Thursday, July 20, 2006
Hitching a chopper ride to Beirut
Beirut. That's where I'm heading now.

After nearly a week of covering this conflict from all over northern Israel and Cyprus, I'm finally about to take off for Beirut. Literally.

My team and I tried over the weekend to cross into Lebanon from Jordan, but Syria wouldn't let us in. Now we're shooting a story about the U.S. air bridge that has been ferrying Americans out of Beirut since Sunday.

Brigadier General Carl Jensen is in charge of the operation. He's a no-nonsense Marine determined to get the Americans out as quickly as possible. So far, they've taken about 1500 Americans by air and sea. On Thursday, they hope to get about 3000 more.

My team and I are on a Marine Corps chopper. Ok, now we just took off. Within about a minute, we are over water and the rear hatch of the chopper is opened up. The sea is an extraordinary blue, and the air in the chopper rapidly cools off. The thud of the rotors is deafening, but it is great to be moving again after a few days in one place.

We plan to stay in Beirut once we land, and put together a story about what the Marines are doing and how the evacuations are going. I'm not sure how long I will be in Beirut, but after three nights in Cyprus, it is good to be getting another angle on the story.

Assuming everything goes as planned, we should land in about an hour. We will try to do our show from Beirut tonight, and then after that, who knows? This is a fast-moving story and we are trying to follow it wherever it goes.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 3:37 AM ET
  84 Comments
Thank you so much for your (and your crew's) excellent coverage of this story.
Please stay safe!
Posted By Anonymous Jessica, Hattiesburg, Mississippi : 8:23 AM ET
AC,

How does Beruit look as of now? What are you seeing as a "first person" vs. watching thru the media? Stay safe and keep it fair.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Grand Haven, MI : 8:23 AM ET
Thanks Anderson,for your continued field reporting. You are an eyewitness for the world, and I appreciate your efforts. Take care, we need you.
Posted By Anonymous Kay Jasso, Cape Coral, FL. : 8:24 AM ET
Hello Anderson & Crew!

You are doing an amazing job keeping us informed of the events in that part of the world. Beirut is a dangerous place...take care! Kudos to all the CNN correspondents in the Middle East.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl, Ontario, Canada : 8:25 AM ET
Hey Anderson-Thanks for the great upclose reporting. I will be looking forward to 360 tonight from Beirut. You do superb reporting just PLEASE stay safe!!!! My prayers are with you and your crew.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann Taylor Nacogdoches, Tx : 8:27 AM ET
"You will follow the story where ever it goes."

You insult me. How arrogant a statement can you make? You, one reporter with your 'team' will follow the story like is a loose dog running astray through a small village. Maybe you've not noticed this is a struggle between the ideologies of two people groups and their ruling governments that has gone on for years and has a legacy measured in the deaths of millions.

Reexamine your role here in this and consider refining your perspective to the summation of the few moments of time and people you can actually see. It's pretty small and so seems your thinking.
Posted By Anonymous Bob Patrick, Indianapolis, IN : 8:29 AM ET
Anderson,

Glad you are finally going over to tell the other side of the story. You're doing a great job at covering it all. I feel like I really am getting a sense of what is going on over there. Keep up the great job!!!
Posted By Anonymous Barbara Kozlowski, Phoenix AZ : 8:49 AM ET
Anderson,

I live in Maryland, and at this moment, BWI Baltimore-Washington International airport is handling thousands of evacuees from Lebanon. If you find Americans (still?) in Beruit, please tell them help is ready on the other end- in America. Maryland is being very generous in the way of providing transportation, shelter and numerous human resources to the evacuees. They'll be safe here.
Posted By Anonymous Donna, Columbia MD : 8:58 AM ET
Why??? Beirut???
I like your immediate coverage,but Lebanon and Israel tired me. Please stay safe or I can't sleep well...
Posted By Anonymous Yukako,Japan : 9:25 AM ET
I am absolutely dumbfounded by the complaints of some of our citizens in Lebanon. How can one possibly complain about how long it takes to be "rescued" form a place where you willingly went? In case these people didn't notice, the Middle-East has a lot of problems and violence can and has sprung up at any time. So to all of the Americans, like Tony and Monica Esseily, quit complaining and wait your turn. Next time pick a better "vacation" spot, like the Caribbean, or Austarlia, or back-packing through Europe, not going to a war and violence filled region.
Posted By Anonymous Jason, St Petersburg, FL : 9:29 AM ET
Hi Anderson. Very cool live blogging you got going on here. I'm glad you're getting another angle of the story. I look forward to the coverage. Everyone stay safe.

Also, it's good to hear they're finally getting large numbers of Americans out. While I understand they must be dealing with a logistical/security nightmare, the slow pace compared to other countries is disappointing. After everything our country has been through these last few years I'd like to think that we'd be on top of the situation better than anyone, but I guess that's not the case. That being said, it sounds as if most people are doing their best.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 9:31 AM ET
Hi Anderson,

You and the crew are as always doing a fantastic job. I wish you all the best.
You are all in my prayers.

