Tuesday, July 18, 2006
U.S. response exasperating for some Americans
We spent the day in Cyprus tracking the latest efforts to get Americans out of Lebanon.

The U.S. government says it has evacuated more than 100 Americans, but their efforts are clearly lagging behind those of other countries. The French and Italians have gotten hundreds of their citizens out.

Some of the Americans who have made it out are clearly exasperated with the U.S. response. You see them checking into Larnaca's beachfront hotels tired, frustrated, and a little stunned at what they've been through.

I just finished interviewing one American woman with three young children. The kids were bouncing on the bed of their hotel room, oblivious to the nightmare they just escaped.

Their mother was lucky. She was able to get a spot on a Marine Corps chopper and has a ticket back to New York in a few hours.

"I don't know how they are going to get all those people out," she told me.

The United States has a number of ships en route and chopper flights will continue, but getting people out means crossing a logistical minefield.

Another ship may arrive with more evacuees tonight while we are on the air, but it's hard to predict exact arrival times.

We will bring you the latest tonight on the evacuations. We'll also check-in with CNN correspondents for the latest news from Lebanon, Israel, Syria and the rest of the region.

As for tomorrow, there's no telling where we will be. This is a fast-moving story and we are trying to bring it to you from as many angles as possible.

I'm curious to hear your perspective. Do you think what Israel is doing is legitimate? Should the United States push for a ceasefire? Or is the Bush administration's current approach appropriate?
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 5:40 PM ET
Is destroying an entire country's infrastructure in order to restore "deterence" legitimate ? Of course not.
But Israel is not doing anything the US hasn't already done in Iraq - and at least Israel has the excuse of the kidnapped soldiers.

The US should demand a cease-fire as long as Syria and Iran reign in Hezbollah. The US should busy itself with forcing the parties involved (and that includes Israel) to come to an agreement, any agreement.

The US should stop unconditionally subsidizing Israel's military adventures - right after we stop subsidizing our own misadventure in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Carlos, Olympia, WA : 6:02 PM ET
Whenever innocents are killed it is wrong. Killing in the name of installing, preserving, creating 'democracy' is wrong. What good is democracy to a person when they are no longer alive. The World should say 'enough' and call for a cease fire on all sides. Democracy cannot be forced down people's throats -- that is NOT democracy. It angers me when the politicians say that they are concerned about saving the Lebanon 'government'. Where are the politicians that should be concerned about saying 'human lives'.
Posted By Anonymous Lia, Houston, Texas : 6:03 PM ET
It strikes me as ironic how the Bush administration-- who wants us to believe they dismiss the low poll numbers they get-- are now taking an all-too-cautious role in this current international crisis.

They're wanting American citizens to forget about mistakes made in Iraq and focus narrowly on what I'm waiting for Republicans to spin as "being cautious about Israel".

This marks yet another time this year where the Bush administration's response time has failed to impress me, and come election day, I definitely won't forget.
Posted By Anonymous Wendy, Dresden, TN : 6:07 PM ET
Israel is flexing it's muscles a bit, and they have every right to. The Lebanese government doesn't have the power to fight Hezbollah themselves, and Syria doesn't want to get involved for fear of the US attaching both Syria and Iran under the cover of supporting Israel. Israel must stand up and show the whole world that they will fight for their land and their people. They can not be bullied, by taking hostages. It is very unfortunate that civilians will pay the price. I'm hopeful that countries from around the world will be willing to assist with humanitarian aid vs. military might. I'm also grateful for reporters and crews like you who face danger to bring us the truth, so that we might really understand what others are experiencing. Good luck to you and thank you.

P.S. The U.S. tax payer doesn't want to pay to evacuate our citizens in Lebanon?? How selfish, unpatriotic and greedy can we be????
Posted By Anonymous Kelsi, Chicago, IL : 6:08 PM ET
No human being can say that what Israel is doing has anything to do with legimate! it would simply be a paradox!
To me, Israel had the green light from Bush to kill, bomb and destroy without obeying to any international laws.... Israel would've never went that far without US support. When the #1 power and "Democracy" in the world attacked Iraq based on a lies and fabricated facts, created a mess and justified it...I don't think they're in a position to ask Israel not to follow the same!
Posted By Anonymous Isabelle, NY, NY : 6:16 PM ET
What I don't understand is how the U.S. government took so long in getting our citizens out of harm's way. It's unethical to ask a person to pay for the ability to get out of harm's way. That should be the government's PRIORITY, they shouldn't be acting like it's a chore or like these people are bargaining chips. What irks me, is that the American government doesn't seem to want to take responsibility for seeing after its citizens safety and well-being, whether it's here in America during a hurricane or overseas when a war unexpectedly erupts. Regardless, people do not travel to visit family or perform a job (unless it is with the military/armed forces) with the express expectation of being caught in the crossfire when WAR suddenly erupts. I believe that the American citizens stuck in Lebanon, even Israel, should not be expected to pay to be evacuated from a place when war erupts. do the French charge their nationals to leave a country when trouble erupts? I guess we can act all 'better' than the French when they criticize us, but we can't BE better than them when it comes to taking care of our own citizens. Take up a collection for crying out loud, ask for donations- THESE ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS AT RISK, the very least our government can do is spend a few tax dollars actually pulling OUT of a country we shouldn't be in. I'd donate a few dollars to help someone get out of Lebanon if it meant they got to live. And the fact that they're being charged because a cruise ship is coming in to get them...maybe the government should use our tax dollars to comp these people a cruise; afterall, after what they've been through...they deserve it.
Good job reporting on the story, Anderson. My prayers are with you.
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Chicago IL : 6:17 PM ET
Seldom do I agree with Pres Bush but in this case I do. It's about time somebody goes after the terrorists; the U.S. is doing a dismal job. Israel has a lot to lose, considering the threats to be wiped off the face of the earth. Let them do the job that Bush has just been playing with in all his years in office. Personally, I think Israel is a bit of a bully, but they have the right to fight for their own survival. The abduction of the soldiers is an excuse to do what they've had the right to do for as long as they've been threatened with extinction.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 6:19 PM ET
I firmly believe Israel is justified in their actions to defend themselves and get rid of Hezbollah which many countries would like to see happen but only Israel has the courage to take them on. The Bush response so far is admirable. Just hope he continues.
Posted By Anonymous Rita Wolfson, Aventura, Fla. : 6:22 PM ET
Hey Anderson,
I am torn about what is going on in the Middle East. I watch news from the Middle East and it is always interesting to see how the news from Arab nations differ from the news from Israel. I am frustrated with both sides! I also feel great sympathy for the Lebanese people....I am trying to see if there is any way that I can help the civilians(regardless of which side of the conflict they are on).

P.S. Stay safe and remember "there is no shame in taking cover!"
Posted By Anonymous Nix, Miami, Florida : 6:29 PM ET
Why is the United States allowing Israel to hit the Lebanese Army, if they really want them to retake control of south Lebanon?!! Several bases have been deliberately targeted within the last two days. It does not make sense!
Posted By Anonymous Elissar Batour-Eid : 6:29 PM ET
Hezbolla has to go! Period.
It will be good for the Lebanese, the US and the Israelis and the rest of the civilized world.
Ultimately without Hezbolla there will be no strings the Iranians or Syrians will be able to pull.
This is a new front on terrorism and in the fight against terrorism there are no half victories!
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Edison NJ : 6:29 PM ET
I've lived overseas for 30 years--all over the world, some places perilous. I knew the risks. Anyone around the world who depends on the U.S. to rescue them after seeing the Katrina debacle should move to Kansas after they've finished complaining.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 6:29 PM ET
Yes, What Israel is doing is legitimate. Israel is defending themselves against terrorism and unprovoked attacks from Hezbollah.
Israel, as a democratic country has an obligation to protect its citizens.
Israel did not ask for Hamas and Hezbollah to kidnap their soldiers and send rockets towards their cities and innocent civilians.
Almost one year ago, Israel left Gaza hoping to attain peace. Over the past year the people of Israel have been the target of hundreds of attacks that have killed and maimed innocent civilians which are specifically targeted by Hamas and Hezbollah and funded by Iran and Syria.
Peace and stability can only be achieved when terrorism ends once and for all. Israel and democratic countries must stand up together against terrorism.
Posted By Anonymous James Land , Hartford Ct : 6:30 PM ET
Hey Anderson,

Good to hear from you. Like I said earlier, US response seems the same like it did during Katrina. I do not see what is the delay in action. Why can't there be a quicker response. They are trying to help other Americans, right. I can't see the reason for delay.

Well, do your best. Good luck and be safe
Posted By Anonymous Sonu, T, New Orleans, LA : 6:31 PM ET
Let me ask you a question Anderson. Is Lebanon or Hezbollah going to return the hostages? Then Israel can do what it sees fit to resolve the issue, just as the US is doing in Iraq.

