Doctor Pat Smith, my Idol in Vietnam

This indomitable, blunt-talking woman, whom my Montagnard friends called "ya pogang tih" - big grandmother of medicine, had besieged the Catholic Relief Services in 1972, trying to return to the war zone, where she had worked almost day and night, experiencing 13 years of terror, disease, squalor, frustration and triumph.
During her unselfish devotion to the poor in that region, where I had spent several months advising the 748 Regional Forces Company, at Ngo Trang, several miles north of Kontum, I had visited her facility in downtown Kontum a few times. She seemed irascible, and she was, but then, how do you control your temper, when you spend almost twenty hours, seven days a week, in a primitive and non-sterile environment, treating desperate patients whose only hope for survival is that you drive yourself daily to the point of exhaustion?Had she been Catholic, I suspect that she would have been very high on the path to sainthood by now.


France, Great Britain Against War with Russia

French President Nicolas Sarcozy and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown led the European Union leaders against US proposed sanctions for Russia's "invasion" of Georgia's breakaway province, which was necessitated by that province's war against ethnic Russians.