Peace on Earth!

Anne Rudolph
Posted By Anonymous Anne Rudolph Collingswood, NJ : 9:32 AM ET
God bless and God speed. It's good to have some eyes on the story. Tell it like it is, we need to know the truth.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Jordan, Lancaster, PA : 9:35 AM ET
Glad to see you guys are on the move again. Looking forward to seeing the piece.

Stay safe!
Posted By Anonymous Lily - Vancouver, BC, Canada : 9:36 AM ET
Love your coverage mate! keep it up. I was in Beirut 3 months ago studying for a semester on a scholarship, I absolutely fell in love with it, and its people. Its a pity you or anyone else for that matter wont get to experiance the Lebanon I did.
Posted By Anonymous Anthony Hawwa, Sydney, Australia : 9:36 AM ET
Anderson, Producers and CNN Team:

The world is watching all of you! Thank you for responsible and developing journalism.

Last night I watched another news cast from a competing station in addition to CNN. All the others could talk about was WW III.

How can we be promoters of peace and justice when some of the media wants to put is in a war?

Unfortunately many Americans are not informed about international affairs and world markets. We don't teach our children in US schools a second language let alone Middle East history.

Continuous mentioning of WW III by news organizations will only promote fear and alarm in the US and throughout the world. Thank you all for having a core value system.

In your work today, remember this..
"If we are to build a better world, we must remeber that the guiding principle is this -- a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy."
Friedrich August von Hayek
"Road to Serfdom" 1944
1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
1991 Presidentail Medal of Freedom, one of the two highest civilian awards in the US "for a lifetime of looking beyond the horizon."

All the best to you all! Be safe, be well!
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 9:43 AM ET
Anderson, as always, a wish of safety and wellbeing for you and your crew!

I'm looking forward to the broadcast from Beirut; though I realize the danger in which the news crews are putting themselves, I, as well as many others, are appreciative that we have such amazing coverage of the events unfolding in the Middle East. I am glad to see that the evacuation is stepping up. I am somewhat divided on the "why did it take so long" issue that seems to be a major topic. I do not know anyone who is there, and would probably feel differently if I did, but I do not think the evacuation is not as much of a fiasco as some have made it out to be. In the first few days of the conflict, why would the Administration send ships and choppers if they do not know how long the conflict will last? What if there were only four days of fighting? It never would have become and issue. At this point, I think that Americans simply expect that whatever the Bush Administration does is either completely wrong, or completely blundered. For example, I have heard criticism that Condi Rice has not gone over there yet. What can she do while the bombs are still flying? Is she going as a diplomat or a soldier? It makes no sense for her to go there if none of the involved nations will sit down and talk as they are too busy defending their own.

I am curious about the experience in attempting to cross the Jordanian border into Lebanon. Is Syria engaging in a lot of activity along the whole of the borders of Lebanon? I would naturally assume that they would be monitoring their own borders, as we have seen with the Lebonese refugees crossing into Syria, but I am interested in Jordan's interest in the matter. We have not been hearing much of the nations other than Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. I remember hearing a Lebonese mother telling a CNN reporter something regarding the Arab leaders and their lack of action in this crisis. Are Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other nations expressing interest and/or concern for what is happenning? I naturally assume that they would be monitoring the situation closely, but I would like to know more about what the Jordanian government is thinking and doing. Are they just watching the news like the rest of us, or are they implementing contingency plans within their own borders to act/react if necessary? At what point will other nations become involved? Would it take another month of bombings, or complete occupation of Lebanon by Israel?
I think I am one of those people who are not as concerned with what IS happenning, and more concerned about what WILL happen.
Thanks and good luck!
Posted By Anonymous tommy, Madison WI : 9:46 AM ET
This war is against terrorism.Hezbolla killed
a lot of Americans too and now involved in IRAQ
war .So why Israel stands in front of this
war by herself.The marins in Beirut have to help Israel . They trained for combat and not
for humanitarian missions.I hope that ISRAEL
WIN.Otherwise there is no hope for any of us
in free world.
Posted By Anonymous Ann Toronto Canada : 9:48 AM ET
An Appeal to Anderson Cooper:
You seem like a decent man. I watched you report on Katrina. I have heard you describe your experiences in Somalia and in Sarajevo. You speak with integrity. You are brave. And you want to cover the full story - 360degrees.
I appeal to you, then, to tell us what is happening in the villages of southern Lebanon. People are trapped. Israelis bombed the escape routes, then urged civilians to flee, then bombed them as they tried. Families are still besieged, not knowing if it is more dangerous to stay or to go. If we are to understand the full humanitarian cost of delaying a ceasefire, their story needs to be told. Go to southern Lebanon.
Posted By Anonymous Kristin Smith Washington, DC : 9:56 AM ET
Anderson Cooper and team, great coveragfe. But how do you overcome a people whos religion tells them that to get themselves killed in battle will give them ever lasting grace.