The US needs to stay out the fight, I'd say they have their hands full in the world right now, besides they can't get their own people out of the region, I wouldn't think they can say anything.

Doubtful this will get posted to save room for the fawning public.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Canada : 6:32 PM ET
Countries like Iran and Lebanon that continue to harbor terrorists group cannot expect to be immune to retribution for supporting violence against another state or people.

Israel would be quite foolish if it were not to act quickly to eliminate Hezbollah's stockpile of 10,000 rockets that it is actively launching over the northern border.

And whose fault is it that the people of Lebanon allow for a major terrorists group to operate openly within their borders. That destruction happening now is that natural outcome of what happens when you make friends with a violent sect of people.
Posted By Anonymous B Hall, Carlsbad CA : 6:32 PM ET
I think that as soon as everyone who wants to depart Lebanon is gone, Israel will go in with all it's force. Is it ligitmate? Israel has always done want they want and will keep doing so even as the world watches.
Posted By Anonymous Susan, Newark, Delaware : 6:33 PM ET
Israel is in an intractable position. A generation of Arab leaders have hijacked the Palestinian cause as a means to divert attention from the suffering of their own people and their inability or lack of desire to improve the quality of life of their own citizenry. Why therefore would Iran or Syria have any interest in a resolution when not one drop of Iranian or Syrian blood has been shed in the past week?
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Toronto : 6:35 PM ET
We shouldn't get too involved with Israel and Hezbollah. We're spreading ourselves thin as it is with Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to watch our backs and not forget about North Korea, a larger threat with a larger force.
Posted By Anonymous Cordelia, Charleston, SC : 6:38 PM ET
They have fought amongst themselves for generations upon generations..This may never change..however, Israel has a right to do what they have to do to protect their own. We can only pray our country doesn't get involved in the war with more of our own young men and women..let them fight it out..hate breeds hate and we as a God fearing country need to stay out of this one...and care for those at home and at abroad trying to get home. God Bless This Great Country of Ours!!!
Posted By Anonymous Kay Dawn, Reyno Arkansas : 6:38 PM ET
Never forget.

I believe in the survival of Israel. I view Israel's survival as a sanctuary and an absolute. Unfortunately, this is something I am unwilling, and unable, to reason about.

You asked.
Posted By Anonymous Nancy, Boston, MA : 6:39 PM ET
The U.S. should be pushing for a ceasefire, but the nations involved, us included, aren't finished trying to prove whose is bigger, yet.

I for one, feel the same way about the Middle East as I felt about Catholics and Protestants in Ireland many years ago. Enough is enough. Let's all stop pretending the fight is over God and just admit it's about terriority and power.

The U.S. has no discernable policy. We can't even figure out how to get a few thousand people evacuated from Lebanon. Then again, we couldn't figure out that pesky evacuation thing in New Orleans, either.

The Bush administration is hoping that Israel will deal a death blow to Hezbollah, but anyone with any rational thought understands that gun barrel diplomacy is doomed to failure. All that death breeds is contempt and more death.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon, Elma, New York 14059 : 6:41 PM ET
While I support Israel's right to defend themselves against terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, I wonder if this has truly become a disproportionate response when the Israeli government vows that the air strikes will continue and that sending ground troops into Lebanon is not out of the question.

The cost of this conflict in human lives and suffering on both sides is immeasurable. The international community as a whole should be calling for a cease-fire and taking a more aggressive stance in developing a solution in the region. The longer the world leaders debate the problem and utter obscenities into opens mics, the more people suffer in this region.

Good reporting Anderson. Stay safe and congratulations on the Emmy nominations announced today.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Kansas City, MO : 6:43 PM ET
Well, none of my comments ever seem to make it onto the blog, but I guess I'll give it one more try.

First, thanks again for checking in, Anderson. You are not going to chase any more rockets, are you?

Regarding your questions: Geez, Anderson, why do you always have to ask the hard ones?

As to the slow evacuation of Americans, doesn't that eerily look like the Katrina aftermath? And we can't even blame FEMA this time. The fact that other countries manage to evacuate their people a lot faster is further proof of the inept federal government on all levels. Their excuse seems to be that it takes longer to organize evacuations for more people and they keep throwing the figure 25,000 around, although they know that not all Americans want to leave. It also seems odd to me that Americans have to pay for their evacuations, whereas other nationals do not. What if you can't afford it?

As to your question regarding the legitimacy of Israel's action: Who could possibly justify wiping out an entire country and killing hundreds or thousands of civilians because of two kidnapped soldiers? As we heard on CNN, the U.S. does not want a ceasefire because they want Israel to destroy the Hezbollah. Who cares about the Lebanese casualties? Bush sure doesn't seem to give a damn about them. But then he didn't care about the people in New Orleans and the Gulf region either. And they were Americans.

Please take care, Anderson, and stay safe!
Posted By Anonymous Monika, Eagar, AZ : 6:44 PM ET
And we should be surprised! This is remincent of the aftermath following Katrina. What are the people in charge doing, waiting for someone else to foot the bill. Imagine the helplessness these people must feel, like their own Government has betrayed them. This is just one more strike against the Bush administration, and the whole republican party. Also congratu to the hardworking men and women who are trying their best to get people out of there.
Posted By Anonymous Bev.Whitby, Ontario,CANADA : 6:46 PM ET
I don't know why the U.S government didn't respond sooner for the stranded Americans in Lebanon. I think that they should have sent boats in earlier instead of waiting last minute.

As for the questions..I don't know what else Israel could possibly do other than what they are doing. If they try to placate Hezbollah by giving up the prisoners than the group may feel that whenever there is a conflict they can just break out the rockets and Isreal will concede.

As for the question if the U.S should force for ceasefire..I don't know. I mean..It's not our war to fight or end is it? We should just let these two countries settle it. The way I see it is if we forcefully end it than in the future, maybe a year, maybe fifty years who knows, but in the future another argument will arise and all of the bunched up tension between the two countries will be unleashed.

Great entry, and I'll look forward to see what else you have to say tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Ann, Millbury, Ma. : 6:47 PM ET
I think it's gone too far especially now that civilians are stuck in the middle of this and there is so much destruction. We can't even get our evacuees out in a timely manner but I don't think this should all land on the US's shoulders either. All the countries need to unite and push for an end to this...
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 6:48 PM ET
We should be pushing for a ceasefire, and no what Israel is doing is not legitimate or "proportional." This is just madness. The people of Lebanon were just getting their lives back, just rebuilding. The citizens of both countries - Israel and Lebanon deserve better than this.

Hey Anderson, on a different note, I have heard stories (via The Guardian) that the US Gov't is asking evacuees to sign pledges to pay back the government for the evacuation. Is this true?
Posted By Anonymous Mary B, Seattle, WA : 6:49 PM ET
Israel is like the individual who has had a really horrible day and needs to kick something. Except, of course, for Israel, their bad day has been going on continuiously for centuries. Hell...it's been going on since Biblical times. And their parallel to kicking is attacking the infrastructure of a threatening entity. Israel has laid down long enough; they are the doormat of the Middle East, and it's about time they earned a little respect, no?

Unfortunately, I do not have faith that Hezbolla will ever release the Israeli soldiers (if they are, indeed, still living, which is a very real possibility), therefore, I do not beleive a ceasefire will happen. The abductions were the "tipping point", if you will. They'd taken too much s**t for way too long from Hezbolla (and everyone else, frankly). This was exactly what Israel was looking for; their golden opportunity. I do not like the violence, but I believe it is just. And obviously it is Lebanon who's taking the beating, here, simply because Hezbola doesn't have advanced weaponry; FNC's Bill Hemmer nearly got his head blown off by a missile sent from Hezbolla to Northrn Israel because it landed in the field they were reporting from. So honestly, I'm wondering how long it will take for the guilty party to fold their cards; Israel has already called their bluff.
Posted By Anonymous Abby, St. Louis, MO : 6:53 PM ET
I think the Middle East crisis has a long history and complicated. I admit I don't truly understand the whole story and I wonder if President Bush does as well. Anyway, I believe Israel does have the right to get their soldiers back. They can use this chance to eliminate Hezbollah threats for good.
I think we need to push for a ceasefire but we should not do it alone. We should do it together with other world leaders.
Posted By Anonymous Chew, Houston TX : 6:53 PM ET

Thanks for all the updates, I love your style of reporting.

The way I see it is there is the story on the left, a story on the right, and the truth is somewhere in between.

What makes it hard is all of the civilians of those countries and the visitors from others...someone has to get involved?!
Posted By Anonymous Angie, Vancouver Canada : 6:58 PM ET
Is bombing civilians an appropriate response from Israel? No. Does Israel have a right to defend itself from Hezbolla aggression? Yes. So what is the solution? You tell us.
Posted By Anonymous Brigitte M. Montreal, Canada : 6:58 PM ET
Hi Anderson

Ofcourse Israel have the right to go after Hizbollah and their hideouts, weapen caches ect.

