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Past Event

The citizen-soldier: The evolving role of the soldier and the state

Past Event

The citizen-soldier: The evolving role of the soldier and the state

What defines the moral contract between a nation and its soldiers? This has been an American question since before the revolutionary war, and has become increasingly relevant since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and the subsequent instability that has plagued the Middle East.

In our most recent Brookings Essay, National Book Award winner and U.S. Marine Corps and Iraq War veteran Phil Klay addresses these issues that are at the forefront of what shapes U.S. citizens’ perception of the modern military and modern warfare.

In the essay, Klay surveys the history of the often fraught relationship between those who fight our wars and the American citizenry they return home to, seeking answers not simply for veterans seeking recognition, reintegration, or atonement in the aftermath of war, but also for the broader public and how we can make sense of our relationship to the past fifteen years of conflict.

On July 12, Gen. John R. Allen (USMC, Ret.) joined Phil Klay to continue the conversation on the citizen-soldier of the past, present, and future. The looming questions of moral role of the military, and the role of the media in shaping citizens’ perceptions of these issues were discussed.

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