I see nothing in your coverage about that???????????
Posted By Anonymous Howard Levinson, Murcia, Spain. : 9:56 AM ET
Thanks to you and your team for the balanced coverage of middle east events. As the mother of two small boys, I can certainly relate to the fear that those stranded must be feeling. Thank you also for your favorable portrayal of the US military. These men and women put their own safety aside each day in order to provide safety for others. All too often though, these are not the ones who become the focus of the media. You and your team have changed that a bit with last night's story and your developing one. My husband is a reservist and I cannot help but wonder how these events in the middle east will affect our family. We'll be watching! Thanks again.
Posted By Anonymous t knight knoxville tn : 9:56 AM ET
I'm glad to see you reporting from the other side finally. Thanks.
Posted By Anonymous Dean, New York : 9:57 AM ET
Question: is there any indication that the Israeli military have considered using Special Operations teams to either rescue the soldiers, or at least engage Hezbollah belligerents directly? I would have thought this would have been one of the first options considered; instead Israel jumped straight into dropping bombs on civilian areas after the Hezbollah guerillas have long gone.

It's not like Israel is doing this simultaneously and secretly, cause there's no way these teams would be able to operate in Lebanon now with the bombings and an inflamed Lebanese population.

I know it's asking a lot of these type of soldiers, and I know they aren't Supermen, but doesn't their job include these type of dangerous yet benificial missions? After 50 years we ought to know by now that long range bombings of mobile guerilla units doesn't work.
Posted By Anonymous Kerron Jack, Trinidad and Tobago : 9:57 AM ET
Anderson.

I am "living" this conflict thru you and your team. Finally going to Beriut - We all know that you have to keep "moving" to stay sane. Again, be safe and we'll be watching tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Kathleen Gazall Flint MI : 9:58 AM ET
How do you feel about what you see? Are you afraid? Does the chaos remind you of the evacuation after Hurricane Katrina? What is happening to the people without money, or cars? What is happening to the infirmed and elderly who cannot get out alone? Will anyone rescue them? What about their pets? Will we ever learn to love each other...
Posted By Anonymous Madeline, Baltimore, MD : 9:58 AM ET
All I can say is wow. It's kinda scary to even imagine the chaos.
Posted By Anonymous Miranda, Bentonville, Arkansas : 10:01 AM ET
Thanks Anderson for keeping this story so very real. It is way too easy to forget what is going on out there.
Posted By Anonymous Shelly, Pic River, ON Canada : 10:04 AM ET
Cyprus too quiet for you Anderson? I was wondering how long it would be before you got back to the actual crisis area. Having said that I hate to admit it but I have been flipping channels to see how other networks are covering the crisis, but I have always come back to CNN. Why? Because you guys are the absolute best. While other networks seem to rehash the same old statistics and footage CNN reporters do not. All of you take the initiative to see what else is out there or how to look at stories from different angles. I have lost tons of sleep watching the coverage on CNN, but I'm not complaining because I know you all have lost more and are probably dead on your feet at times.

I must say that I have enjoyed your Reporter's Notebooks the last several nights. To get a behind the scenes look at what goes on during the filming of segments not only lets us know how hard you guys work, but also that you are staying safe while doing working.

Thanks again for covering this crisis in a way we can all be a part of it eventhough your viewers are thousands of miles away safe in our homes. Bringing the human side and the explanations of the feelings of both sides is what 360 does best, so keep it up.

And now that you are back in the fray of the conflict please wear your flak jacket and helmet when necessary.

360 crew and Anderson - Take care I am sending my thoughts and prayers to all of you. Please stay same and come home as soon as you can.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia Warren MI : 10:06 AM ET
Anderson,
I was wondering how long it would be before you found a way into Lebanon! To be honest, I was surprised to see you in Cyprus for three nights in a row, especially when there is so much happening every day in Israel and Lebanon. You are a remarkable reporter, and you seem to be at your best when you are covering "live" stories where you are in the heart of the action. As nerve-racking as it is for those of us watching you report from these places, it is always enlightening to hear you cover the story from all perspectives. It has certainly helped me gain a better understanding of what is happening in the Mideast.

