New Orleans of the Middle East
American families stuck in Lebanon are resorting to signs, much as stranded NOLA residents did after Katrina. Meanwhile, Israel took out the Beirut airport several days ago, and has now taken out the bridges that connect southern Lebanon to Beirut, where US evacuation plans depart from. According to MI Senator Stabenow and Congressman Conyers, there are between 5,000 and 7,000 Michiganders stranded in southern Lebanon. There are up to 25,000 Americans from all states still in Lebanon. And the infrastructure to get them out has been destroyed.
We’ll see some staged photo ops from the 150 Americans who just landed in Baltimore–or from the 1000 who have arrived in Cyprus.
Meanwhile, we’ve got Marines in Lebanon–yes, you heard me right, Marines in Lebanon–to help with the evacuation. We all knew Bush aspired to copy Reagan’s foreign policy approach. Which makes me curious whether DOD has taken over the evacuation from State, or whether State finally admitted cruise ships just weren’t going to hack it anymore. I do know we tried to avoid bringing military ships close to Lebanon, for fear of the military image it’d present. Now we’ve got Marines in the country. Don’t get me wrong–to some degree I’m reassured that we’ll have the very competent Marines ensuring the safety of our citizens. But we wouldn’t need them there, in Lebanon, if we hadn’t given Israel One Week to do their damage.
Perhaps if the Bush Administration had not given Israel the green light to take out Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, this evacuation would not so nearly resemble a mixture of Katrina and Iraq. Perhaps if we hadn’t been more concerned about preventing pictures of Americans fleeing war, and had instead put the safety of American citizens ahead of PR concerns, we would not have so many Americans still in the line of fire.
But that’s not the MO of this administration. Their MO is to sit back while the damage occurs–or to cause it themselves–then to botch the response to the crisis they allowed to happen.