Do they IDF have the right to level a whole nabourhood, knock out the power in Lebanon, smash the infrastructure, powerplants, airport and cars/trucks leaving Beirut.

No way .. in my opinion that is state terrorism.

Altho it is more embaressing that USA have laid out a carte blanche to do this.

Is this the "stronger nation can do what it wants logic" that are in place here?

Look at Stalin, he killed as many if not more people than the Nazists.
Seems like nobody ever took much notice as he was one of the winners.
Posted By Anonymous Mikael, Denmark : 6:59 PM ET
I do not think that Israel should be allowed to hold the Lebanese people and foreign nationals hostage in this situation. There was no need for Israel to immediately isolate Lebanon, bombing the airport, setting up the naval blockade and cutting off the road to Danmascus, so that neither Lebanese innocents nor foreign nationals could flee to safety. Israel is walking more than a fine line here. I do not support terrorism nor do I support any kind of violence, particularly state violence based on the "right to defend itself. The American administration lost the moral high ground when they invaded Iraq on the same pretext, now Israel is doing the same. While everyone agrees that Hezbollah's attack on Israeli territory and the kidnapping of 2 soldiers was wrong, Israel's insistance on destroying Lebanon once again should not be tolerated. There is aggravation and then there is provocation. Hezbollah's acts were aggravating not provocating. The fact that the US is allowing this to continue, no matter the "collateral" damage, only underlines that the Bush administration is morally bankrupt. Believe me I am not very happy about the Harper (Canadian) government's position either but Harper is truly proving himself a Bush clone.

By the way, since when did "collateral" in the English language include human lives; lives of innocent children, women, men who have no hand in the current conflict?
Posted By Anonymous Robin, Montreal, Quebec : 7:00 PM ET
I think it's all really embarrassing that once again the country is lagging behind to do what is best for our country's folk. I mean I don't know what the hold up is. If it's the Lebannese or Syrian governments that are interfering then I think we need to start thinking of what will be best for those people and not worry about the politics around it all. I'm sure we've got a few helicopters flying around those neighboring countries to spare for the evacuation.
I think that what Isreal is doing is legitimate, I mean they are indeed protecting themselves and their sovernity, but I think it's about time for the U.S. to get it's head out of all the wars, and what we think is right for ourselves, and if we want to take a part, then do what is right for the world. It's about time we use our power for good, I mean maybe I've seen Superman Returns a few too many times, but instead of egging on these other countries, and worring about old allies, and how it all fits into the economy, maybe we should do what is most important. worry about the lives, push for the ceasefire. Support peace.
Posted By Anonymous Morgan, Urbana, Ohio : 7:01 PM ET
Thanks for your insightful coverage of the conflict in the Middle East. I think the (Bush) administration in making a huge mistake in its handling - or not handling - of this crisis.
Posted By Anonymous D.J. Gommels, Seattle, WA : 7:04 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I think this whole fiasco is a nightmare, something the world definetly doesn't need right now on top of everything else going on with No. Korea and Iraq, let alone our domestic Katrina issues. I honestly don't know what to think regarding Israel's attacks. It comes down to deciding whose life is more valuable than whose, whether 2 soldiers' lives outweigh those of civilians in both countries, and no one can decide that. A ceasefire would be ideal I suppose, but what then if it happened? Just a lot of debate and reasoning amongst the involved parties, which could create more problems. In any case though, I think it's horrible that the US hasn't gotten reaasonable amounts of transport for those citizens in Syria that want to come back to the US. True, there may be more volume of Americans, but there's just been a wretched pattern of unpreparedness in the past few years that makes us wonder what is really going on with homeland security and the government in general.

Stay safe! Please! :)
Posted By Anonymous Laura Carlson, Cambridge, MA : 7:05 PM ET
I am not sure if I am qualified to give an opinion but from my arm-chair hear in Virgina I can say with absolute conviction that my heart goes out to the Lebanese people who want no part of Hezbollah but yet are stuck in the middle of this.

The amount of determination and force shown by Israel reminds me of the wife who has taken all of the abuse from an abusive husband that she can take and then finally snaps... resulting in the husband's murder...

Who blames the wife... but in the end... murder is murder and what she does can not be justified.

I see this in much the same light...

I guess I just feel as if maybe a little bit more precision could be used... but once again I write this from the comfort of my living room. I am not there.

I think that President Bush should be doing everything in his power to bring an end to the hostillities... unfortunately I have a feeling that Hezbollah has too much support from other countries and in trying to police them will only infurriate the countries and people who support them...

In the end there is no easy way out... be safe... be strong... and if possible take the time to pass on a little bit of kindness to someone that has been affected by all of this...

Posted By Anonymous Steve E., Broadway, VA : 7:07 PM ET
I absolutely do not think what Israel is doing is appropriate. I think they are over reacting. I think they were looking for any reason to go in and try to disable hezbollah, and the bet they could come up with was the capture of 2 soldiers, nevermind the thousands of palestinians and lebonese prisoners they have had in their prisons for years.
i think Bush needs to do something for a cease fire. he has done nothing, now lets see if it was Israel getting the snot kicked out of them i think he would act immediately to save them. as for Bush current approach, what approach is that? as far as i can see he does not have one, the only approach i have seen from Bush is lets give israel a little more time to destroy lebanon and the people in it.
the lebonese people were still rebuilding from the last war. and they have to start again. bush needs to stop spreading democracy over countries where it is not wanted. he needs to let rulers of other countries rule their countries the way they see fit. if he did that we would not be in iraq for so long. the united states needs to mind its business. and i can say that i am an amerian, but right now iam so ashamed to be an american. i have No american pride at all. we are bullies and stand with the bigger countries that beleive how we believe and run their countries the way we do and we screw the rest of the world.
Posted By Anonymous Hope Dallas Texas : 7:08 PM ET
Let me start off saying, I am so appreciative that I live in the United States. I could not even imagine living with so much violence, and unpredictable at that.
I do not understand though why the US has to solve and tell other countries what do.
Who stood up and said that no one can make a decision unless it is approved and done exactly as the Americans tell us to. I understand the peacekeeping and all, but like one of the other blogs said, They knew of the dicy situation.
I am starting to feel that not evacuating out of Lebanon is like not evacuating out of New Orleans. Why is that folks decide at the last minute they need out and they are going to wait right where they are until the government rescues them. Don't get me wrong I know there are a lot of folks who need help, it is just interesting to see the same cycle with all crisis.
Posted By Anonymous Annie, Nashville, TN : 7:08 PM ET
Israel is justified in their response to rocket attacks.The U.S should keep its mouth shut,concerning Israel's action.
Posted By Anonymous wm mayo san diego,ca : 7:12 PM ET
The only hope for the lives of the Lebanese and Isrealis at this point is if the US pushes for a ceasefire. One thing is for certain, our troops belong no where near there right now. We need to hope for a swift and purely diplomatic response.
Posted By Anonymous Ramzy, Denton, TX : 7:12 PM ET

Yes, Isreal's attempts to cut off these terrorists are legitimate. I agree with Bush's current approach and do not think we need to plead for a ceasefire. It is their right to defend themselves. I am a bit perplexed, however, at why it is taking so long to get our citizen's out of harm's way.

You stated in your book that you often try to stay away from the story. That is a bit easier when the story is the aftemath of a situation. This story is ongoing and is everywhere. When do you sleep? How do you "break away" from the story for your own sanity break? I realize your quest as an excellent journalist is to always be abreast of the changing situations. As i stated earlier, this is ongoing and everywhere. I do hope you are finding time to sleep and can break away for a moment of peace every now and again.
Stay safe. We are praying for you.
Posted By Anonymous J. Perkins, Fair Play, SC : 7:13 PM ET
I am an US Navy Sailor and I have been watching these events escalating over the past few days with trepidation. The question I have to ask is "why are the Americans complaining?" this is not a competition whose country can get their citizens out first. This is about saving Americans lives. People who were told "Not to go there!" yet they still went for their own reasons. Now they are in the middle of a conflict and complaining about emergency response. There are sailors and Marines risking their lives to get them out and all they can say is "why did it take you so long." I do not understand these ungrateful people. A simple thank you should be in order. America is under no obligation to get its citizens out of harms way after they were warned not to go. But since they were there America is doing its best to get them out. Do they think we can just make ships, planes and medical supplies appear out of thin air. It takes time to move forces from whatever mission they were doing halfway around the world so they can save lives that would not need saving if they had just listened to the State department in the first place. They should say thank you with humble praise for the sailors and Marines risking their lives to save them. When did America get to the point where complaints more important than thanks.
Posted By Anonymous IT1 Pierce Okinawa, Japan : 7:53 PM ET
People need to grow up. There's are limited options that the US Government has in this situation.

