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Surfing to war

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By Donald Kirk

VIRGINIA BEACH ― Holiday crowds soak up the surf and sun while sailors and marines train for war in distant countries about which they know very little. A young marine, bored with the routine at one of the dozen or so facilities between this sprawling oceanside community and the huge naval base up the interstate at Norfolk, says in an idle moment he'd like to see what combat is like.

Reminded that he might not feel that way if cast in harm's way, he's not dissuaded. "I want to go," he insists as weekend visitors stroll by and the sounds of music reverberate from nearby clubs.

In an unreal world, it's hard to imagine visions of combat intruding into the lives of anyone here, including thousands of military people enjoying the perks of comfortable lifestyles and steady work. You have to return to Washington to realize the danger of stumbling into war beyond the brush fires that flare up periodically just about anywhere.

Not that you really believe Armageddon is at hand. The debate is abstract, the levels of danger, the imminence of anything really happening,........

© The Korea Times