Stay safe, and I, and many others, will continue to keep you and your team in our thoughts and prayers.
Posted By Anonymous Phyllis Miller, Lancaster, PA : 10:07 AM ET
As a Jamaican-Canadian I am far removed from this situation, yet I am stressed, outraged and sadden by the butality that is taking place in the Middle East. What can I do to help, the inocent people that are helpless? Can anyone help? Why is the rest of the world allowing this to happen in this day and age? I pray for children and familes on both sides.
Posted By Anonymous Nadine, Toronto,Ontario : 11:13 AM ET
While I support the freedom of the media, and appreciate the in depth information you bring us, I can't understand the constant "tagging along" with our troops. The military is there to provide a safe passage for our citizens out of Beruit. You and your team joining them just gives them one more thing to worry about. This is a real and dangerous situation, and the media distracting those charged to protect us needs to stop so those people can do their jobs.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly, San Francisco, CA : 11:14 AM ET
Perhaps you could be the FIRST reporter to say something positive about the evacuation efforts. As a former foreign service child, I resent the implications that the U.S. Embassy has not done enough. The Embassy is not in the business of evacuating thousands, and given that Americans tend to be a huge target everywhere in the world, the State Department and military acted with prudence in making sure that when they moved the evacuees, they did so in a safe environment. This did mean delays in order to make sure travel would be safe, but it also meant endless updates by phone to those who were stranded. Some people may not have gotten all the calls they wanted, but with thousands wanting to leave, and a small staff doing their utmost in the very same conditions that the evacuees are in - some semblance of gratefulness to the Embassy staff and the U.S. Military would be much appreciated. FInally, I don't think $150 to get out alive is much. If the evacuees think they should not pay, and the bloated pontificaters on Capital Hill agree, then who do you think is going to pay? The American people! How much would a commercial ticket had cost them had they been able to leave by other means. We have become a nation of spoiled "ME's" and the media has helped to encourage this. Shame on you, and shame on offering your opinions by the way you phrase questions. For once, how about just plain reporting, and let those of us with some semblance of intelligence make our own decisions. I think I can do that, but can you?
Posted By Anonymous Mary James-Centreville, Md : 11:23 AM ET
Hello Anderson & Crew

From the worldwide news ,i was concern that many lives were taken away from this war. Would request:- can your crew please check out why so many Lebanese peasant died from the Israeli land & air attack ? Did the Israeli really kill the peasant or is it been stage by the Lebanese goverment. There is too much killing. sad.
Posted By Anonymous Hunter, g'town, penang : 11:25 AM ET
Anderson,
war is of attrition and their is never a winner, your coverage is real, thank you. I can not assume that the majority of Lebanese are terrorists, if we lived in an city, region, area where their were militant terrorist, I would try my best to force them out, as America does with its drug dealers in residential areas. We never hear from any Lebanese person talking against hamas, and pleading for them to stop and return the soldiers,. The proliferation here is a direct result ( from what I read, watch and hear) commenced when hamas went into Israel, killed soldiers and kidnapped two. Why? Here in America, we would have a neighborhood war, the Lebanese have allowed the terrorist to live and move around like ghosts within the communities, the leaders of hamas say, let the Israelis come here face to face and fight, but with who? they hide, they wear masks, ( is this so that their own neighbors will not recognize them ) and flush them out, perhaps some parents do not know that their own children are involved. Only when these militants can learn to respect others, for whoever they are, and learn to love there own children as mush as they hate, will we live in peace.

Be safe!!
Posted By Anonymous Richard, Montreal : 11:26 AM ET
My mom and sister have been waiting near the bridge (in dbaye,lebanon) for their turn all day long (on thursday) and you know how hot it is there right now. The evacuation is so disorganized and people are evacuating in a very miserable manner. I do believe that American citizens deserve better than this.
Posted By Anonymous Reem J, NY, NY : 11:32 AM ET
Anderson,
You probably won't read our comments while in Beirut, but I think people would be interested in not just a story of those lifted or shipped to safety, but also in a story of those who are left behind.
Where are the ordinary Lebanese going? What does the city look like ?
Two weeks ago, Beirut was a vibrant place - it's now rubble.
Show us the price of war - and stay safe while doing so.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Dean, Seattle, WA : 11:44 AM ET
I was surprised that anyone in the news industry allowed their passports to be stamped when entering Isreal. I am a lowly traveller and even I know that must be done if one ever wants to enter into an arab state. By the way, business folks acquire two passports. Why don't you all have two? There are always ways. (but I'm just a lowly traveller)
Posted By Anonymous Sue, NYC : 11:48 AM ET
Anderson be safe and also don't be biased. As a European living in the US right now I am dismayed at the one-way portrayal of this conflict by the US Media. People need to see what the Lebanese are going through, it is a catastrophe.
Posted By Anonymous tauant, washington dc : 11:49 AM ET
Can CNN and other stations do something about the reporting. I hear it reported so much "Casualites for Lebanon "379" for Israel "50." These are arbitrary numbers of course, but the point is, it's reported like it's a score on a video game.

This isn't a video game. These are people...someone's mother, father, child, etc. Can't it be reported to remind viewers of that?

