The Citizen Soldier

Returning home from Iraq’s Anbar Province in 2008, I was proud of the work my fellow Marines had done and hopeful for the future. Many of us felt that way. After all, Anbar had gone from seemingly endless violence to a region of open markets and greater security. And if you've known friends who've died trying to help make that happen, you welcome any evidence they haven't died in vain.

But the intervening years have forced a reckoning, not just about the physical or psychological aftermath of war, but about the moral relationship we have with the wars our nation continues to fight long after we've left the service.

I’ve written often about the experience of the modern veteran, and in a new Brookings Essay, I explore the dilemma faced by “citizen soldiers”:

This essay is my attempt to dig through my own experience and through the history of our country's often fraught relationship with its own military to understand what it means to be an American in an age of perpetual war.

Read the essay here, and please join me in sharing it with friends and family on Facebook, or join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #BrookingsEssay.

Thanks for reading,
Phil Klay

Seaforth Webmaster