All this complaining stems from the "YEAH ME, F'YOU", fast-food, instant gratification American thought process - it totally disgusts me.

For the record, my sister-in-law and nephew are trapped as well, but we are patient.

Why? Because we have a grasp of reality.
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Dallas, TX : 8:43 PM ET
Nothing is different now than it was after 9/11 and Katrina. We have an inept government that doesn't have the foresight to plan for major cataclysmic events or be able to deal with them when they occur. Instead, the adminsistration focuses on moral arenas, such as gay marriage (they argued it on the house floor again today) or redirecting the public by voting against stem cell research. Memory serves me that the government is supposed to protect it's people and reflect their values. This administration continues to do neither.
Posted By Anonymous Woody Woodgate, Marshall, Alaska : 9:33 PM ET
The Bush administration totally dropped the ball on this one, recalling their disaster expertise following Hurricane Katrina. It's just a huge embarrassment that they can only respond in staged situations and can't even help Americans when they really need it.
All this focus on security and militarism has left Americans worse off in the long run. Bush is a lame duck even before the '06 elections.
Posted By Anonymous Greg, Portland, Oregon : 1:14 AM ET
US approach is appropriate

problem is in Lebanon, with Muslim violence

the rest of the world suffers and is forced to "respond" for their violent ways
Posted By Anonymous Mike Cocoa Beach Florida : 8:09 AM ET
What are you doing there in the first place?
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 8:15 AM ET
You know something is wrong when those in charge say "We are on top of this. We are very well organized and moving very quickly" ignoring how much quicker the French and Italians are getting their citizens out.
Posted By Anonymous Ron, Lake Forest, Ca. : 8:45 AM ET
When did we become such a bunch of childish whiners..acting as if our goverment is a big "daddy" who is obligated to rescue us even when we know that we are engaging in risky behavior?When a person decides to vacation or live in an area that is historically unstable, they should be aware of the possibility of unrest. I'm not suggesting that we abandon Americans over there, but now others will be at risk trying to rescue them. Cruise ship personel diod not plan to sail into a war zone I'm sure..there is a great deal of danger in these missions. Just like people who refuse to leave during a storm ,only to decide later that they are in danger, they really have no reason to complain when other citizens hesitate to risk their lives.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Grace , Whiting,New Jersey : 8:46 AM ET
Israel's response is too little. If Western democracies want to rid the world of the scourge of Islamic fanaticism, Israel must take the fight all the way to Damascus and beyond, and the U.S. should stand ready to destroy the war-making capability of Iran should they interfere more than they already have. It's time to reshape the modern Middle East.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Shore, Alexandria, VA : 8:58 AM ET
More examples of an incompetent US administration fumbling around at the expense of our citizens and the world at large. No surprise there.

But, let's take a step back and ask: What is Israel...? It is a nation that was created by the West and financed by the West at the expense of the citizens of the Middle East. It's way too late for talk of whether or not Israel has a right to exist, but that doesn't mean that they should have free reign to do whatever they please. Why is there no permanent border with Palestine...? Why is the West, the creators of Israel, so oblivious to its neighbors...? We continue to make the same mistakes over and over and the result appears to be an ever growing war with Islam, particularly Shia - now that we've empowered them in Iraq (ironic, isn't it).
Posted By Anonymous Declan, Philadelphia, PA : 9:22 AM ET
I agree with Brigitte from Montreal: I'd say that many Canadians believe that ALL nations, including a free Palestinian nation, have the right to exist in PEACE. How this could be achieved, however, is a question that many minds brighter than mine still have not answered. I would suggest that it is NOT by the killing of peaceful civilians, whether by terrorists or by government forces.

I also agree with the US Navy sailor. Those people who travel to the Middle East "because they want to" have made that decision knowing the risks, and are solely responsible for that action. Their nation is NOT responsible for those who "chose" to go, and are therefore not strictly OBLIGED to get them out. I'm very sorry for the innocent people caught in the middle of this, and for those who live or work there or who travelled there for family reasons, but all of us, at home or abroad, should be thankful to those who risk their lives to defend us and our homes, and are at this moment doing their best to get those of us trapped in Lebanon us out of harm's way. Thank you!
Posted By Anonymous Kathy, Montreal, QC, Canada : 9:55 AM ET
I think the media is being far to critical of our governments plans for evacuating people from Lebonon. I'm sure there is lot done behind the scenes that we are not aware of. This is an opperation on a huge scale. And Lebonon is on the governments list of places Americans are urge not to go. Once the evacuations had started all I heard over and over this morning was about how upset people were that the ship was a freighter and not a cruise ship! And how crowded it was! Would you have rather waited another 3or4 days for luxury accomodtions and only half the people leave so as not to overcrowd anyone or would you just be thankful you made it out? Americans are constantly putting themselves in situations that may be dangerous and then expecting someone else to rescue them and then complaining the government didn't do enough fast enough. How about taking some personal responsibilty and avoiding those situations in the first place.(Not one of the people I have seen you interview so far is there because of a job.)I hope and pray that each and everyone is able to leave quickly but saying it's somehow the governments fault that they haven't isn't fair.
Posted By Anonymous Karen,Chesapeake,Va : 10:07 AM ET
Carlos of Olympia, WA is right. The U.S. has to practice what it preaches. The U.S. is in Iraq fighting over WMD's and/or terrorism and Israel is being beat up on just about everyday. Israel is defending themselves, so Bush can't tell them to not do what is needed to keep their civilians and country safe. With the Israel war news on television everyday in the U.S., it takes the eyes off Bush and his war of WMD's in Iraq for just a moment.
Posted By Anonymous Felisia, Washington, D.C. : 2:46 PM ET
Israel is in a real quagmire, as a peacekeeping or buffer force will not prevent missile launching even if it prevents further kidnapping. For six years they have been told by the US to lay off Hezbollah.Now they have to deal with a stronger more technologically savvy Hezbollah.
Disarming/ weakening Hezbollah may allow the Lebanese government to take over th region, and set bacjk both Iran and Syria who are conducting proxy wars against the US and Israel. That being said nobody wants any civillians to be hurt.
Ultimately it must be understood that Israel is here to stay, whether the Arab world can deal with the concept or not.
Posted By Anonymous David Lefkowitz, New York City, N.Y. : 2:47 PM ET
I think the many opinions here expressed by Americans, Canadians, etc. is interesting. Unless you have lived in an area of the world that is that volatile, how can you possibly have an informed opinion on what to do? Americans AND Canadians, Brits, etc. have been so sheltered, but yet we all seem to have the answers. I don't. I don't have the first clue what the world should do regarding battles in areas that have had wars with each other for centuries. I hope the Americans get out okay. And I hope the Lebonese people who have nothing to do with this are safe and can resume living their lives in peace.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Los Angeles, CA : 2:48 PM ET
My first inclination is to support Isreal.

What I'd really like to see is an in depth story on exactly what Hezbollah is and how they came to be in Lebanon.

They appear to be a terroist organization.

Be Safe.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Dallas Texas : 2:51 PM ET
I do not think that Israel has a right to keep up this form of defense any longer. In my opinion, you cannot bomb from overhead with no regard for civilians and infrastructure. What do they expect the response from the rest of the Arab world to be? And, how is that really going to make them any safer? Diplomacy has to be the most effective course of action. The problem is, the people conducting the diplomacy are not effective. Yes, our current administration has done an absolute dismal job with world diplomacy. In addition, they have done an even worse job dealing with domestic issues. Americans need to begin to think about what has occured over the past 5 years and decide where they want our counrty to go from here. We are slowly isolating ourselves and losing all of our humanitarian characteristics. People need to care less about the money things cost and think more about how we can help things get better both here and in the rest of the world. It is simply sad that our President is seen as evil and Angelina Jolie is now Mother Theresa. We can and must do better.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff B., Norton, MA : 2:55 PM ET
As the grandmother of 3 American-Palestinian children who are currently trapped in Nablus, the West Bank, I am extrememly upset at the way we, the U.S., stand back and let the Israelis run rough-shod over all Palestinians. The Israelis enter Palestinian towns by the cover of night, and murder them in their own homes. Currently, the incursion into Nablus was for members of Abbas' own party, the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigrade. But the U.S. only counts Hamas as terrorists--bull!!!!! The Israelis laugh at us, the U.S., and call themselves our 51st state! When do we wake up, and stop blindly supporting Israel just "BECAUSE"??
Posted By Anonymous Linda Yowell, Sherman, TX : 2:56 PM ET
All I hear on the news is how Israel wants to destroy Hezbollah but then I see the statistics (200+ Lebanese people dead vs. 25 Isralies) and then I see the guided missles shot by a large numbered skilled military vs the unmanned rockets shot from a hillside that don't even make it into Israel more than half the time. Then we have to look at the $2.5 billion in military and economic aid given by the US to Israel each year vs. the $40 million given to Lebanon. Israel is insisting they have no intentions to occupy Lebanon, then why send ground troops? Why destroy highways and airports?

