--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "Alex Stanley" 
> http://tinyurl.com/n73rh
> Great article on Salon.com by Anthony Bourdain, who had just arrived
> in Beirut to tape a show.

There's much to break the heart in that
piece, but this is the part that really
got me.  He's describing his and his crew's
evacuation from Beirut:

...We are put in the charge of the sailors and Marines of the USS 
Nashville who've hauled ass from Jordan on short notice to undertake 
a mission for which they are unrehearsed and inexperienced. Yet they 
perform brilliantly. The moment we pass through the last checkpoint 
into their control, all are treated with a kindness and humanity we 
can scarcely believe. Squared away, efficient, organized and caringly 
sensitive, the Marines break the crowd into sensibly spaced groups, 
give them shade and water, lead them single file to an open-ended 
landing craft at the water's edge. They carry babies, children, heat-
stroke victims, luggage. They are soft-spoken, casually friendly. 
They give out treats and fruit and water. They reassure us with their 
ease and professionalism. 

On the flight deck of the USS Nashville they've set up a refugee 
camp. I wake up on my folding cot and look around. With every group 
of traumatized evacuees -- with every family, every group of 
children, there's a Marine or two, chatting, exchanging stories, 
listening. They open their ship to us. They look so young. All of 
them. None looks over 17. "Where you from?" one asks me. I say, "New 
York" -- and he tells me, "I ain't ever been there. I'd like to." His 
friends agree. They've never seen New York either.

The mess serves tuna noodle casserole and mac and cheese and corn 
dogs. A sailor or Marine in a bright green dragon suit entertains 
children. We are kept informed. We are reassured. We are spoken to 
like adults. On the smoking deck, a Marine shows off a Reuter's cover 
photo -- taken only a few hours earlier -- of himself, nuzzling two 
babies as he carries them through the surf to the landing craft. His 
buddies are razzing him, busting his balls for how intolerably big-
headed he's going to be -- now that he's "famous." He looks at the 
picture and says, "You don't know what it felt like, man." His eyes 
well up.

There was a story on NBC News the other
night to somewhat the same effect, about
U.S. troops taking care of the refugees.
One Navy lieutenant said, "It's awesome.
I've been in the Navy 20 years, a little
over 20, and this is about the highlight
of it.  This is just awesome, to make a
real difference in people's lives."

It's surely not just U.S. soldiers who
have this response to the opportunity to
help people rather than kill them.  What
a perfectly ghastly waste, in so many

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