ADVANTAGES

I avoided looking over at my husband, but I wondered what he was thinking: He’d gone into the Army, in part, to better understand his country and to serve it, but it had become increasingly difficult for me to see where he stood politically when it came to this war. I knew he was still an NPR-listening Independent. But I also knew he believed war is a necessary part of human existence, and that certain men, athletic, disciplined men like him seeking adventure, were made to fight for their country. Since joining the Army, politics, for him, had lost their sheen. He was dedicated now to more primal values and emotions, emotions that tend to leave fewer open questions: loyalty, protection, fidelity, love. It came down, in many ways, to his job: As an enlisted man in the Rangers, he was not beholden to politics, as officers are. He was beholden to the men above him and the mission and that was all—that is the narrow world enlisted men are trained to look at, and there is a beautiful simplicity to it.

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