Phil Klay Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Phil Klay Quotes

#1. Writing fiction was a way to take the ideas that troubled me or confused me and put them under pressure. - Author: Phil Klay
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#2. I got to travel around Anbar Province, had a great group of Marines who worked for me who traveled around Anbar Province. I got to hang out with a lot of different types of Marines and soldiers and sailors. - Author: Phil Klay
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#3. Supposedly, going to war initiates you into this gnostic priesthood of people who've had a liminal experience forever separating them from civilians. Except ... you go there, and it is what it is. A form of human activity as varied as any other. - Author: Phil Klay
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#4. Fiction is the best way I know how to think something through. - Author: Phil Klay
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#5. There's a tradition of public service in my family. I'm one of three boys that joined the military. My father was in the Peace Corps. - Author: Phil Klay
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#6. War is too strange to process alone. - Author: Phil Klay
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#7. There's something odd about working 24/7, being consumed with everything that's happening in Iraq, and then coming back to the country that ordered you over there only to realize that a lot of Americans are not really paying attention. - Author: Phil Klay
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#8. When I was in Marine training I memorised 'The Waste Land,' which was a significant experience in terms of really breaking apart language and thinking about how the different voices in that poem function. - Author: Phil Klay
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#9. If you write a novel where war is nothing but hell and no one experiences excitement or cracks a dark joke, then you're not actually admitting the full experience. - Author: Phil Klay
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#10. In State of the Union addresses, I always look at the foreign policy and military parts first, which are generally pretty minimal. - Author: Phil Klay
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#11. It's a professional military. You sign up and agree to allow your countrymen to use your life as they see fit for the next four years. And I think we all should have a greater role in ensuring that we use those lives wisely. - Author: Phil Klay
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#12. In a strange way, you have to have a certain amount of distance from a thing in order to be able to write about it. - Author: Phil Klay
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#13. I love opera. I love jazz, especially Mingus. This makes me sound highbrow. I'm not. - Author: Phil Klay
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#14. The First Battle of Fallujah was called off in part because of the intensity of non-U.S. media coverage of civilian casualties from outlets like Al Jazeera. - Author: Phil Klay
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#15. War is an arena for the display of courage and virtue. Or war is politics by other means. War is a quasi-mystical experience where you get in touch with the real. There are millions of narratives we impose to try to make sense of war. - Author: Phil Klay
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#16. Prayer in a combat zone serves exactly the same purpose as it does in peacetime. In war, the stakes are life and death, true; but if you believe in God and in the notion of a human soul, then we are always making decisions of tremendous significance. - Author: Phil Klay
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#17. You're not supposed to risk your life just for the physical safety of American citizens - you're supposed to risk your life for American ideals as well. - Author: Phil Klay
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#18. I write in coffee shops, libraries, parks, museums. I get antsy and then get on my bike and go someplace else, letting the ideas spin around in my head as I dodge taxis. - Author: Phil Klay
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#19. If we fetishize trauma as incommunicable, then survivors are trapped - unable to feel truly known by their nonmilitary friends and family. - Author: Phil Klay
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#20. I was angry. I'd gotten a lot of Thank You For Your Service handshakes, but nobody really knew what that service meant, you know? - Author: Phil Klay
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#21. I think that just because you've been through an experience doesn't make you the ultimate arbiter of what it means. We figure things out; we work things out through the help of other people who can engage with us but also be intelligently critical. - Author: Phil Klay
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#22. A lot of times, you're interacting with people for whom you're one of the very few veterans that they've met or had a lot of interactions with, and there's a temptation for you to feel like you can pontificate about what the experience was or what it meant, and that leads to a lot of nonsense. - Author: Phil Klay
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#23. Bob, I quickly learned, had an existential view of the Iraq war. - Author: Phil Klay
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#24. Certainly, my exposure in high school to writers like Flannery O'Connor, Shusaku Endo, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Graham Greene was formative. - Author: Phil Klay
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#25. The civilian wants to respect what the veteran has gone through. The veteran wants to protect memories that are painful and sacred to him from outside judgment. - Author: Phil Klay