I also think attention is given much more to Israel's casualites then to Lebanan's
Posted By Anonymous Michael, St. Paul, MN : 11:58 AM ET
My brother is in his hooneymoon and is stuck in Beirut. It has been total chaos. The US has no organization in their evacuation. The State Department sent us a confirmation via e-mail for my brother and his wife to be evacuated today. The e-mail stated they would leave at 9:00am today. They were there all day long and at 2:00pm found out they were not getting evacuated. They were also told that there are no more lists and that it will be first come basis. They told me is total chaos.
Posted By Anonymous JB, Miami Florida : 11:59 AM ET
I just wanted to say your coverage of this area vastly exceeds what the NYTimes.com has been doing. I appreciate that you're not taking sides, that you're actually there and you're blogging about this, even allowing comments. This is really the best way to do this, thanks from all of us who are safe here in the States.
Posted By Anonymous mike w., rochester, ny : 12:07 PM ET
It's great that you have found a way into Lebanon, many people were getting tired of the continuous coverage of Israel and it will be great to see the story tonight. At the beginning of this conflict I thought that Hezbollah was the main problem here...but now that I think of it I think that Israel is to blame just as much as Hezbollah. Israel is trying to get three kidnapped soldiers back, right? Well is it worth the lives of hundreds of their citizens to get them back? Maybe you can cover that angle tonight as well. I love watching the show and will be watching tonight, of course.

You all have to be safe though. Without you guys covering all the angles, who will?
Posted By Anonymous Ann, Millbury, Ma. : 12:08 PM ET
I am really looking forward to seeing your report from Beruit.
This conflict has no end in sight and I was wondering what exaxtly is happening to try and calm it .
Is anyone taking the steps to bring the two sides together , is the US planning to intervene ? is anyone doing anything?
I watch this with a pit in my stomach, just wishing to hear something hopeful
Posted By Anonymous Reena, Phoenix AZ : 12:31 PM ET
For the people who never been in middle east specially lebanon, saying how do we accept having terrorist living among us and circulating like Ghost around us, and then you say why don't we say or do anything. werent you watching the news last year when Hariri was killed or when Jibran tueni was killed or when few journalists were killed only bc they were speaking their mind about these other groups living in our country. If you check Lebanon history, you can see that 2 of our presidents were killed only bc they dared to say no to the other groups.
for the person on top talking about the Essaily family, saying why they went to vacation in lebanon instead of europe or the carribean, well, simply bc their familly is there. we lebanese people have strong sense of values and familly. why like to meet whenver is it possible. plys when they went to lebanon the situation was great. peace.
Posted By Anonymous Pax, San Bernandino, CA : 12:42 PM ET
The true story lies with the innocent citizens of a nation that has been hijacked by a group of terrorists that have no regard for humanity. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, children, and elders have found themselves in harms way, and at the mercy of their embassies to rescue them. Yes, they went willingly, but nobody went knowing that there would be a war. It's no different than people going to London at the time of the subway bombings. Or Madrid at the time of the train bombings. Or NYC... We should have nothing but compassion for the people that have found themselves in such a situation.

Stay safe in Beirut, and remember that you don't have to be a hero. You're already in a league of your own.
Posted By Anonymous Lucy, Toronto, ON : 12:43 PM ET
Anderson:
I knew so little about Middle East conflict until I began following your coverage. For someone who is new like me, I found Tom Foreman's overview segment useful. Its still overwhelming though why these countries have to bomb each other killing innocent civilians. I saw Netanyahu's interview last night, and he said that as long as attacks to civilians are not intentional, it is justifiable. More I see your coverage how much those civilians in both Israel and Lebanon are suffering, I question his comment about what is justifiable. As we all learned, Hezbullah is backed up by Iran which looks to me is more threatening figure in middle east, I feel that we ought to know more about what Iran is planning to get out of this war and what their next plan is. Anderson and all CNN crews, please be safe, I will keep following your coverage until it ends, hopefully soon.
Posted By Anonymous Hiro, New York, NY : 12:55 PM ET
I'm originally from Southeast Michigan. In the grand scheme of things, this war would be similar in size and scope to the East Side of the Detroit Metroplex beating up on the West Side, which occurs there with daily frequency. The only differences are Detroit has fewer holy sites, the weapons in the Middle East are bigger (but only by a bit) and Detroit gets far less media coverage Since. I was a little boy, 40 years ago (I remember the Detroit riots of 1967) there has been war, unrest and retribution in the Middle East. There have historically been brief skirmishes as well, the Seven Day War, the Weekend Brouhaha, etc. I'm sorry about all the suffering, but it's not as though this has been unexpected. If Vegas gave odds on war in the Middle East on Jan. 1 of any year, it'd take 9 to get you 5.
Posted By Anonymous Peter, Sarasota, FL : 12:55 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

Looking forward to seeing what is going on in Beirut through your eyes. To be honest with you, the whole who, what, why and where's of the situation still are a little confusing. It's very frightening to think that in this day and age something such as this can still occur.

