-psychosis/" target="_blank">psychotic experiences</a>—that is, episodes when the person perceives reality differently than those around them. Even when depression at 10 years old was considered as a mediating factor, their findings still suggested "a specific pathway between these childhood sleep problems and adolescent psychotic experiences." </p><p>Toddlers with shorter nighttime sleep duration and late bedtimes were likewise associated with a <a href="https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml" target="_blank">borderline personality disorder</a>—a disorder marked by a pattern of varying moods, self-images, and behaviors—in their teenage years. Depression at age 10 did not mediate this particular association, suggesting a separate and more specific pathway. </p>
A more restful tomorrow<p>While the sample size was large and mental health was assessed with a validated interview, there nevertheless remain limitations to this data. For starters, sleep habits were based on mothers' reports. Because they came from memory, versus a more direct observation method such as actigraphy, these data may be prone to imperfect recollection and reporting error. There are also many confounders that could be secretly nudging the results, such as family conditions, prenatal medicines, and a host of environmental factors. Finally, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024884/#:~:text=Sleep%20difficulties%20in%20youth%20with,fear%20of%20dark%20%5B13%5D." target="_blank">the relationship between sleep problems and mental disorders</a> is both complex and two-way.</p><p>As such, the study shows an association between poor childhood sleep later mental disorders but does not prove a causal link. Parents need not worry that a string of nightmares or the eternal struggle settle into bed will be the first ingredients in a witches' brew of debilitating mental disorders. The goal of the study, the researchers point out, is not to create undue worry but improve our ability to recognize the signs of at-risk children and deliver necessary interventions earlier.</p><p>"The results of this study could have important implications for helping practitioners identify children who might be at higher risk for psychotic experiences or BPD symptoms in adolescence, and potentially lead to the design of more effectively targeted sleep or psychological interventions to prevent the onset or attenuate these mental disorders," Isabel Morales-Muñoz, the study's lead researcher, <a href="https://www.healio.com/news/psychiatry/20200702/childhood-sleep-problems-linked-to-adolescent-psychosis-borderline-personality-disorder#:~:text=Sleep%20problems%20during%20early%20childhood,study%20published%20in%20JAMA%20Psychiatry." target="_blank">told Healio Psychiatry</a><u>.</u></p><p>If a parent reading this is worried that their child's sleep patterns are deleterious, the take away should not be despair over an unyielding fate. It should be to seek professional help as soon as possible to begin improving sleep duration and quality. Even if you aren't worried, it's worth remembering that childhood experiences lay the foundation for a lifetime of salubrious sleeping habits. It's so much more than beauty rest.</p>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>