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#26. People should be able to tell stories that are important to them to try and understand what they mean. I don't think you figure anything out on your own. Certainly not war stories. - Author: Phil Klay
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#27. I was studying with Peter Carey, Colum McCann; but also, my fellow students were really critical readers for me. - Author: Phil Klay
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#28. There's a wide spectrum between a Navy SEAL hero-killer and a traumatized victim, but those are the archetypes - hashed and rehashed in the media, in popular culture, in the minds of people with a lot of preconceived notions but not much else. - Author: Phil Klay
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#29. Treating war as farce is one way soldiers deal with it. - Author: Phil Klay
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#30. Even if torture works, what is the point of 'defending' America using a tactic that is a fundamental violation of what America ought to mean? - Author: Phil Klay
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#31. We have a tendency to think of war as this quasi-mystical thing, and that interpretation flattens the experience - by using different perspectives, I wanted to open a place for readers to compare and contrast, to make judgments, to engage. - Author: Phil Klay
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#32. I have, for a very long time, been a huge admirer of Marilynne Robinson, whose work I just love. - Author: Phil Klay
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#33. I like the ethos of the military and the idea of joining an institution in which, at the very least, everyone who signs up believes in something. - Author: Phil Klay
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#34. I've worked hard to remember it ... The problem is I'm not sure what's real memory and what's my brain filling in details, like a guy whose heart stops and he thinks he sees a bright light. Except I'm sure of my bright light. - Author: Phil Klay
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#35. I started with things that I was troubled by or confused by or interested in, and then I wrote stories to try to puzzle my way through it. But the question is not how to represent war, because it's an abstract thing that's felt differently for all the characters. - Author: Phil Klay
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#36. People lie to themselves all the time about what they've been through and what it means - I'm no exception. But you write those lies down - lies that really matter to you and that are really painful to let go of because they've become a part of who you are - and they don't work. - Author: Phil Klay
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#37. [Prayer] will not protect you. It will help your soul. It's for while you're alive. - Author: Phil Klay
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#38. It's often difficult to get perspective on your own stories, on your own experiences, without talking them through with someone who is genuinely interested in thinking about them. And that's the key. - Author: Phil Klay
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#39. I saw so many radically different versions of Iraq. It would have been difficult for me to come back and think, 'This is the Iraq experience.' - Author: Phil Klay
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#40. I didn't want to write a 'this is how it is' Iraq book, because the Iraq War is an intensely complicated variety of things. - Author: Phil Klay
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#41. I was new to the cc game, a game played with skill by staff officers throughout the military, but I knew enough to know that the more senior people you could comfortably cc on your e-mails, the more everyone had to put up with whatever bullshit your e-mails were actually about. - Author: Phil Klay
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#42. Political novels are full of pitfalls, particularly for a novelist with strong political leanings. - Author: Phil Klay
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#43. Bombs do very, very bad things to human bodies. It's incredibly shocking to see. - Author: Phil Klay
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#44. Our country regularly uses military force, but only a fraction of Americans serve in the military. This means fewer and fewer people have a direct link to the military, and yet it remains as important as ever that we have a rich understanding of what we are doing as a country. - Author: Phil Klay
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#45. Maybe you didn't understand American foreign policy or why we were at war. Maybe you never will. But it doesn't matter. You held up your hand and said, "I'm willing to die for these worthless civilians. - Author: Phil Klay
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#46. With fiction, you can take something that bothers you, or that you don't have in clear focus, and you can put it under as much stress as you want. Really get underneath the skin. With nonfiction, you're restricted to what happened. - Author: Phil Klay
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#47. Sometimes macho language is to mask things people are not ready to deal with. - Author: Phil Klay
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#48. And that was my homecoming. It was fine, I guess. Getting back feels like your first breath after nearly drowning. Even if it hurts, it's good. - Author: Phil Klay
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#49. You come back from war, and you have a certain authority to talk about war. - Author: Phil Klay
