In response to:

Twenty Years of Outsourced War from the October 19, 2023 issue

To the Editors:

I take serious issue with the sweeping generalizations Suzy Hansen makes in her review of two books by Phil Klay [“Twenty Years of Outsourced War,” NYR, October 19] with regard to Americans’ ignorance and lack of concern about the wars the US continually perpetrates.

When she says “Americans’ relationship to…recent wars [is] one of indifference or ignorance,” she is erasing the millions of us who did everything we could to prevent the Iraq War, who railed against our involvement in Afghanistan for twenty full years, who pushed President Biden to pull back from Yemen.

What more would Hansen have had us do? Yes, I suppose, we could have engaged in extreme acts of civil disobedience, or even revolutionary violence, to try and stop these atrocities—but if that is her argument, she would presumably be writing to us from a jail cell instead of her comfortable office.

Millions of Americans understand that US foreign policy is generally brutal, violent, and unjust—and we act on this knowledge all the time, to the best of our ability, within the system we have inherited. It is one of the more hopeful aspects of contemporary American political life. Before you make generalizations about ugly Americans, please at least acknowledge that.

Wesley H. Clark, MD, MPH
Middlebury, Vermont