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The Limitations of Military Psychology: Combat-stress and Violence-values among the Chechens and Albanians

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Chapter Summary

This article examines the interplays between combat-stress and traditional violence-values—two of the four variables of my Brutalisation theory—among the Chechens and Albanians in the latest conflicts against the Russians and Serbs. I first discuss in considerable detail some major theories and approaches on combat-stress in military psychology. I then point to some current shortfalls in this field, including a serious dearth of research on combat-stress and traumas among armed nonstate actors generally and Chechen and Albanian insurgents specifically. As a partial compensation to this lack of knowledge, I describe how violence-values affect combat-stresses (and vice versa) among Chechens and Albanians. Finally, I suggest that stresses and traumas of Chechen and Albanian combatants account for many of their brutalities (also in post-war settings). Such brutalities— even if less common and systematic than Russian and Serb atrocities during and after the wars—violate international and local norms, i.e. the very violence-values of martial valour and honour that enhanced their combat-stress to begin with.



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