and psychological wellbeing. For military practitioners, the provision of a comprehensive explanation of the moral and psychological power of identity and beliefs about identity gives impetus to consider seriously whether institutional, cultural, and privately held beliefs about what professional identity means are consistent with the ethical values of society in general. That is, are just war decision- makers’ belief s about what it means to be a good soldier, political leader, or military commander consistent with their views of what it means to be a good human being? If not, the findings of this thesis indicate that we should expect disharmonious beliefs about different identities to manifest in moral and psychological trauma. As well as providing means of anticipating, predicting, and preventing moral and psychological trauma, this thesis may provide just war decision-makers with something all military personnel desire: a sympathetic citizenry. In giving voice to the psychological and moral trauma that military professionals undertake in order to perform their roles – roles that are ultimately designed to protect citizens and defend the common good that citizens benefit from most – this thesis and publications proceeding from it may provide citizens with deeper insight and understanding into trauma than is currently available. In so doing, this thesis might provide some insight into the enormity of moral labour and virtuous character that is required to conduct oneself well
388 in matters of war and morality and, in so doing, develop some sympathy for the difficulty involved. This benefit is one that is particularly indebted to the introduction of aretaic thinking into the thesis. Aretaic ethics concerns itself primarily with the agent, it is able to understand the multitude of different factors that can affect, undermine, or support a person’s ability to do the right thing. Because of this, aretaic ethics is able to describe unethical behaviour in a way that does not excuse it, but does identify the various possible reasons for the behaviour. In so doing, this thesis may provide military practitioners with a sense that although their actions will be judged, they will be judged with sensitivity and empathy to the immense moral and psychological difficulty of the environment just war decision-makers face, and the complexity of the decisions they have to make. Further, as Western militaries continue to insist that their personnel not only comply with professional duty but strive for professional excellence, the distinction between professional duties and professional excellence will become increasingly relevant. Aretaic ethics, as I interpret it in this thesis, offers not only a description of what professional excellence might consist in for soldiers, military commanders, and political leaders, but a guide to understanding professional excellence from a moral standpoint. I describe excellence in military professions as consisting in in the performance of
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