LEBANON: Katrina-Style Response –updated–
What's going on in Lebanon?
Last night, Anderson Cooper talked about French ships coming in to rescue people,
as well as Greeks and the Swedes transporting
people out, with Americans being taken out by these foreign ships, too.
was our government?
The response is just now beginning. Americans are writing in to newspapers, with headlines of “pay as you go rescue,” while also seeing similarities between Bush's response to Katrina and what's currently happening in Lebanon. It's shameful.
… Many of those aboard were relieved to depart, after complaints
of slow action by the United States compared to European countries that sent
cruise ships, ferries and warships over the past three days to move out thousands.
Americans Flee Lebanon on Ship
We heard this just a few days ago:
Beyond U.S. resources
At the State Department, McCormack said the cost of a massive evacuation
was beyond U.S. resources. He said evacuated Americans would be asked to pay
commercial rates, and if they did not have the money to promise to pay in
U.S. citizens remain in dark
Official: Operation costs more than available resources
It wasn't until the Democratic
leader Nancy Pelosi stepped in that anything happened.
“The immediate risk to American lives also means this is no time for
quibbling over payment for evacuation. Whatever resources are needed to assist
Americans in danger in Lebanon must be provided. Americans should not be held
hostage by a requirement to sign an agreement to repay transportation costs
before evacuation. A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a
war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon.
“I call upon the President to remove one worry from the minds of stranded
American citizens in Lebanon and their families back home by declaring immediately
that their country will bear the costs of bringing them to safety.”
– Leader Pelosi
After Democratic pressure, the Bush administration reversed
course, but it hasn't been pretty.
U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey D. Feltman said 1,000 more Americans will leave Wednesday.
“We at the embassy don't have the experience to move a lot of people.
Luckily, the U.S. government does,” he said. “Security and safe
travel were what's on our minds.”
By the end of the week, the evacuation will proceed at a pace of 1,000 Americans
a day, he said, without elaborating.
It would seem to me that in an embassy located in Lebanon or anywhere in the
Middle East, one of the priorities would be knowing what to do in a crisis.
It's not like this comes as a surprise in this part of the world.
UPDATE: This article was just emailed to me. It's heartbreaking: Desperate choices inside Lebanon
UPDATE II: Tony Snow, in his briefing this morning, was asked about the lack of intelligence on knowing missile capabilities of Hezbollah. His response? He's still waiting for his security clearance. Maybe someone should put a rush on this, ya think?
UPDATE III: Rep. Conyers lets rip over Bush inaction in Lebanon.