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#50. Certainly, when I'd left Iraq back in 2008, I'd been proud of my service, but whether we'd been successful or not was still an open question. - Author: Phil Klay
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#51. But platitudes are most appealing when they're least appropriate. - Author: Phil Klay
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#52. War is too strange to be processed alone, - Author: Phil Klay
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#53. People have a very political way of looking at war, and that's understandable. - Author: Phil Klay
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#54. We're told that when we remember, the same parts of our brain light up as when we experienced the event we're remembering. Your brain lives through it again. - Author: Phil Klay
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#55. Responsibility and accountability is a big part of being in the military. - Author: Phil Klay
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#56. One thing I've always liked about the military is there's a certain amount of pragmatism. - Author: Phil Klay
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#57. Reading the e-mail was like getting an ice pick to the brain. I stared blankly at my computer, all higher mental functions short-circuited, and resisted the urge to punch the screen. - Author: Phil Klay
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#58. She spent all his combat pay before he got back, and she was five months pregnant, which, for a Marine coming back from a seven-month deployment, is not pregnant enough. - Author: Phil Klay
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#59. It's very strange getting out of the military, when you've lived in Iraq, and people you know are going overseas again and again. Some of them are getting injured. - Author: Phil Klay
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#60. There's a tradition in war writing that the veteran goes over and sees the truth of war and comes back. And I'm skeptical of that. - Author: Phil Klay
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#61. I always wrote - not about war, necessarily, but I always wrote stories. I tried to write while I was in Iraq. It's not really - I didn't do a very good job, and not about war. - Author: Phil Klay
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#62. A lot of the great pieces of journalism from Iraq showed how important command influence was in violent, aggressive environments, where Marines and soldiers had a constrained set of choices to make in sudden moments. - Author: Phil Klay
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#63. I grew up a little north of New York City and went to high school at Regis, an all-boys tuition-free high school in Manhattan. - Author: Phil Klay
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#64. If you're going to write about war, the ugly side is inevitable. Suffering and death are obviously part of war. - Author: Phil Klay
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#65. It's easier to get people to talk to you if you're a vet and you want to interview a vet about war. Sometimes they open up a little bit easier. - Author: Phil Klay
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#66. Veteran art creates a meeting place between veterans and civilians, or simply between veterans with different experiences. - Author: Phil Klay
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#67. there are circumstances that trump personal feelings. - Author: Phil Klay
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#68. Resilience is, of course, necessary for a warrior. But a lack of empathy isn't. - Author: Phil Klay
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#69. God always offers forgiveness," I said, softening my tone, "to those who are truly sorry. But sorry isn't a feeling, you understand. It's an action. A determination to make things right. - Author: Phil Klay
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#70. I have two friends named Matt. They're both scouts in the cavalry. They both served in the same section of Iraq. They both worked with the same Iraqi translator. And yet, if you talk to them, their stories couldn't be more different, because one was there in 2006. One was there in 2008. - Author: Phil Klay
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#71. Fiction offered me tools that allowed me to approach a wider variety of issues than the events of my own life would. - Author: Phil Klay
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#72. In war, it feels like everything you're doing is more important because you're in the proximity of violence and death, and that proximity changes your relationship to America because it changes the way you see the world. - Author: Phil Klay
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#73. I'm generally not a fan of didactic art because it papers over many of the hard experiences about war or anything else in life. I wanted to explore various aspects of the experience without an eye towards delivering any particular message. - Author: Phil Klay
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#74. The Iraq I returned from was, in my mind, a fairly simple place. By which I mean it had little relationship to reality. It's only with time and the help of smart, empathetic friends willing to pull through many serious conversations that I've been able to learn more about what I witnessed. - Author: Phil Klay
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#75. Less than 1 percent of American have served in 12 years of war, and serious public conversation about military policy is sorely lacking. - Author: Phil Klay
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#76. We are part of a long tradition of suffering. We can let it isolate us if we want, but we must realize that isolation is a lie. - Author: Phil Klay
