NPR visits with Arkansas’s redeployed 39th Infantry Brigade in Iraq. It brings home some of the darker side of heroic sacrifices. Staff Sgt. Kevin Kimmey is quoted:
“I can’t say the war is right or wrong, but I can say I’ve never seen some people needed killing more than some of the people over here,” he says. “And when I say that, I mean it in the most sincere way I can. … I’ve seen true evil over here. And, yeah, maybe we made a mistake coming over here, but we’re here and we need to finish.”
Kimmey’s commander, Capt. Ronnie Denton, tried to soften those remarks, and Kimmey apparently was reprimanded later.
Denton says the personal cost of the repeated deployments has been high.
“I don’t have a house anymore. … You’re just more or less a Guard bum,” he says. “You try to find National Guard jobs. Because every time I get a job, trying to coach basketball or something else, the National Guard just pulls you in to go somewhere or do this for so long.”
“We’re all divorced, too,” Kimmey says. When someone counters that not everyone is divorced, Kimmey adds, “Pretty much,” sparking laughter.
But as the veterans will tell you, it’s really no laughing matter.