Thank you to you and your crew for all of your hard work and, as usual, great reporting and coverage. And also assisting in helping everyone to understand what is going on.

Stay safe AC! God Bless!
Posted By Anonymous Suzanne, Tampa FL : 1:07 PM ET
Thanks again for your coverage. Love the Reporter's Notebook from Israel.
When the photographer took your photo..Interested to see what Beirut is like except in southern area. Sounds as though not too bad. Pls give us coverage from "man in the street." Nic Robertson seems to be in Hezbullah camp...would like a different angle.
And some coverage from Israeli towns in the north if possible..
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Oaklyn, New Jersey : 1:29 PM ET
Hi. I am praying for the safety of the innocent people caught on all sides of the conflict. What is daily life like for the average citizen in Gaza, Israel, and Lebanon? I saw a recent report by John Vause that showed a brief image that has stuck in my mind: a small child, seemingly alone (although maybe there was someone off-camera), running in horror for cover as sirens sounded and rockets crashed nearby. You could just see the fear in the child's face and body, as his shoulders jerked upwards at the sounds of the rockets and sirens. And what does it say about childhood in a war zone that a child that young knows intuitively how to seek cover?

I understand the importance of focusing on Israel, Lebanon, and Gaza, but I hope you can also do stories nightly about what is going on in Iraq and the rest of the world (the Congo, Darfur, the AIDS crisis, and the recent tsunamis/earthquakes, etc.). I worry that our country-- especially under the "leadership" of Bush-- has situational ADD and only focuses on that which grabs the headlines of the day, especially when Americans are caught in the fray.

Unless I misheard a reporter (and, sadly, I don't think I did, although I was typing at the time--talk about not focusing-- so I may have), 250 people died last week alone in Iraq. When does the level of sectarian violence rise high enough to be considered civil war? What must we do to ensure that the violence stops?

It would also be wonderful to hear perspectives from around the world about what is happening and what can be done (one of my favorite Web sites for views around the world is www.worldpress.org).

Peace.
Posted By Anonymous Norah, West Chester, PA : 1:33 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
I'll try to give a comment again..Please interview the local residents..Let them speak for themselves..A bombed out building needs to be shown..But it's the people who have to stay there long after you've left that I'm interested in hearing from..Take Care..I'd just like to thank all the CNN reporters..Excellent work..Excellent team work..
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 1:33 PM ET
I thought that by incorporating what was being shown on other middle eastern television stations, you and your crew showed an impressive aspect of news judgement. I think part of covering any middle eastern conflict is demonstarting how each party involved is viewing the conflict.
Posted By Anonymous Michele, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia : 1:41 PM ET
Beirut revisited. I remember flying into the wartorn city and we had to close the shades of the airplane windows, were forbidden to look out. A few people got off the plane; a few people got on. Then we left and shortly thereafter were permitted to open the shades again. That was in 1979. Full circle.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 1:46 PM ET
I'm sure that you and Barbara Starr and many of your other reporters wouldn't be able to give us much of a story without the U.S. military. So a big thank you to them also. Stay low.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 2:11 PM ET
I would like to know what on Earth Americans are doing in Lebanon anyway, and why they expect my tax dollars to give them a lift out? And on top of that, they complain about the speed of evacuation. They put themselves there, they can get themselves out. Hmmm... Maybe they can go sight seeing in Iran and North Korea on their way home.
Posted By Anonymous John, Charlotte, NC : 2:17 PM ET
None of my comments ever seem to make it onto the blog (whimper....sniffle), but I guess I'll give it the old college try once again. Beirut is said to be the most dangerous place in Lebanon right now, and I hope you and you and your crew keep you helmets on and ears and eyes open. I'd like see pictures if their are any, of the sub-basement hideouts Hezbollah (or should I say Hexbollah?)was using for weapons storage. I'd like to see or hear anything other than the usual clouds of smoke and the rubble that seems to be rapidly replacing what once was "the new" Lebanon. Does it seem that all of the country will be turned over like so much sod and all of the boudnaries reestablished so that no terror outfits can ever again destroy the dream of a peaceful democracy for Lebanon and fear-free lives for those who wish to live in Israel? Or do you think the tyranny of Muslim's dark side and the millions of recruits it brainwashes every year will continue the cycle of death until the last of us is out of breath? Who, if anyone, do you think can formulate a language that will speak to the hearts of those who are willing to take their own lives to destroy those of others? I want to believe that every terrorist is simply a Grinch up on a mountain who has not been invited to a celebration of human compassion, and who given a chance to participate, would experience the enlargement of that organ four times over. But I have always believed in the goodness of man, rather than the alternative, that we cannot help ourselves, and must leave this physical world to meet in another place to find the spirit of everlasting love. Anderson, do you think man can one day take care of all of his brothers and sisters? Do you think there is ever going to be such a thing in that part of the world... or anywhere else? We can only hope and do our part. You are very brave. Please be careful!
Posted By Anonymous Eric, Denver CO : 2:44 PM ET
Cooper, when you are in Lebanon, I hope you will show the destruction that has been committed by israeli terrorist. I hope your viewers will see that the zionist terrorist are killing civilians and destroying parts of Lebanon that have nothing to do with this mess.
Posted By Anonymous Hicham, Dearborn MI : 2:49 PM ET
Hey Anderson:

