Tuesday, July 18, 2006


The Bush administration -- one big FEMA:

Europeans and Lebanese with foreign passports fled Lebanon by the thousands, while Americans expressed frustration at the slow pace of U.S. evacuation efforts Tuesday as a cruise ship chugged toward the country to pick them up.

...An American man and his wife boarding [a] Swedish chartered ship expressed anger at how long the process to evacuate U.S. citizens was taking as fighting between the Israelis and Hezbollah guerrillas entered its seventh day.

"I can't wait any more. I'm sorry it's taking them too long," he said. The man, who said he was from Pennsylvania, said he was too distraught to be interviewed and declined to give his name.

Jonathan Chakhtoura, a 19-year-old Lebanese-American fashion design student in Boston, said he registered with the U.S. Embassy electronically to be evacuated three days ago, but he has not heard from the embassy except for an e-mail acknowledging his registration.

Chakhtoura, who would like to be back in the U.S. before classes start on Sept. 6, said he was disappointed with the way the embassy has handled the evacuation.

"Every time I call to see what's going on the lines are busy. When they answer, they say they don't know," he complained. "I am extremely disappointed. A lot of people don't know what is going on. There is so much confusion. If it's security they are worried about, then I think we will be more secure if we know what is going on." ...

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