How many Lebanese citizens are sitting in an Israel prison for years? How many Lebanese soliders and citizens have been killed but not reported? Israel is just as guilty as committing war crimes as Lebanon is, Israel's advantage is having the West and America on its side.

Is this really a "war" or really a sactioned slaughter? Do we really think violence and death will stop an extremist terrorist group? Israel's violent extreme response to the kidnapping of two soldiers will not stop Hezbollah. On the contrary through their destruction of Lebanon and murder of hundreds of Lebanese innocent civilians, Israel is only aiding in the creation of future generation terrorists.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills CA : 2:58 PM ET
What really frightens me is the real lack of knowledge and understanding of the situation, by people who are commenting, and reporting on the issue. To equate this to the sectarian violence in Ireland is wrong on many levels. To chastise Israel for rooting out terrorist and taking the fight to them (to paraphrase Pres. Bush) is not only hypocritical, but shows further ignorance. Israeli service men were kidnapped on Israeli soil, and are being held hostage, under the demand of releasing criminals.
While this situation may appear to be in relation to Palestinian issues, look carefully. Hezbollah is not fighting under the Palestinian flag; they are a rouge group bent on death of civilians and destabilization of anything that is not their form of misinterpreted Islam. If the US wants to get Tough on Terror, being that we cannot seem to find Osama Bin Laden, would this not be a great opportunity for the US to take the lead against the most obvious terrorist scourge on current society? Israel must fight for existence, and Israel seems to be the only Democracy willing to actually do the job.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Kalamazoo MI : 2:59 PM ET
I understand the frustration the people waiting to be evacuated from Lebanon must be and how negative some have been about the ships taking too long to get there. Well as frustrating as it may be the Marines are the best in the world and it takes time to go from one sea to another. Safety is their first issue and making Americans safe is their first priority. People must understand they are on their way and i wish the best to all of them and pray for each soul waiting on the ships to come and each and every soul sailing the ship to pick them up. Its a warzone people...give them time and please have patience. God Bless America!
Posted By Anonymous Cindy Craig Liberty, Texas : 3:00 PM ET
Everyone on this blog and around the country who are now outraged that Bush won't stick his nose in Israel's fight should just get over it. You are the same people who whine about our participation in Iraq(which I don't agree with, but I support our country). Now that he is trying to show restraint, you all want to criticize, you can't have it both ways. As for the so called Americans waiting to get out, I have seen several reports where different people have said they will return to Lebanon after the fighting. Are these people truly US citizens , or are they only using their dual citizenship as cover when things get too hot.
Posted By Anonymous Cecilia, Houston Tx : 3:06 PM ET
I rather think the US should stay out of it (like the administration should stay out of a lot of other issues they keep dipping into the tax pot for). We have plenty of home-grown problems that need solving. Of course, they can only be solved in a way that satisfies the administration's morality. It's okay to kill people with bombs "accidentally", but let's not work on a cure for Cancer!

This is an issue for them to work out on their own. Let them do it! It's funny how one of the youngest countries in the world thinks it has all the answers. I'm often ashamed of the arrogance of many of my fellow Americans who seem to believe they are somehow smarter than every other world leader, and determined to tell everyone how to run their country.
Posted By Anonymous Alex R., Columbia, South Carolina : 3:11 PM ET
The U.S. citizens who live in Lebanon know the dangers. Now they've become crybaby whiners expecting the U.S. to jump at their every demand. What a selfish sense of entitlement. And worse yet, our liberal media report their malcontentedness as if it is news. Unbelievable.
Posted By Anonymous Andy, Canton, Ohio : 3:12 PM ET
Yes, Israel's action is legitimate. But it's legitimacy rests not on kidnapping of soldiers, but on the many years that Hezbollah has been terrorizing their country. Israel pulled out of Gaza a year ago, but violence has not abated there either. It's very sad for the Lebanese people that they are the staging ground for this.
Posted By Anonymous Samantha, Nashua, NH : 3:13 PM ET
What has the Hezzbollah terrorist network done? They blew up the US Embassy in Beirut in April '93. In Oct. '93 they killed 241 Marines at the Beirut Airport. In Sep. '84 Hezzbollah took "credit" for a bomb that killed 2 Marines and 21 Lebanese citizens. Hezzbollah killed Malcom Kerr, president of American Univ. in Beirut and two of the Americans held hostage in Beirut, including CIA's Willliam Buckley. In June '85 Hezzbollah killed Seaman Robt. Stethem. In '94 they blew up the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aries, killing 100 people. In summer '96, a Hezzbollah bomb destroyed the an office in Khobar Dharhan, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 US military personnel.
Aided by Iran and Syria, they have exploited the poorest people of Lebanon by convincing them that they are a legitimate political organization, but are a terrorist network who hide among civilians.

And to those who say Israel is acting disproportionately, what would the correct response to Hezzbollah be?of
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 3:15 PM ET
Exasperating, sure ... you just can't load up the empty school busses and drive them away from danger. It takes much more time to plan, get the resources together ... not to mention actually getting there ... it all takes time.

Israel is not just having a bad day. They have given up land, vacated cities and made many other concessions over the ... centuries .... and still get kicked. Too many people over there would like Israel to cease to exist.
Posted By Anonymous Rick Stewart, Atlanta, GA : 3:16 PM ET
It's funny.. Israel's soldiers are called soldiers although they are in a country which they are invading. The hezbollahs, however, are categorized as guerrillas.
When Israel kills civilians as on the beach in Palestinian territory, its collateral damage, when Israeli civilian's get killed its murder.
I'm embarrased that US weapons supplied to Israel are killing innocent civilians.
Israel is so used to superior firepower over the Palestinians, to abuse them at will, with jets, tanks, etc. versus the rock throwing Palestinians it must have been a tremendous shock to have a group fight back with real weapons.
Unfortunately the Israelies believe they can act with impunity.They over reacted due to the captured soldier, and did not expect the response they they triggered.
Had they limited their actions to the boarder with Lebanon and not engaged in a full scale invasion destroying airports, bridges etc. and Beruit itself, the conflict would be easier to defuse.
It is understandable why the international community is looking down on their uncalled for invasion.
Posted By Anonymous John Q Public, New York, NY : 3:16 PM ET
Thank you for your reporting of this story. This situation is indeed alarming and distressing. The Bush Administration's response, or lacktherof, is consistent with their saber-rattling in recent months about going into Iran. This gives them the moral authority. They don't want to remove US citizens all that quickly in the hopes that perhaps they get kidnapped or worse, killed, thus further justifying their planned invasion or hostile action against Iran. One only has to look at Vice President Cheney and Don Rumsfield's speeches and interviews in the past 6 months to see that this is definitey a possibility. And....if true, this would be the most alarming and distressing thing of all.

Be safe.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Akron, Ohio : 3:18 PM ET
You know, my husband is in the United States Marine Corps. He joined in 2003 at the age of 17. He has served faithfully with pride, and is now currently overseas with the 24 Marine Expeditionary Unit. I have been keeping my eye on the news and so far all I have seen are a lot of sniveling Americans talking about how long it is taking for the Americans to respond. I just want to say that every way into that part of the country for the American troops has been blocked or destroyed by those Israelis and Hazboullah people. Would you like AMERICANS TO SHOW UP ALIVE TO SAVE YOU or not show up at all. To get there their options are by sea or by air, sorry but those Naval ships don't have TURBO CHARGED HEMIS UNDER THEIR HOODS! It's gonna take them a while to get there. If they were to call one of these SNIVELING Americans and say "Hey we will be there in exactly 7 hours" That sniveling American would call the news broadcast which would air it all over the news, which terrorists are watching and will know when my husband will be there and have every one of their guns ready to take their lives if they so choose to do so. The secrecy is not because they don't have a plan it is because they have a good plan and they will get there as soon as they can with as little information given out as possible. The SNIVELING Americans are putting their own lifes at risk whining about not knowing anything. I want my husband alive so I hope that they keep their mouths shut and get rescued when they get there. If the enemy were to get there and wait for them, it would only be fair game hitting them as they walk off the U.S. embassies door, and they don't want that because the reason they want to leave is because they are scared for their lives. Well then don't make more reason for someone to come and get you. So far they are told noone is going to hurt them (purposely). So take your blessings as they come people.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Chugiak Alaska : 3:23 PM ET
I'm in favor of Bush's approach. Not that I'm any fan of Bush; sooner or later "Do nothing" was bound to be the right answer. A ceasefire would allow Hezbollah time to rebuild and regroup. You need to remove the entire cancer or it will grow back. If you don't complete a course of antibiotics then you are supporting the growth of supergerms.

