May 23, 2024
Once upon a time, a wound as simple as a scratch could lead to death. Many of incredible advances in medicine and medical care since were driven by the exigencies of war. Tanisha Fazal has conducted a fascinating study that examines the relationship between military medicine and military effectiveness in interstate wars globally since 1900. She's in the studio with podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss the outcomes of the study and the methodology her team used to arrive at their conclusions. Whether it is technological advances, or changes in tactics, techniques and procedures like the golden-hour rule or the platinum fifteen minutes, medicine has a profound effect on not just the ability to field a force but also its morale.

Once upon a time, a wound as simple as a scratch could lead to death. Many of incredible advances in medicine and medical care since were driven by the exigencies of war. Tanisha Fazal has conducted a fascinating study that examines the relationship between military medicine and military effectiveness in interstate wars globally since 1900. She’s in the studio with podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss the outcomes of the study and the methodology her team used to arrive at their conclusions. Whether it is technological advances, or changes in tactics, techniques and procedures like the golden-hour rule or the platinum fifteen minutes, medicine has a profound effect on not just the ability to field a force but also its morale. Be sure to check out Tanisha’s book Military Medicine and the Hidden Costs of War when it releases 15 March 2024.

There is a correlation between better medicine and war outcomes. But a lot of times the side that has better medicine isn’t the side that wins.

Tanisha Fazal is Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. Her scholarship focuses on sovereignty, international law, and armed conflict. She is the author of two award-winning books and numerous articles in academic and policy journals. From 2021-2023, she is an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

Ron Granieri is Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Description: The Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element’s Mobile Surgical Team completed 11 surgeries at the Dr. Salvador Paredes Hospital in Trujillo, Honduras from July 27-29, 2016. The MST is a self-sustaining unit that utilizes their own equipment and operates out of various facilities throughout Honduras to provide free surgeries to patients in need.

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photos by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

3 thoughts on “MEDICINE, MORALE AND MUSTERING THE FORCE

  1. Perhaps an interesting question:

    Given that the “cause” that military personnel are tasked to fight for can be considered — by the military personnel themselves, by their families and/or by the general publics and the general elites of the fighting nations concerned — to be either a “good” (and thus “worthy”) cause or a “bad” (and thus unworthy”) cause (to fight, to possibly get maimed in and/or to possibly even die for and in),

    Then, based on this such concern for the “is it worthy it?” — “cost/benefit problem/calculation that I describe above,

    a. Might the knowledge of a nation’s better, excellent, etc., medicine and combat injury outcomes, etc,

    b. Effect whether we take on certain missions, certain conflicts, etc., or “pass” on same?

    (From this such perspective, thus, [a] the know quality of one’s military medicine (i.e., as very good or very bad and, thus, as relates to the “costs” of certain wars); this might indeed [b] effect our calculations as to the “necessity” — and/or as to the potential “benefits” — of such wars?)

    1. A potentially shorter and/or different question:

      Is there a correlation/a relationship between (a) the known (better or worse) quality of a nation’s medical medicine and (b) the various considerations/concerns that a nation goes through — as it considers whether it can — and/or should — go to war?

  2. At approximately the 32:00 point in this podcast, Ron Granieri notes — re: the concern that we have today regarding our recruiting problems — the fact that potential military recruits today have said that (a) the significant number of injured veterans that they see on TV, this (b) causes them not to want to consider our profession. (These such significant number of injured veterans being a result of the improvements that we have made in military medicine? These folks, in earlier times, would not have made it/would not have lived to be on TV?)

    But is this (concern for serious and life-long injury) the real, full and/or only reason for these such concerns of our potential military recruits?

    Or, more correctly, are these such potential military recruits (and their mothers, fathers, families, etc.) not viewing these such significant numbers of serious and life-long injured veterans ALSO from perspective of what they (the potential military recruits, etc.) see as the improper, unnecessary and/or ill-advised nature of the conflicts in which these such veterans became so seriously injured?

    If this is true (potential recruits — their families, etc. — are “turned off” — not so much by number of injured veterans in these such conflicts — but, rather, by the fact that these such serious injuries were, in their eyes, sustained in improper, unnecessary, ill-advised and/or questionable conflicts),

    Then, in circumstances such as these, (a) in order to meet our recruiting needs and goals, (b) what we may actually need to do is convince our potential recruits (and their mothers, fathers, families, etc.) that they will no longer be used for such purposes?

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