According to Petit, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 25 to prove himself a true male. He was sent to Beirut in early 1983 with an amphibious unit to join the multinational peacekeeping force, in place since the previous year. He and other members of his unit quickly concluded that their task was futile: the warring Christian and Muslim elements in Lebanon did not seek compromise; they wanted only to fight each other and did not consider that their country might collapse as a result. The Marines stayed in place at the Beirut airport, the targets of bullets, until on Oct. 23, 1983, a car bomb exploded at their headquarters, killing 241 men. Petit's conclusion is that there was no purpose, no ``meaningful and enduring reason'' for their sacrifice, and that the U.S. commitment of forces to Lebanon was a major error. (April 25)
Petit, Marine Corps corporal (retired), survived the devastating bombing at tack on the Marine base in Beirut on 23 October 1983. Peacekeepers is his ac count of what he saw in that peacekeep ing effort as part of the 24th Marine Am phibious Unit (MAU), assigned the responsibility of representing the Unit ed States as part of the Multinational Peacekeeping Forces. For the most part, this is a tale of being a Marine in the mid-1980s: people called upon to be ac tors in global politics which are under standable only to the cognoscenti. His recounting of the bombing, its frantic aftermath, and the moods of the survi vors is real and moving. Recommended for large collections in this area. David P. Snider, Casa Grande P.L., Ariz.