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This irony exists for the soldiers because when they see how quickly death can come for anyone of them, they also see just how precious life is for them. Note how earlier when Ted Lavender is killed how it changes the men. Lt. Cross, in particular, has a greater appreciation for life, mainly the lives of his men.
Remember too the soldiers are under incredible amounts of stress. This stress, a long with the fact that each man is responsible, directly and indirectly, for the lives of his platoon members, helps bond the men together like never before.
This is but one of the many ironic statements O'Brien uses in this work.
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