Inspired by Phil Klay’s Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War, we wrestle with some of his questions and question what he left out.

Prompt #1 What are “civilians”? What are the rights and responsibilities of civilians within a society in general and ours in particular? (10 September 2022)

Prompt #2 (24 September 2022) Estonian Prime Minister Kajal Kallas: “Every citizen is responsible for the actions of their state and citizens of Russia are no exception. Therefore we do not give asylum to Russian men who flee their country. They should oppose the war.” Respond.

Prompt #3 In Klay’s chapter “The Soldiers We Leave Behind,” he says that in the early 1900s it was thought the way to deal with immigrants was to earn their American-ness on the battlefield. Since then there has been much struggle over what it means to be an American, who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’. In this chapter Klay ties American-ness and immigration. So: what makes you American? Make this personal. What are you allegiances, beliefs, emotional ties that makes you American? (8 October 2022)

Prompt #4 In reference to Phil Klay’s last chapter, “American Purpose After the Fall of Kabul.” The cri de coeur of veterans: why don’t you care? Also getting the joke about the gap between appearance and reality. So in that context, “no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” (22 October 2022)

Prompt #5 In his chapter “Duty and Pity,” Phil Klay talks about the ironies around civilians’ reactions to veterans, many of which involve or imply pity. What does the word mean? Dictionary definition: “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.” Respond. (5 November 2022)