A lot of times I wake up and have no idea where I am. The blinds are drawn, the room is nondescript. It happened again just a few minutes ago. I lay there, looking at the ceiling, trying to remember. A few seconds passed, then the sirens sounded. Haifa. If there are sirens, I must be in Haifa.
It's easy to get confused. We've been traveling around a lot, trying to see this story from as many different angles as possible. We were in Beirut yesterday, then Haifa, and we're about to move again. We are heading back to the border with Lebanon to focus on Israeli military actions in southern Lebanon.
Yesterday, I had the chance to talk with a lot of the U.S. Marines and State Department officials running the ongoing evacuation of Americans from Beirut. Every day this past week, Marine and Air Force choppers have been landing at the U.S. embassy and ferrying Americans home. They've moved more than a thousand people by air, more than ten thousand by ship.
I know there was some criticism of the evacuation effort early on, with some Democrats comparing it to the response to Hurricane Katrina. But the truth is this week American forces have moved a huge number of people out, and they've done it under very difficult circumstances. Seeing the Marines and State Department people in action, up close, is inspiring. They are highly motivated and are working around the clock. They have been giving medical treatment to the sick, and I've watched them play with kids who are screaming with fear because of the deafening whirl of the helicopters.
Now, it seems like the U.S. military will begin ferrying in humanitarian supplies. Some will no doubt be critical, saying that the United States is not doing more to stop the violence. That is certainly an understandable position. But I just wanted to take a moment and recognize the efforts that individual Marines and sailors and State Department folks have been making.
We are quick to point out when our government fails; it's important to recognize when it works as well.