Death and memory -- How we mourned, why we fought -- Left behind -- What we're fighting for -- Fear and loathing in Mosul -- We have no idea what we're doing in Iraq. We didn't before we killed Suleimani -- War, loss, and unthinkable youth -- Citizen-soldier : moral risk and the modern military -- The good war -- Duty and pity -- The lesson of Eric Greitens, and the Navy SEALs who tried to warn us -- The warrior at the mall -- The soldiers we leave behind -- A history of violence -- After war, a failure of the imagination -- Fact and fiction -- Public rage won't solve any of our problems -- Visions of war and peace : literature and authority in World War I -- Tales of war and redemption -- Man of war -- Can the trauma of war lead to growth, despite the scars?
"When Phil Klay left the Marines a decade ago, after serving as an officer in Iraq, he found himself part of the community of veterans who have no choice but to grapple with the meaning of their wartime experiences-for themselves and for the country. American identity has always been bound up in war-from the revolutionary war of our founding, to the civil war that ended slavery, to the two world wars that launched America as a superpower. What did the current wars say about who we are as a country, and how should we respond as citizens? Unlike previous eras of war, few other Americans have had to do any real grappling with the endless, invisible wars of the post-9/11 world at all; in fact, increasingly, few people are even aware they are still going on. It's as if there's a dark star with a strong gravitational force that draws a relatively small number of soldiers and their families into its orbit, while remaining inconspicuous to most other Americans. In the meantime, the consequences of American military action abroad may be out of sight and out of mind, but they are very real indeed. This chasm between military and civilian in American life, and the moral blind spot it has created, is one of the great themes of Uncertain Ground, Phil Klay's powerful series of reckonings in essay form over the past ten years with some of our country's thorniest concerns. In the name of what do we ask young Americans to kill, and to die? In the name of what does this country hang together? As we see at every turn in these pages, those two questions have a great deal to do with one another, and how we answer them will go a long way toward deciding where our troubled country goes from here"--