I can't wait to watch the show tonight. You and your team are awesome and the coverage so far on the crisis has been outstanding. I am learning so much about this issue just from watching your show(it's the only news show I watch!) Please be safe and God bless.
Stephanie Wood
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie Wood, Charles Town, WV : 3:04 PM ET
Hey Anderson

So you blogged at 3:37 AM, I never thought to check the blog at 4:00AM before I went to bed. Please be careful in Beirut as you follow this story "wherever it goes" and never underestimate the power of one man with goodness in his heart as he searches for the truth. As the man said last fall "the power of 100 bulldozers!" I hope I remembered it right! I agree with him.

I really enjoy your Reporter's Notebook segments. It adds so much to the story knowing what you have to go through to put it together. Also, thanks for talking to the marine Captain who explained the problems with getting people evacuated. I guess we should've realized on our own that any individual embassy is not staffed to handle this type of emergency that seemed to appear out of nowhere. You really do cover all the angles and we appreciate it.

Keep safe and come home soon.

Chris
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 3:30 PM ET
Correction: The Marine was not a Captain but a Brigadier General; oops, I demoted him a bit, didn't I.

Sorry!
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 3:33 PM ET
I, and I am sure others, would be very interested in knowing how this conflict, and your coverage of it, differs from the many other wars and conflicts you have covered for the past 15 years. I read your book, and I understand each one was different, but as an observer and reporter, how do these affect you and how do you see them? How has your perspective and coverage changed over time, from since you were young and gaining experience, to now that you are mature about the world and seasoned as a reporter and individual?

I am intrigued by what you may say. Thanks and stay safe.


Work smarter, not harder in these circumstances.

Paige
Posted By Anonymous Paige B., austin, TX : 3:37 PM ET
Anderson PLEASE:

Let people know that Christians in Beirut are 100% AGAINST HIZBOLLAH. We want them out...but it saddens us to see the destruction, that all Lebanese have worked so hard to achieve...but let people know the truth...please..
Posted By Anonymous Kat, toronto, Canada : 3:42 PM ET
Anderson-
In the remote possiblity that you read this, I just wanted to thank you for the coverage of the situation. I think you and the crew of 360 is doing a good job, getting all the angles and such. I usually don't make it a point to watch the news (excluding The Daily Show, which doesn't really count) but I like the way your show is done, and the way you report it. So I just wanted to say thanks and keep up the good work.

And do stay safe over there, your crew too. Otherwise I will be forced not to watch the news and no one likes an ignorant person. Be careful, and keep 'em honest.
Posted By Anonymous Kelli, Clayton NC : 4:09 PM ET
Anderson, producers, and crew,

You're ALL doing a wonderful job!!! Thank you so much for putting yourselves in harm's way to bring this story to the world - really. Please be as safe as possible. See you tonight!!
Posted By Anonymous Cindy, Little Rock, Arkansas : 4:38 PM ET
Anderson,
I'm looking forward to 360 tonight to hear about the help of the Marine Corps. WHO-RAH!!!
Please be safe and hope you will be back in the studio soon.
Posted By Anonymous Emily C., New Orleans, LA : 4:51 PM ET
Anderson,
You're as professional and unbiased a journalist as I've ever read. You're pieces on your blog are succinct, non-biased and so informative, it makes me feel that I am there with you.
Stay safe, stay brilliant, stau brief and be gone from Beirut soon!
Posted By Anonymous Karen Kaplowitz Westfield, NJ : 5:40 PM ET
HI Anderson

Stay safe in Lebanon. Wear your vest and helmet, please and stay low.

I would be interested in seeing a follow-up with Terry Anderson on this recent crisis. CNN did such an outstanding job in 2005 interviewing him after he revisited Lebanon after his 7 years in captivity.