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#77. And glad as I was to be in the States, and even though I hated the past seven months and the only thing that kept me going was the Marines I served with and the thought of coming home, I started feeling like I wanted to go back. Because fuck all this. - Author: Phil Klay
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#78. A great writer is a great writer ... Tolstoy was not a woman, but 'Anna Karenina' is still a pretty good book. - Author: Phil Klay
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#79. I've certainly thought a lot more about things like tyranny and patriotism and violence. I think I found some kind of clarity - definitely a thicker understanding. - Author: Phil Klay
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#80. Writing 'Redeployment' shook me in ways I never expected. - Author: Phil Klay
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#81. I doubt there's anything you could say to Donald Rumsfeld that would puncture the armor of his narcissism. - Author: Phil Klay
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#82. First time was instinct. I hear O'Leary go, "Jesus," and there's a skinny brown dog lapping up blood the same way he'd lap up water from a bowl. It wasn't American blood, but still, there's that dog, lapping it up. And that's the last straw, I guess, and then it's open season on dogs. - Author: Phil Klay
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#83. It's not so much the question that offends me; it's that the people asking it don't seem to respect the moral seriousness of the question. - Author: Phil Klay
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#84. And yet, I have this sense that this place is holier than back home. Gluttonous, fat, oversexed, overconsuming, materialist home, where we're too lazy to see our own faults. At least here, Rodriguez has the decency to worry about hell. - Author: Phil Klay
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#85. 'Redeployment' is a military term. It means to transfer a unit from one area to another. - Author: Phil Klay
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#86. Pity sidesteps complexity in favor of narratives that we're comfortable with, reducing the nuances of a person's experience to a sound bite. - Author: Phil Klay
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#87. There's a very particular way that the military speaks. There's a lot of profanity and a lot of acronyms. - Author: Phil Klay
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#88. I don't want to act as though my deployment was particularly rough, because it wasn't. I had a very mild deployment; I was a staff officer. - Author: Phil Klay
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#89. I went straight from the Marine Corps to the MFA. The way that you would express things among Marines is somewhat different than the way you're supposed to express things in a creative-writing workshop. - Author: Phil Klay
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#90. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are as much every U.S. citizen's wars as they are the veterans' wars. If we don't assume that civilians have just as much ownership and the moral responsibilities that we have as a nation when we embark on something like that, then we're in a very bad situation. - Author: Phil Klay
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#91. The notion that war forever separates veterans from the rest of mankind has been long embedded in our collective consciousness. - Author: Phil Klay
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#92. We've got some PTSD vets," Sarah says, making it sound like she's keeping them in jars somewhere. - Author: Phil Klay
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#93. One of the things that's difficult for people to understand is when you join the military, you don't sign up as an endorsement of any particular policy of the moment. - Author: Phil Klay
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#94. late for that," said Major Zima. "Besides, if there's one thing I've learned doing Civil Affairs in Iraq, it's that it's hard to come in and change people's culture. - Author: Phil Klay
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#95. I'm not anti-war. I served in a war, and I served proudly. But just or not, necessary or not, war is the industrial-scale slaughter of other humans. - Author: Phil Klay
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#96. In the Marine Corps, you meet this really broad segment of the country; you're working with people from all kinds of backgrounds. And it exposes you to the American military, particularly the American military at war. - Author: Phil Klay
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#97. After the fighting is done, and even when it's still happening, apologies are often needed for the recounting of bare facts. Sometimes bare facts feel unpatriotic. - Author: Phil Klay
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#98. I literally went straight to New York City from Iraq, which was bizarre and complicated. I was walking down Madison Avenue, and it was spring, and people were smartly dressed, and it was so strange because there was no sense that we were at war. It was something to grapple with. - Author: Phil Klay
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#99. I'd been in college studying English creative writing and history when I made the decision to join the Marines in the runup to the Iraq war. - Author: Phil Klay
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#100. I suppose it is the lot of soldiers and Marines to be objectified according to the politics of the day and the mood of the American people about their war. - Author: Phil Klay
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