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In the shadow of the ongoing wars on terror, the US public domain is saturated with references to a military-civilian divide. So, too, is it replete with talk about soldier trauma, a pervasive framework through which the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan appear in the public domain. This chapter considers the ways in which these two phenomena act in concert to interpellate the American public—referred to as “civilians,” a figure that the chapter explores—to the call of war. Rather than understanding state secrecy as the only—or even as the primary—obstacle to a critical and participatory democratic citizenship, the chapter suggests such analyses can operate as alibis for political inaction. The American public, the chapter maintains, knows more than enough to engage in a robust critique of American militarism, if only it were to choose—and were authorized—to care.

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