Evacuating Americans From Lebanon Is a Logistical Nightmare

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Remember Neil Entwistle? He is the Brit who is accused of murdering his wife and daughter and then fleeing to England. Scroll down to the bottom of the blog and you will see a news item about him.

It is and has been a monumental task to move the thousands of Americans out of Lebanon. Some have been critical of the American response vis-a-vis other countries' responses. There is a big difference between our country's evacuation task and other countries' task: the thousands and thousands of citizens the USA must evacuate. No country has nearly as many people to evacuate. Yes, we have more resources, but it is a logistical nightmare to move so many people on such short notice from so far away.

We went to the State Department on Monday to take a look at and tape the operation dedicated to designing and implementing the evacuation plan. People at the State Department are/were working around the clock. No one in the rooms paid much attention, if any, to us since they were so busy.

We showed the video of the State Department Task Force rooms on Monday's show and today we've posted still pictures that I took of the Task Force rooms. The area is secure — you need a top secret clearance to enter — because of the importance of getting the Americans out safely. They do not need our nation's enemies to know all the plans. You can't hide huge ships, but there is value in controlling the amount of information that gets out.

The three rooms — besides being guarded and secure — were ordinary. The activity inside was anything but ordinary. Everyone was working at a job that was just assigned to them days ago — get the Americans out and get them out safely.

I post the pics — even though ordinary — only to show you something that you might not otherwise see. I also posted pics from inside the State Department lobby since I assume you have not seen it before. Inside the lobby are flags from every nation in the world. I also have a pic of the courtyard and the sculpture in the middle.

Also posted today are two pictures I did not take, but that I was eager to see myself: Catherine Herridge's baby son, Peter. The pics were taken the day he was discharged from the hospital. I think he looks great in the pics — far better than what I saw when I was there in the hospital with them the day before the transplant surgery. Below I post an e-mail that Catherine sent me yesterday to keep you up to date on a story that has been very exciting.

By the way, I spent an hour yesterday going through my e-mail accounts — business and personal — looking for an e-mail I received from my colleague Adam Housley. (I can't recall which e-mail account he sent it to and, like many, I have multiple accounts!) Adam is in South Korea and wrote a very detailed e-mail about what he was seeing and has seen. I have not given up, I am still looking for the e-mail and if I find it, I will post it.

Another note: Yesterday I posted some links to the bios of my colleagues who are in the war-torn region. I forgot one bio link, so here it is:

Greg Palkot

I had no idea that Greg can speak four languages — I am still working on English.

And, with a war going on, I figured you needed something on the lighter side. Did you know that when former Speaker Newt Gingrich was a little boy, he had a reddish-colored cocker spaniel named Taffy? I extracted that information from him before the show started and as the two of us sat on the set waiting… it was not easy to pry this info out of him. He also added that Taffy was spelled with a "Y" and not an "I," which I thought was funny in that he added that info. without me asking. See, you do learn something on the blog!

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1 — from my colleague Catherine Herridge. An update on her son, Peter:

I forgot to mention the other day that we went and saw Dr. Marcos and the rest of my surgical team. He sends his best to you! I went back to the clinic for a routine visit. The surgeons like to check your incision because it is about a foot long. We took peter along with us so Dr. Marcos and Dr. Lopez could see what a difference their work had made.
They were so pleased to see him and how good he looks — they don't always have the chance to see both the donor and the recipient together. They are a great group — I was sad not to see another member of the team Dr. Marsh (he was probably operating). You can tell they really love what they do — especially when they can see the results.
They reminded me that after a big abdominal surgery you are at high risk for hernia for at least three months — so that means not lifting anything over 10 pounds. You don't realize how many things weigh more than 10 pounds until you can't carry them — for one I've had to abandon a purse and just carry a cell phone and 10 bucks in my pocket.
After some pleading, the doctors did cut us some slack — allowing me to help with Peter who weighs about 13 pounds now. Getting a hernia is one of the most common complications from this operation.
Peter is doing great. He is eating like there is no tomorrow and dazzling us with his ability to nearly roll over (no easy task when you have a new liver that's a little on the big side). But as we know by now, Peter is a determined little person. We have another clinic visit tomorrow. Will update after that. We miss you here in the burgh.
Catherine, JD, Jamie and baby Peter

E-mail No. 2

Do they live in the area? If so, I plan on watching them more often through this Middle East crisis... let your producer know that this viewer appreciates both of these soft spoken, brilliant generals and their credibility gives me comfort. And Jennifer is one fantastic journalist — big time. And so is the cameraman that took these pics — what a team, brave kids...

E-mail No. 3

Great interview, Greta,
Wouldn't a Gingrich-Giuliani ticket be hot? (Brains 'n brawn!)
Curtis Brubaker
Monarch Bay, CA

E-mail No. 4

I just listened to your conversation with Heather and my opinion of her is that she is a "whiner"... good grief, she is young, healthy and yes, a bit inconvenienced right now... she needs to "cowboy up," as we say here in Wyoming, and realize her choices about her life got her to where she is. Hope she learned something from her experience.
Linda Groves
Thermopolis, WY

Finally, this caught my attention… well, sort of. It was sent to me by a viewer, so the viewer gets the credit. It is from Channel 22 News in Massachusetts' Web site:

Home in Which Man Allegedly Killed Wife and Baby Up for Sale

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