Found out that an American friend I met in Damascus, Omar, is leaving for basic training this week. Yes, O. joined the Army. Huge, surprising, and somewhat frightening news. He still has several months of basic followed by officer's training, but he will eventually be deployed, of course.
Even though I will worry about him, the Army will be a better institution for having him in it. Even more important than his language skills, so desperately needed on the ground, we'll be sending the world one great guy who truly believes he can make a positive difference.
So, here's to my friend, Omar. Safe travels.