Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
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"At first I hated these people," says Cpl. Nicholas Beitia, 22, of Elko, Nevada. He came under fire on his first day in Iraq, experienced the death of a comrade and was edgy at reports of ambushes and false surrenders. "It's scary when you're on the ground."
But he says the response from civilians, especially during his first house to house search Wednesday, drew unexpected responses - among them "the best tea I've ever tasted."
"My total attitude has changed," says Beitia, of the 1st Platoon, Echo Company of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
He says at the first house he entered, the civilians were terrified; he assumes they thought the invaders would murder the men, rape the women and plunder the house.
"Then I got down on my knee and gave their little girl a piece of chewing gum, the father was ecstatic. It was like I was saying I was not better than them. When I got I got down on my knee, they almost started to cry," says Beitia. "They brought us tea. There was a daughter in the house who could speak some English and they gave us some fresh pita bread."
The tea and the bread he recalls with a wistful grin since these Marines have had nothing but field rations for months.
He says the Iraqis in that first house then raced to neighbors' homes, telling them to open up so the Americans could conduct a search - and be on their way.
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