Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

I met a man last week that is set to go on his fourth tour of duty in the middle east. He is a friend of a friend. He is a member of the National Guard and a civilian contractor for the defense department. He does logistics and is also trained as a medic. Oh, and he is 57 years old and really does not want to go at all this time.

He was stressed out about this situation and his dejected demeanor broke my heart.

I asked him if his attitude was representative of the rest of those serving. He told me that the only “gung-ho, guns and glory” group was the young kids, 18 or 19 years old. They were fired up and ready for war. The older men and women, especially those who have had multiple tours were wondering why we were still there and what we hoped to accomplish.  He felt that they almost all shared his opinion that we should declare victory and say sorry to the Afghans and come home. The death of bin Laden, in his view, was the perfect excuse.

He has been in and around the military his whole adult life. His first tour was in Kuwait where he spent 6 months alone sitting in something like a forest ranger lookout tower. He wondered who the medics and the logicians were and what the heck they posted him to the tower for. He didn’t see anyone but the occasional re-supplier the entire time. At that point he was willing to tell himself that the military didn’t always make the obvious assignments.

Now staring at his 4th deployment he is sad and disillusioned. “Why are we still there?” he asks us. “Why?”

I sure wish someone could give this man a good answer. All I could give him was a hug and the promise of emails.

Reader Comments Welcome.