Keep up the good work. I loved your book!
Posted By Anonymous Sue, Bourbonnais, IL : 5:42 PM ET
CNN's media coverage of the crisis in the middle east lately reminded me of the ongoing crisis in Cyprus; today is the 32nd anniversary of the Turkish invasion into Cyprus. In light of CNN's coverage from Cyprus, can we raise some awareness to the ongoing problem that the UN still has not solved?
Posted By Anonymous Peter, Chicago, IL : 5:58 PM ET
Anderson, thanks for continuing to blog every day. Knowing your whereabouts and thoughts and feelings makes me feel (almost) as if I'm there. I personally don't understand anyone wanting to vacation in Lebanon, but I sure would want to get out as soon as possible also. From what I see on reports from people arriving in the US today, most have no major complaints.
I also saw today on the bottom of the screen on CNN that a British journalist & crew were kidnapped then later released. Please watch your back while in Lebanon. If I see that you & your crew have been kidnapped or hurt, I'm afaid I'll have a heart attack. (that goes for Soledad and the others, too). Be safe and wear your helmet & vest.
My prayers will be with you. Sandra
Posted By Anonymous Sandra, Dublin,Ga. : 6:13 PM ET
If you have the Hezbollah spokespersons on again please ask if they'll admit to planning death and destruction for the Jews. You don't have to be so neutral with the bad guys. Remember it's the fanatic Islam terrorist against your life and my life. Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 6:16 PM ET
you and team already did excellent work there, and at this moment, i have nothing more to ask from your covering, but take care and stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous chaz, castro valley, ca : 6:25 PM ET
AC: // The pilot of the Marine Helicopter was Major Christopher Abrams - he's from Dover Plains NY and loves AC -360. I'm a Judge in Dutchess County Town of Dover and hope our paths will cross someday. Give Chris our love if you see him again.
Posted By Anonymous R. Wren Abrams : 6:49 PM ET
AC:
It is interesting to see all the retired US government leaders and military say "root cause is Syria and Iran. Go in and clean them out" while all the current ones say "stay out". Truth is the ex's had no balls to do what was necessary when it was their turn in the barrel, and now they decry the current administrations lack of definitive action.
Posted By Anonymous David R, Merrit Island, FL , USA : 7:46 PM ET
Anderson,

Glad you finally made it to Lebanon. i was impressed by your reporting on Wednesday night; it seemed to me that you were being a bit more even-handed when it came to reporting the incredible death and destruction Lebanon has endured over the past several days.

Please also get the Christian perspective in the bombed-out suburbs of Beirut like Ashrafieh. Good luck!
Posted By Anonymous HT, Los Angeles California : 8:19 PM ET
Anderson, you're doing a great job of covering "all the angles" as always. One question -- when in the world do you sleep?
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Asheboro, N.C. : 8:34 PM ET
You say you'll report on "how the evacuations are going". Please seek out the Americans of Lebanese descent who are from the Detroit area. A large number of that population is known to be sympathetic to Hezbollah. Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago ILI : 8:37 PM ET
I have been really impressed with all of the coverage of this conflict.The CNN team has done a great job covering all the angles as usual. I have also really appreciated the geographical and historical segments by Tom Foreman and others.The Middle East is an area with a trememdously significant history since literally the beginning of time and it so important to see how the past continues to impact the present and future. Schools in the US really don't cover that in history class so it is essential for news outlets to educate their viewers.
Stay safe AC and company and keep up the great work!
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Durham NC : 8:38 PM ET
Dear Anderson,
Thank you for the amazing job you are doing in reporting yet another tragedy. It really disturbed me to hear that mom last night who left Lebanon to save her kids, so that when they grow she can send them back to fight Israel. Thank you for reporting this with the raw reality that it is. May you and your crew stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Emma, Cary, Illinois : 9:21 PM ET
Thank you so much for your honest, candid reporting... ...unfortunately, it is becoming more & more difficult to believe things at home.
Report well, but PLEASE take care of yourself and your crew - we NEED you ALL around for many more years!

You are in our prayers...
Posted By Anonymous Bruce, Rancho Mirage, CA. : 10:48 PM ET
I'm sorry that you're putting yourself in so much danger yet again; however if you're going to do this, please do what you do best and show the world how ugly this war is from both sides of the conflict.

Network media isn't showing enough of the evil of war to make Americans work harder for peaceful solutions to conflicts in the middle east. You seem to have the ability, the courage, and the heart to do this.

Thank you for your dedication to reporting the human side of every story.
Posted By Anonymous Judy from Richmond, VA : 6:55 AM ET
Short but sweet:) I hope you keep safe in all your trapzing about. I for one love seeing all the angles that you have been able to show us and obviously plan to show us. It seems so far from us like it really doesn't matter and you help us to put a human face on it and realize it matters and it matters alot.
Posted By Anonymous Christine Hunt Aurora, ON Canada : 2:55 PM ET
When do you guys ever sleep? It looks like you're traveling and reporting all day and half the night as well.

Wear your helmets, Anderson and crew! Trust your instincts, and don't forget to duck!
Posted By Anonymous Darcy, Las Vegas, NV : 11:05 AM ET
Is it worthy it to risk your life to cover some stories nobody in the states really cares?
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Vancouver, WA : 3:35 PM ET
The American, British and Israelis the real axis of evil are in dreanland. Hezbollah will come out victorious over the axis of evil
Posted By Anonymous Johnny, Toronto, Canada : 3:08 AM ET
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