Morale for the 100,000 troops, fighting the longest war in the history of the United States, is at an all time low. The terror tactics of the guerrilla Taliban have killed dozens of Americans without firing bullets and have injured thousands with life threatening Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental disorders. Suicides have risen and morale has plummeted. All American troops are now endangered, both by psychological assaults and a weakening military.
Why is Morale Failing?
The psyche of the soldiers is under assault from a perpetual threat of terrorism; the psychological weight of the war puts soldiers at risk to themselves and their fellow combatants. The mental stamina of American troops has degraded during this war. Psychologists confirm (what common sense tells) that terrorism is linked to mental health disorders. This naturally sinks morale
What Evidence Shows Morale is Falling?
Army psychologists have identified over 66,935 cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a severe anxiety disorder which plagues soldiers with asocial tendencies and painful flashbacks, during the War in Afghanistan. The number of cases grows with each year. Further evidence suggests a generally low morale; there were 339 non combat related deaths of American personal 60, or roughly twenty percent, were suicides. More soldiers have been injured by mental disorders than by insurgent encounters.
The battlefield is even more dangerous to the integrity of the soldiers minds. A vicious onslaught of terrifying assaults from Taliban back militants have killed more American troops in the spring of 2011 than at any point in the entire war, except the initial invasion. In this last February there were twenty lost, in March there were 31 casualties, and during April 47 American troops who were killed in action. Soldiers are under higher threats of death and injury; this knowledge burdens them.
In addition these American sacrifices, to restore democracy to a troubled nation and defeat the Al Qaeda, seem to be in vain. Afghanistan remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world with an economy dependent on opium. The Taliban are only growing in strength and Al Qaeda is threatening to take control over revolting countries in the Middle East. Morale has fallen off a cliff.
Why Does Morale Matter?
Morale dictates the soldiers willingness to fight. A strong sense of nationalism and faith in the war gives soldiers a reason to fight and definitively gives them a better chance of wining any battle. Soldiers with low morale are less likely to fight effectively, endangering themselves and the entire army. In the worst situations, which it has not deteriorated to in Afghanistan, armies simply desert en masse. Low morale aided American defeat in Vietnam, however high morale during World War Two succeeded in a one-sided two-front victory. Morale wins wars.
How will Morale Be Restored?
It wont. Unless there are decisive social victories in Afghanistan
The infamous Osama Bin Laden Assassination in Pakistan was a single bright flare of hope for the troops. Recently they have been clearing out the worst combat zones of Afghanistan; grueling and dangerous work as they search enemy territory for combatants and weapons caches. The Taliban is stepping up the pressure at the same time, launching daring guerrilla raids and diabolical IED explosions. The Defense Department has announced that it expects higher casualties because of these methods. This will continue to erode morale.
American forces have planned to leave the struggling democracy in 2014. At such times morale will rise, because soldiers are no longer fighting in a perpetual war in an unstable region of the world. Morale will return after it is needed.