Rich Galen

Americans have been the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past. American citizens should thus keep a low profile [and]should also pay close attention to their personal security at locations where Westerners are generally known to congregate. . .

Well, DUH, Mr. Mullings. Don't you think, given what's been happening over the past two weeks, it makes sense for the US State Department to issue that kind of warning?

  • I do, indeed. Except that was posted on January 20, 2006 - exactly SIX MONTHS AGO.

  • There are no commercial flights into or out of Beirut, but to get a sense of what this would otherwise cost, an search shows a roundtrip fare of $2,035 on Delta from Baltimore-Washington Airport to Tel Aviv and back.

  • Assuming a one-way fare is half the round trip (I know that's not true, but bear with me) that's $25 million not including food on the way to, and while in, Cyprus nor housing while waiting for a flight to the US.

  • Here's my idea du jour: In return for a free trip to Baltimore paid for by American taxpayers in places like Marietta, Ohio 45750, the refugees from the "most exclusive and expensive international outlets" in Beirut should surrender whatever unused tickets they have.

  • The State Department should hand those tickets over to, say, the Salvation Army which would, in turn, make them available to the families of wounded American service members.

  • The families - because we KNOW the airlines will participate in this - would then be able to use those tickets toward the cost of visiting their loved ones in Landstuhl, or Walter Reed, or Bethesda Naval Hospital.

  • That would be a good deal for all.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring Page today: Links to all the State Department sites noted above and a link the BBC website about the growth in Beirut. Plus a Mullfoto of me practicing to create podcasts of Mullings and the WINNER of the Thought-Balloon-Over-Clinton's-Head contest

  • Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at