As for the American evacuations, I am saddened to see the citizens of this country acting like whinny little brats. They knew the risks of going over there. And I don't think $150 is asking too much for a ticket they would have had to purchase anyway. And of course it is going to take longer to get the Americans out since there are so many more or them. This pathetic whining is what gives American a bad rep around the globe.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce M, Santa Cruz CA : 3:25 PM ET
Well this is the third time that I have sent a comment and yet you choose not to show it. I will espress my feelings once more. It is time that the liberal press and people realize that there is one goal for Hezbolah and other simular terrorist groups and that is total world domination. We need to not just support Israel in its action but to offer them free of charge and and all military equipment they need. Personally if I was the president I would not just give them what they need but also attack and destroy Syria and Iran. Enough of us and the rest of the world saying OH the poor inocent Muslims that are being killed. It is time that any country that support terrorist,in any way what so ever, to be afraid - terribly afraid.
Posted By Anonymous Gerald Coates, Roanoke Va : 3:25 PM ET
To all the people complaining that France and Canada are getting their people out faster; move to France or Canada. I am sure that those countries are complete utopian societies where everything is perfect. The United States is sooooo overated anyway. Also, why did Bush create this whole middle east conflict to begin with? I am going to vote for Hillary! Maybe she can revive Bill's middle east peace plan that seems to have worked so well.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Chicago, IL : 3:33 PM ET
Israel is only doing what any other country would do when provoked in this manner. If Hezbollah and the Palestinians do not free the soldiers, what choice does Israel have but to try and get them back by force? The UN Resolution calling for Hezbollah to be disarmed needs to be enforced, there has been enough talk and it is time for the UN to act.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy, Seattle WA : 3:35 PM ET
What Israel is now doing should have done years ago. I love the Lebanese people and what is being done is a shame. All is due to Assad ,Hizballah, and Iran. When will these nations learn?? Not to start the rockets, not to kidnapp Israel's soldiers and to dismantel Hizballah.
Posted By Anonymous J.Liebman.Ft.Worth,Texas : 3:40 PM ET
What is the difference between what Israel is doing now in Lebanon and what the U.S. did with Afghanistan? A country gave safe haven to a terrorist group and the country attacked by that group responded due to the lack of action by the host country. Israel has fought this battle over and over since its creation after WWII. The world as a whole needs to address the fanatics as a united front, otherwise each country deals with the problem independently like Israel has done these many years.
Posted By Anonymous Kent, from Bryan, Ohio : 3:46 PM ET
Thank you to Sarah in Alaksa for the brave comments about Americans' usual selfishness. What happened to keeping a stiff upper lip? What happened to bravery, courage, dignity and patriotism? I'm sorry but what are so many Amer. doing in one of the most DANGEROUS places on earth? Isn't it just common sense not to willingly go to this area? And, this blaming the Federal gov't for your own lack of personal responsibility, accountability and good sense is tiresome. You will notice that when someone makes a choice, and unfortunate circumstances occur, the scapegoat is usually the Federal gov't or military.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 3:53 PM ET
I think the U.S. should stay out of this conflict.Israel chose to live in that part of the world.If they can't handle their neighbors by themselves then that is their problem.We help the people that help us. What has our relationship with Israel done for us other than give the terrorist a real good reason to hate us? The US does not import anything from Israel that we can't live without.Therefore their well being is not our problem.
Posted By Anonymous Sob,Greenfield,Ohio : 3:54 PM ET
american tax payers money being wasted on people who got them selves intop this area of the world that is unstable. and they want us to foot the bill of getting them out.. the federal gov. should bill each one of them for the expense of getting them out... the free ride should end.....
Posted By Anonymous rich jax.fl : 3:54 PM ET
I'm deeply saddened by the conflict and circumstances of this situation.

I'm equally saddened that now, during such a time when respected and credible leadership would go along way, we're stuck with the Bush administration instead.

The world is dangerous when America has no leadership.
Posted By Anonymous Tim S, Phoenix, AZ : 3:55 PM ET
This should not even be an issue. These people were duly warned by our government for the past couple of years to stay out of Lebanon. Knowing that, why should we spend our hard earned tax money rescuing the? They went by choice knowing the consequences.
Posted By Anonymous Joy K Detroit, MI : 3:55 PM ET
Instead of everyone wanting the United States(Bush especially) to have Israel stop from defending themselves from the Hezbollah, and other terrorists groups, the individual countries and the people of those countries need to stop these groups from becoming orginized themselves. I say more power to Israel, and I hope the USA supports them to the very end. They are only doing what should have been done years ago, then this world would maybe not be in the conditions that it is now.
Posted By Anonymous John, Dothan, Alabama : 3:59 PM ET
Posted By Anonymous MARILYN TRAUGH, FAIRMONT, WV : 3:59 PM ET
As usual the lierals blame Bush for everything. Bush personally called Hezbollah and told them to kidnap the Israeli soldiers. Cmon people. Terrorists need to be exterminated from this earth. If only we had the intestinal fortitude that Israel has, the war in Iraq would be over and Iran and Syria would be have been dealt with. Unfortunately, our polititions, including Bush are so worried about appeasing, the terrorist sympathisers such as Howard Dean and the Dems, the UN, and all of the countries who already hate us. To bad this didn't happen when Reagan was President, this thing would be over. Just like when he brought down Communism despite the communist sympathisers in the Democratic party.

Unfortunately in war innocent people die. I'm sorry, better them than us.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Mesa AZ : 4:00 PM ET
Wow. Gerald in Virginia sounds like he has some issues. Why do so many Americans think that voilence will stop violence? I am always amazed at the simplicity in which so many Americans view real World problems. The World is not just the Christian/Jewish U.S. Let's get over ourselves and our badass military and figure out a REAL solution to these complex issues. I certainly don't have the answer, but I sure know that blowing up Syria and Iran would just lead to more problems.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff B., Norton, MA : 4:00 PM ET
Well, let me try again. Has anyone noticed that the great majority of innocent civilians in Lebanon say that they support Hezbollah? I saw one mother say that she is training her children to hate Isreal and it's people. In my book, if you vehemently support a terrorist organization like Hezbollah, then you also are a terrorist. So I don't feel bad about the "innocent civilians" that are being killed or wounded. The US press is happy to show pictures of dead and injured Lebanese. But these are the people who support terrorists. These are the people who feel right at home killing and kidnapping Israelis. These are the people who blow up bombs in crowded market places and restaurants. I'll never feel sorry for justice delivered from the muzzle of a cannon or the muzzle of a rifle. To the Isaeli Defense Force...go for it!
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Green Bay, WI : 4:01 PM ET
I find it humorous that people here are posting 'other countries have gotten their people out first' and America hasn't. OTHER countries happen to be RIGHT THERE (Europe!) The entire Middle East is listed on the State Dept as dangerous for traveling. I find it interesting that EVERY Lebanese person killed is a 'civilian' - no question. I think it's sad that terrorists won't allow people to live in peace in any country. What's happening in Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan is the same - no matter what you call it. Same in Indonesia. Same in India. Same in Pakistan. Terrorists trying to TERRORIZE innocents to buckle under and be ruled. If someone doesn't stand up to them - the entire world will look this way soon.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Grand Rapids, MI : 4:04 PM ET
everyone feels badly for the good citizens of lebanon (myself included), but it is difficult to call israel out for all of the collataral damage when lebanon condones hezbollah and shares its government with a terrorist organization. this is lebanon being judged by the company it keeps in a very extreme fashion. although i dont wish ill upon the good people of lebanon, we should hardly act like a systematic attack against the aggressors in this instance is unjustified or inexplicable. im not a doctor and i dont know if this is the right parallel, but chemotherapy kills some of the healthy cells in attempt to eradicate the cancer.
Posted By Anonymous jared, miami, florida : 4:06 PM ET
It always amazes me the short memory that American's have with news and history.
It isn't two kidnapped soldiers it's eight dead and two kidnapped in an attack across a border where there is no treaty. There may have been a ceasefire agreement, but Lebanon has never ended the war begun in 1948.
And why is it that the Israelis are accused of destroying towns and civilians (going after a terrorist organization that hides among civilians) and that is not ok, but when rockets hit Haifa and Nahariyah that isn't hitting a civilian population.
Yes, fewer Israeli citizens are being killed or injured because they are in shelters, where many of those over 30 years of age spent much of their childhoods.

Does Israel have the right? Morally, politically and militarily -- yes. Should they seek a way to end this, yes. But since those in power in Lebanon are not the ones shooting rockets and those in power in Gaza are the ones seeking to destroy Israel, I'm not sure how one goes about that.

