Payment in Kind

"Escape From Lebanon" (January 2007) added some background to my own evaluation of and participation in the American evacuation, and also brought back a lot of memories. Good ones, thanks.

One thing you mentioned, and I want to reinforce, was the unfailing kindness and patience and good will of every single American serviceman and woman whom we met. We spent our time with sailors, Marines and airmen, enlisted and commissioned, and they all went out of their way to see that we were taken care of. I have to add that many of our fellow evacuees were more Lebanese than American, and, as a group, were not especially aware or appreciative of what they were getting.

I started my blog, http://toughtimesbeirut.blogspot.com, to keep friends and family informed. I have moved on to another topic now, but the earlier posts are all about our time in Lebanon and the evacuation.

Robert W. Easton
American Community School

In "Escape from Lebanon," the costs of evacuation are probably more than $10 million, judging from the incomplete numbers provided. Since the State Department waived evacuee reimbursement requirements (proper in this case), I suggest that the complete bill be sent to Israel, which started the war and forced the evacuation. Two kidnapped soldiers is not justification for committing to all-out war and destroying Lebanon's infrastructure. Since we send Israel well over $3 billion a year in foreign aid, they shouldn't have any trouble paying us back with our own money.

James Trent Corbett

Piercing Comments

I totally agree with Tom Sullivan's letter to the editor in the January issue about "Generation Passion" (December 2006). Government should use all its resources, whether they are male or female, whatever race, young, not-so-old or not-so-young. A team should be composed of many and different elements. We go to war with different looks to accomplish one goal-victory.

As for Mike Tarman's dismal portrayal of the young woman with the nose stud and multiple earrings, she is neat and professional-looking. As long as the basics are in place, why is this type of appearance so distracting and threatening? Everyone is entitled to personal likes and dislikes. Sometimes change is difficult to embrace, but it definitely is going to happen. Get over it.

These young people and those not-so young must make the team concept work, if we as an American society intend to move forward. They add to our "combat multiplier" concept-just like air power, tanks, ships, infantry, medics and the like, which look a bit different, but make the team.

H-James Young
I have to agree with Mike Tarman, whose letter to the editor regarding the picture on the cover of the December issue was right on. I was taken by surprise by the young lady's aggressive pose, then noticed the metallic adornments. This gothic garb might be OK for a nightclub frequented by doom and gloom types, but it's unacceptable for the professional workplace we're trying to maintain in federal civil service.

But, maybe that was her intent all along. There are people out there with nothing better to do than shock others by what they say, do and wear. They walk among us.

Thomas D. Heffernan
Eglin AFB, Fla.
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