Washington, DC–SenateDemocrats today sent the following letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, pressing them to ensure the swift evacuation of all American citizens wishing to leave Lebanon. The letter comes amid disturbing reports that Americans registering with the State Department to leave Lebanon are not being evacuated immediately. The Senators urged the Secretaries to ensure that all necessary Defense Department assets are made available to secure these Americans’ transport out of harm’s way.
The text of the letter, signed by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Carl Levin, and Armed Services Committee Member Edward M. Kennedy, is attached below.
July 17, 2006
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
3E9880 The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301
Dear Secretaries Rice and Rumsfeld,
We are writing to urge the Departments of State and Defense to ensure that all American citizens wishing to leave Lebanon are evacuated as soon as possible and that necessary military assets are made available to facilitate the evacuation.
Reports that American citizens who have been registered with the State Department are not being evacuated immediately are enormously troubling.
As you know, there are approximately 25,000 American citizens in Lebanon. While we appreciate that some DoD assets have been made available, it is imperative that as many DoD assets as are necessary be made available to address this unfolding crisis.
Given the intensity of the conflict and the need to ensure the safety of American citizens, we would ask that the decision to evacuate Americans be made at once and that sufficient resources to expedite the evacuation be made available. Ensuring the safety of these Americans must be our top priority.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Senator Carl Levin, Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Member, Armed Services Committee