Perhaps if there was a strong leader somewhere in the world. But...
Posted By Anonymous Andrea Messer, State College, Pa : 4:07 PM ET
People keep saying that Israel has a right to "protect" themselves from Hezbollah, Hamas, general Muslim fanaticism, but no one is asking why Hezbollah or Hamas were formed.

These "terrorist" groups did form one day, deciding that they would like to destroy Israel. There is a long and embittered history here that needs to be recognized. Hamas and Hezbollah were created IN RESPONSE to the creation of Israel and the taking over of Palestinian lands.

I'm not saying that blowing people up or sending missiles in Israel is the right answer, by any means. BUT people should really stop and think about WHY these groups are so angry. You don't launch rockets or blow yourself up without a reason. Whether it is justifiable or not, this is not a matter of "good" side versus "bad" side.
Posted By Anonymous Nicole, Jersey City, NJ : 4:09 PM ET
HI, Thanks for this forum. I really think we have a double standard if the world allows Israel to bomb the heck out of a group of people, including civilian. It's not right to do that to any country. The hostage crisis might have been negotiated peacefully, or with blockades, but I think Israel was just waiting for it's chance to obliterate the Palestinians. Again, we have met the enemy, and he is us.
The "non-evil" axis doesn't have a leg to stand on, if we use the same tactics as our enemies, bombing civilians, with no warning, endangering people from other nations indiscriminately, and not having an open dialog to solve problems.

Posted By Anonymous Laura Nalesnik, Avondale Estates GA : 4:17 PM ET
What amazes me is that Americans are in Lebanon in the first place. And the sense of entitlement as though the good men of the marines should be expected to come in and risk thier own lives to bring out all those that chose to live, visit, or go to school in a country where Hezbolla is your neighbor! Why is the government even responsible to rescue these people? No one seems to be thankful for those that do risk their lives bringing these whiners back home. As for my thoughts on Israel trying to take out Hezbollah and Hamas, I say more power to them and may they succeed taking every one of those murderers out. Israel is surrounded by enemies and only tries to defend themselves. Hamas and Hezbollah TRY to kill innocents, Israel tries only to kill the terrorists. If Lebanon won't enforce the UN resolutions to rid themselves of Hezbollah, what do you expect Israel to do? The blame for the civilian deaths lie squarely with Hezbollah and the Lebanese Government who allow Hezbollah to exist in the south and last but not least, Iran and Syria. Do you not think that Iran would provide Hezbollah with a nuke if they develop one? They allready provide the murderers with long range missiles, training, and money to destroy Israel. If people actually educate themselves with the facts, it is very easy to choose sides. Murdererous terrorists or Israel? Not a very hard choice!
Posted By Anonymous Brad, Gloucester Virginia : 4:21 PM ET
I am finding the current conflict incredibly difficult to reconcile intellectually and emotionally. Quite frankly I'm a bit concerned that CNN is portraying Israel's actions as unjustified. It is an EXTREMELY complex situation.

Perhaps Anderson, you could do one of your hours tonight or a special this weekend on how we got here. I think a lot of people do not even realize that Isreal is a country that is only 58 years old nor do they recognize the robust history of violence Isrealis and Palestinian have endured in the last 6 decades.

Also, when the tensions calm, which I believe they will - I would appreciate a "Keeping Them Honest" on exactly why the Clinton and Bush administrations so blatently ignored the gathering storm of Hezbollah. Mike Wallace did a piece last year which argued that Hezzbollah poses a far greater risk than Al Queda ever has or will.

Thanks Anderson for being so brave in your reporting. Going to the places where no one wants to be and walking with the people - instead of being perched from above - is what sets you apart.

Stay safe! Hope to see you at Whole Foods soon!
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, NYC : 4:22 PM ET
Thank you to all the people who are willing to admit and agree that the Americans oversees are being selfish and demanding. Terrorism is an inherent risk for all Americans if you travel abroad. Get used to it and prepare your own contingency plan in case of emergency instead of relying on your government to take care of you. Get a backbone and show the rest of the world how great Americans can be. Not how selfish!
Posted By Anonymous Rose, Arlington, VA : 4:23 PM ET
Could the slow response be due in part to the number of potential evacuees?
According to reports, there are(were) 25,000 U.S. citizens in Lebanon.

Question is: How many citizens did each European country have?

It's quicker & easier to move 200 people than a potential 25,000.

To AC & Fellow CNN journalists/crews:

Thank you for your continuing coverage and for not forgetting the 'human element' in the event at hand.

Godspeed and may this all be over soon.
Posted By Anonymous Priscilla, Carmel IN : 4:24 PM ET
I think my opinion about what Israel is doing is irrelevant. Israel is its own entity with no one to answer to but its citizens. Now our country may choose to offer some sort of guidance but any government's main base of support must come from its citizens.

Now that I have said that, my opinion is that Israel has to do what it has to do to protect its citizens. In this case they were attacked first. If Israel allows this without responding harshly, it will do nothing but increase the frequency at which it is attacked. This is not a productive solution.

With an infrastructure that is embedded with the civilian population, Hezbollah has set itself up very well, that is from a purely tactical standpoint. Now I am not sure that all of the civilians around them would think it was such a hot idea. Because of this approach coupled with a first strike (kidnapping/missile launches) as well as media coverage the way it is now, this planning they did has worked out well and probably will continue to do so.

Based on the news coverage that I have seen, as well as my analytical approach, I believe that responsibility for all of this lies on Hezbollah. I do not think the media is covering this story with the proper perspective. With your reporter's coverage of the Lebanon side of the conflict last night, I am not surprised by the outrage shown towards the Israelis for this. The Hezbollah representative should have been asked these few questions in response to his answers to other questions and comments.

The representative stated that the Israelis drop bombs on civilians and indicated he would like to fight face to face in Lebanon. He should have then been asked "Do you know if these were guided bombs?" Then a follow up question of "How does the guidance system of your rockets work?" The next follow up question should have then been "If the fighting were to take place in Lebanon, wouldn't that put more of your citizens at risk?" then "Why would you want that?" and then finally "Would fighting in you own territory give you any tactical advantages?" I guess, by asking these actual questions, the journalist would have then been executed for being a Jewish spy. If the situation were reversed I am sure the suicide bombers posing as journalists would have detonated their explosives before the first question was asked.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, KC MO : 4:27 PM ET
I don believe what Israel is doing is legitimate. For too many years now they have lived with the threat that any day they could and can be attacked, with either rockets or suicide bombings. When is enough, enough? Is there fault on both sides, sure, but the Israelis deserve to have a Nation recognized by all of the surrounding countries, regardless of opposing beliefs.
Israel has bowed to the United States in past incidents of aggression. I don't think a cease fire will work, but there is no way to control the actions of Hezbollah and they really don't want a cease fire. I think the United States should keep hands off the situation. Perhaps Israel can take care of the entire Mideast situation for all of the Allies.
Posted By Anonymous M. Lichtenstein, Columbus, OH : 4:49 PM ET
Anderson, Great Job. I wish I was with you. When the war started, my first instinct was I want to go and be by my family in Beirut, but I know that they are trying thier best to stay safe and I can help when this is all over in a different way such as help them rebuild Lebanon. I was born in Beirut, I was shot in Beirut and I was in Lebanon when Israel invaded in 1982. Now I am an American living in piece and freedom and I love my heritage and where I was born, also my parents were born in Haifa and Yafa and I would like to say the following to all innocent civilians in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine: Israel is doing the right thing, it is unfortunate that Hezbollah and Hamas does not care about innocent civilians, because if they did care they wouldnot fight from civilian positions and they would make peace so all the innocent people regardless if they are Muslims, christians or Jews will live side by side and in piece. Everytime we came close to a peaceful solution, Hezbollah or Hamas came up with something to destroy the peace talks. Many of these leaders get rich from all the wars, just look how much money Arafat had when he died, while Palestinian children are suffering in the camps.

