A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Sunday, February 19, 2006

We have Sent in the Marines

And they are doing the good work they always do.

AP: U.S. Marines Aid Philippine Recovery---

GUINSAUGON, Philippines - Several dozen U.S. Marines dug through thick mud with Philippine search teams Sunday at the site of a massive landslide as the prospect of finding survivors faded.

The men were part of a 1,000-strong Marine contingent aboard the USS Essex and the USS Harper's Ferry, which sailed to the coast of Southern Leyte province after the Philippines asked Washington to divert some forces that recently arrived for joint military exercises.

Wearing camouflage, they hopped onto a bulldozer that carried them across a shallow stream and to the 100-acre stretch of mud that covered the farming village of Guinsaugon after the side of an neighboring mountain collapsed Friday.

The men used shovels, like Philippine troops and volunteers, out of concern that heavier equipment could cause the unstable mud to shift dangerously.

"Safety is a big concern," said Capt. Jeff O'Donnell of New Orleans, who said that, while his home was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, "This is my first time to see anything like this."

The Marines had hoped to work through the night, but found their flashlights weren't bright enough to cut through the gloom.

By the end of the day, about 200 Marines were on the ground, with hundreds more expected to come ashore Monday.

Escorted by Philippine soldiers, a team of armed Marines surveyed the site earlier Sunday to determine how they could best assist recovery efforts.

U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Edward Rushing spoke with the highest-ranking Philippine military officer at the scene, Lt. Col. Raul Farnacio, who said he would need mining equipment.

The Americans also set up a water purification system and were working on another.
I daresay we will still be criticized for not doing enough, not sending enough aid or people or money, not moving fast enough. This happens every time.

And, yet, we still keep on giving. The United States is generous beyond obligation. If only the world realized this.