I stress non-stop, the lack of understanding on the American side--and I mean professionals, not "journos"--of real war with peer or better than peer enemy. Well, last month Task and Purpose provided some evidence.
The war between Ukraine and Russia has become a topic of interest for American service members and veterans, but the consequences of the conflict may ripple through the U.S. military community in ways that are unexpected and that we are not prepared for. There may be a looming psychological health crisis for U.S. volunteers returning from Ukraine. ... The surviving volunteers who make it home uninjured may continue to face hardship upon their return. Reporters on the ground have been providing direct quotes from American fighters, and it has become clear that volunteers might face a unique type of psychological health crisis that was rarely seen after the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The first reason for this is the ferocity of the war. This war is not like Iraq or Afghanistan. The fighting is more intense, and volunteers are seeing more combat than ever before while having fewer advantages that the U.S. military was able to provide previously (e.g., no air superiority).
I would go out on a limb here and will add, that even their experiences are not complete, because they still do not face a full fire impact they might have faced in case of Russia's Armed Forces full capability being brought to bear. As is stated non-stop, a bulk of fighting is done by LDNR militias with some Russian ground units involved, while main Russian forces are concentrated on the South and North making sure that VSU is denied a maneuver by forces.
As some unnamed American volunteer source on the ground stated:
In this war, Americans are fighting against Europeans. In the Global War on Terror conflicts, Americans have benefited from experiencing an in-group/out-group phenomenon. In other words, they have been able to easily psychologically distinguish themselves from the enemy. That is beneficial to warfighters because it is easier to dehumanize an enemy if they do not look or act like you. When fighting in the Middle East or North Africa, it may have been possible to create a dissociation because the enemy “is not like us.”This is not the case in Ukraine. This situation is exemplified in another purported quote from a U.S. volunteer on the ground: “It’s feeling like my days are numbered and I’d like to say some things. About me. Former military. Afghanistan veteran. Combat experienced. Three days ago I was in a trench line listening to artillery. I got to thinking about the perspective of the enemy. Just a few hundred yards away are the Russians. Living through the same bullshit I am… I’ve seen dead bodies before. Dead Taliban. Dead Afghan civilians. But that culture was so far removed and different from ours that I couldn’t really identify with it. I saw some dead Russians lined up by the road and I was shocked. I thought, ‘These guys could be me.’”
In accordance to Western "elites" Russians ARE NOT Europeans and are something else entirely and so it is all good as seen by such "scholars" as Anatol Lieven, among many others. While James Clapper altogether thinks that Russians are genetically damaged. Of course, this guy misses one point--Russians, primarily LDNR militia, they do not "live through the bullshit", they, actually, know extremely well why and against who they are fighting. It is safe to say that this US veteran doesn't know what he is doing in Ukraine, but Russians are extremely aware of their aims in this SMO. And the author of the piece points out:
Moral injury occurs when an individual experiences or witnesses an event that contradicts their core moral values or beliefs. Moral injury, like PTSD, can leave lasting emotional scars. In a situation when warfighters are not able to dissociate psychologically from the enemy (e.g., Americans fighting Russians), the likelihood of experiencing moral injury may be higher.
Yes, it is moral injury but leave it to US media to ensure that Russians are portrayed as subhumans and enemy of the combined West. Neo-Nazis from 404, however, are friends of the US, and serve the purpose of being used up as trash, because State Department, among many, is filled with war criminals. But yes, modern war is not what they teach in the US and that is why the United States is in the position it is today. It is not a good position, to put it mildly.
Today Russia celebrates 110th BD of Russian Air Force. Here is from Khabarovsk (in Russian).