Enough is Enough....
Posted By Anonymous Sam/ Saginaw, MI : 4:59 PM ET
The main topic over the past few days has been the refugee situation in Lebanon. Foreign nationals are being evacuated to safety in Cyprus, and thousands of Lebanese citizens have become displaced. However, there has been a lack among the major networks to discuss the refugee situation in Israel as well. Many of the residents of the northern cities and towns have fled to safer places in the south, staying with family and friends. Those who do not have that option are forced to live in their bomb shelters. This is a difficult time for both sides involved. The only ones not suffering are the Syrian and Iranian leaders.
Posted By Anonymous Joey, San Diego, CA : 4:59 PM ET
President Bush speaking in an open mike was an honest and candid response to the current conflict. It was the hezbollah who started this war. Israel is right in erasing these terrorist groups from the face of the earth.
Posted By Anonymous Oscar, Fairfax, Virginia : 5:02 PM ET
I saw on the news today that 100,000 Hezbollah loyalists are fleeing back to Syria to get more rockets and ammunition. Why aren't you reporting THIS story??? (One of these days, maybe you'll actually post my comments, rather than just those which fulfill your own prophecies).
Posted By Anonymous Renee, Salem OR : 5:07 PM ET
Question: If this war is between Israel and Hezbollah, why destroy the infrastructure of Lebanon itself? There is an incredible imbalance in civilian casualities and it seems like Israel is more interested in taking Lebanon off the map than Hezbollah. The response is too strong and mainly the innocent are suffering.
Posted By Anonymous Gen, South Bend, IN : 5:12 PM ET
Over the last few months hazbellah has been sending rockets digging tunnels and kidnapping Isreali soldiers. Finally Isreal stood up to these bullies! We are at war in the middle east and the American citizens went there knowing the trouble in that area! I resenet the fact that we have to pay for their evacuation.
Posted By Anonymous Heidi Carman, Newton, MA : 5:17 PM ET
Terrorism cannot, will not and should not be tolerated in the modern world.

This is what this boils down to.

Until Hezbollah and Al-Quida understand this the civilized world has a lot to do.
Posted By Anonymous Lika, Scarsdale NY : 5:31 PM ET
I find this situation incredibly frustrating. israel is over-reacting and are destroying a nation that has suffered so much already. Lebanon was well on their way to rebuilding. israel consistently over history has overreacted and ignored diplomatic solutions until they could achieve the reality on the ground that they wanted, no matter what the cost to civlians or to their own moral integrity. They are not David, but Goliath and are well able to destroy all the militaries in the M.E. if they should so choose, courtesy of the American tax payers dollars. Israel has more than established their place amongst the nations--they do exist and all the nations around them have tacitly, if not formally acknowledged that. All they are doing now is alienating people and making them wish they could wipe Israel off the map. They are breeding terrorism for decades to come and that will affect the US of A---their greatest supporters and allies...
Posted By Anonymous Nanci, London, England : 5:33 PM ET
There seems to me to be an obvious favoratism by The US on the side of Israel, in spite of it's superior weapons and finance. it makes our administration appear openly prejudiced and inhuman when it comes to the confilct in the middle east. Anyone who educates themselves about this historical conflict and that just doesn't blindly follow what they see on tv or, worse yet, what they hear on the news from israeli political leadership trying to align everyone they don't get along with, with al-qaeda. It's almost embarassing as an American to see that the current administration is representing it's people in such a one-sided fashion. To this administration, the lives of one group of people are worth more than others, and that is not right.
Posted By Anonymous Ray, Washington, DC : 5:41 PM ET
I just wonder if Yitzhak Rabin had not been assassinated would this be happening? Things seemed hopeful for a peaceful middle east in September of 1993. Also former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres stated in his book THE NEW MIDDLE EAST (1993) " We pray together with many Lebonese that their country will no longer be a backyard for troublemakers. It is for Lebanon to make a choice between Hezbollah that operates from its territory and takes orders from another country or have one army one policy and a real offer of tranquility for its people and security for its neighbors." He wrote that 13 years ago, but he could have well as just wrote it yesterday. It wasn't just the kidnapping of a few soldiers recently that brought this on, it was just the preverbial straw that broke the camels back.
Posted By Anonymous Nicole,Easton PA : 5:43 PM ET
Israel's punishment is disproportionate to the crime. . . They have killed over 300 people in week, over the kidnapping of 2 soldiers. Killed 300 people, most of which were probably innocent people who had nothing to do with the kidnappings. And, the thing is, the world (especially the US) will overlook Israel's actions; just as they have done over the past few decades.
Posted By Anonymous Ray, Bowling Green, Kentucky : 5:52 PM ET
As far as I can, Israel is trying to block off Hezbolah from being able to reach Israel by land. The Lebanese government has aided Hezbolah by allowing them to continue and build their fight to destroy Israel, so how are they so innocent? If someone threatened and they have to destroy America do we just sit by and let them? And why haven't the Arab countries helped their fellow Palestinians?
Posted By Anonymous Patty Sanford, Kennett, MO : 5:57 PM ET
Our house in Amman, Jordan, has become a shelter. It is flooding with our family from Lebanon trying to escape the ongoing disaster, all eyes filled with tears and anger. All of them afraid of going back simply because they don't want to see the destruction. My distant cousin was saying between sobs, "We had a beautiful country, it was just like yours, but now it is all rubbles."
Another family are trying to make their way out of Lebanon tonight, the Syrian border are exploiting the situation and charging $1000 instead of the usual $35 entrance fee. Taxis are competing in very high prices, last year I went to Lebanon and paid a taxi about $60 from Amman, Jordan to Beirut, now they are charging $700. God be with all the Lebanese people at this time.
Posted By Anonymous Muna Haddad, Amman, Jordan : 8:18 AM ET
If I decide to live on Everest and the weather turns on me, do I expect the US to rescue me and me not pay a price? After all, I did know the region was not safe to begin with.

Why should someone in the US pay taxes towards someone who wants to take a big risk abroad?

As for those with Katrina fresh in their minds, this is not New Orleans. Perhaps I should direct all of your memories to the 241 servicemen killed in one Beirut attack. Wonderful for you all to attack the foot soldiers who risk their lives for people who CHOSE to live and work abroad. Go on, make someone behind a desk force the issue and put somebody elses kid in danger by rushing things. You should be ashamed.

Vince in England
Posted By Anonymous Vince, Los Angeles, California : 8:21 AM ET
I believe that Isreal is taking care of its terrorism problem. Unless they ask for help, the US or any other countries should not interfere. They are a nation who would love nothing more than to enjoy the same peaceful existence we here in the West take for granted, but they are not given that luxury because of radicals. Hezbollah needs to be dealt with and if Lebanon won't do it then what choice does Isreal have! I pray for a end to this because I don't wish to see anymore innocent casualties but Isreal needs to show that they are not going to be pushed around. I feel for the people from other countries who are in the war zone right now, I can't imagine how frightening it must be. What I've been hearing is that these people are rasing cain over the slow response the US is having getting them out. They must remember that they went of their own accord, they were not sent there by their country, therefore they should be a little more grateful that there are people willing to risk it all to go and get them and bring them home.
Posted By Anonymous Tina, Miami,Florida : 8:27 AM ET
So, I guess you didn't like my comment. To snarky? Too long? Too logical?

Well, let's try it again:

Should the US help evacuate citizens who might be caught in Israel right now? I personally know several American passport holders who live in Tiberias and other places where the terrorist Katyusha rockets are targeting civilians.

Israel is fighting a real war, with a hideous enemy who rains missiles down on noncombatants, deliberately, and hides behind women and children in villages and towns, turning their own civilians into unwitting human shields.

I will be going to Israel in mid August for a long-planned trip. I am fully cognizant of the risks. If things get bad, I will not count on the US government to pull my chestnuts out of the fire.

Many of the Americans in Lebanon are there for perfectly legitimate reasons. But they must have known about the boiling tensions between Hezbollah and Israel. Some of them, no doubt, are ardent Hezbollah supporters who now want to be held harmless from the results of that support by our government and military. It is hard to muster much sympathy for them.

Do what we can, but this is NOT the story of the hour. That would still be the ongoing attacks on a sovereign nation by a rogue state-within-a-state. Israel has every right to self-defense, and people caught on the other side don't have any guarantees.

May it be over soon, but may it be over decisively. Anything less than a clear victory for Israel will only prolong the agony.
Posted By Anonymous Ned, Baltimore, Maryland : 8:57 AM ET
I really enjoy your reporting. I also am very saddened about the plight of the innocent people of Lebanon, but if the travelers from the United States had read the travel.gov section on the State Dept. website before traveling to Lebanon, they would have seen the warning. There was/is also a section on that site, requesting that any people entering Lebanon inform the American Embassy of their location in the country. I am aware of this because I had plan to travel there at the end of July, at my own risk. (Thinking, it is safe now.)
No vacation for me, but these people have to take some responsibility for their own actions, ie. going to a high risk area and not following safety guidelines setup by our gov't.
Posted By Anonymous Terry, Lexington, Kentucky : 9:08 AM ET
Why are people failing to ask the obvious question - Exactly WHY are these Americans in Lebanon to begin with? I have to say that these people who chose to go to very dangerous places in the world for leisure travel have most if not all of the responsibiliy regarding their current situation. Was Disney World not good enough? If people voluntarily chose to visit these hostile countries then they need to bear the burden of the possible dangers. It is not the responsibility of Uncle Sam to cater to these folks who are simply foolish to travel to such areas of the world.
Posted By Anonymous Jackie, Sterling, Virginia : 9:32 AM ET
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