Less than an hour after U.S. President Donald Trump paused between dessert courses at Mar-a-Lago to order a lethal air strike on an Iranian general last night, Staff Sergeant Treble Duaters was packing his bags and preparing to deploy to the latest in his third tours of re-elections.
“It is what it is,” the stoic soldier says, declining to say where he’s going, but nodding when asked if it has a q in it and rhymes with the word ‘distract’.
“From the moment we sign up, we all know that when the leader of our country comes due for a second term, we’ll be going somewhere far away to risk our lives killing people who have very little to do with any of that.”
Duaters was sent to Turkey in 2012 to help Obama look decisive in protecting allies from Assad. And as a fresh-faced man of 18 in 2004, he embarked on a mission to Yemen as part of George W. Bush’s once-declared-finished-but-still-going-16-years-later War On Terror.
“At least I know this will be my last re-election campaign,” the sergeant said, as he arrived at a bustling Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, in the dark hours of this morning.
“Some of these guys are young. Who knows where they could end up being sent over the course of their careers. North Korea? Canada? Space?”
He trails off for a minute as we approach the airfield from which he’ll be departing in just a few short hours, and then adds:
“But that’s what we gotta do. Keeping America great, right?”
It’s unclear whether he is saying this sincerely or ironically. In any event, he receives no answer.