Redeployment by Phil Klay:
“I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to keep Marines alive,” the sergeant major said, haranguing the men only a few days afterward, “and the fact of the matter is, when a Marine comes in and he wasn’t wearing his PPE when he was hit, because it’s hot, and he doesn’t want to wear it while he’s at the OP, I’m the one who’s got to say the thing nobody wants to say.”
Levin had been hit in the neck. PPE wouldn’t have helped. But I guess the sergeant major, like most people, needed death to be sensible. A reason for each casualty. I’d seen the same feeble theodicy at funerals in the civilian world. If lung disease, the deceased should be a smoker. If heart disease, a lover of red meat. Some sort of causality, no matter how tenuous, to sanitize it. As if mortality is a game with rules where the universe is rational and the God watching over maneuvers us like chess pieces, His fingers deep into the sides of the world.