Friday, December 7, 2007

sniper story ties Michigan to Iraq

While traveling recently I overheard the brief exchange between jet passengers waiting to de-plane. One middle-aged man perceived the younger man to be a member of the U.S. military who was on leave from his assignment. The older man said, "thanks for serving" and the younger man acknowledged this, then added, "we don't get that [recognition] enough." The older one asked whether the soldier was visiting family members, and indeed that was the case. The soldier volunteered that he was to be deployed to Iraq in early 2008 for a 13 month assignment and further said that at least his job was a "good job." He went on to say he was a sniper who was prepared to shoot a person 2000 meters away!

Later at the airport curbside I recognized him leaving with a small older woman who could have been his mother or aunt. The contrast between his casual comment about killing and now the comforts of him going home with (perhaps) his family gave me a mild shock. Come early 2008, when this service member is settled in to do his job, there may be someone there today whose life will end at that date when an order is given and the young man pulls his trigger. Of course, in armed conflicts, though, things can go the other way, too: by accident or according to the enemy's plan.

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