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Sunday, July 23, 2006
Our very strange day with Hezbollah
Hezbollah invited us to come see them again; it's the second time in as many days. Yesterday, Anderson, photographer Neil Hallsworth and I drove to the southern suburbs of Beirut and waited at a predetermined meeting spot.

A few minutes passed, then an old, American-made sedan pulled up behind us. Two men jumped out of the car. Our fixer approached them and after an animated conversation, one of the Hezbollah men stuck his head in our car window and said in passable English, "We're very sorry to inconvenience you but there will be no tour today. There are Israeli drones overhead and it's not safe to be here. Please leave now." Those were easy orders to follow.

Today, we were told Hezbollah was again willing to take our team into their neighborhood. Meet them at the same spot, they said, at 11 a.m. and don't be late. We weren't. We waited. Then waited some more, and what follows is a log of a very strange day with Hezbollah.

10:40 a.m.: Our team of Anderson, Neil, producer Tommy Evans and I arrive at the site of a bridge that's been blown to pieces by Israeli bombs. It's the same spot we met our Hezbollah men yesterday. Next to the bridge there are two high-rise apartment buildings under construction. This is a poor neighborhood and new construction clearly doesn't come here often. The buildings are heavily damaged, though, and it seems unlikely they'll ever be completed.

10:50 a.m.: Our translator, Mira, is making a call to Hezbollah's office, making sure they know we've arrived. You don't have to spend much time in these neighborhoods to realize that you're an outsider ... and you're being watched. They tell us they know we're here.

11:05 a.m.: Hezbollah is late for our meeting. We're sitting still for 25 minutes in an area recently hit hard by Israeli jets, so it's no surprise the mood is tense. We're not talking much. A young couple passes by -- the boy is wearing jeans and short sleeves, the girl a head-scarf and a dress covering her body ankle to wrist. They nod politely and continue past us. They're holding hands. We're still waiting.

11:22 a.m.: A crowd of journalists is passing 200 yards behind us and we quickly realize we've been given bad information and that Hezbollah's tour has started without us. We turn our car around and try to catch up.

11:26 a.m.: It's not hard to spot 40 western journalists walking through a bombed-out area, and we've just now found the group. We also find out we missed some ground rules. We're pulling into a side street and two men dressed in black step out of a doorway with AK-47s. Neil has the camera on his shoulder and they immediately assume he's rolling. He's not, but they want to check the tape anyway. We show it to them and they let us pass. Hezbollah tour ground rule #1: Don't show the faces of anyone we don't want you to see or pictures of places you're not supposed to be. Now we know. We catch up to the group.

11:35 a.m.: We're standing on what used to be a residential street. It's now a mess of wires and rubble. Smoke is still rising off the debris. Bombs have smashed nearly a quarter mile of this area and there's virtually nothing left. There's a twisted tire from a children's bike here, some compact disks from someone's collection there. Anderson is doing a few stand-ups, but the Hezbollah representative leading the tour is telling us it's time to move on. We tell him we want to talk to some people who lived here, who witnessed what happened. "Not here," he says. "Maybe at our next stop."

12:05 p.m.: Our car is being led through back streets to a broken-down building with five ambulances parked in front. "These are the emergency workers who respond to casualty calls when Israel drops their bombs," the Hezbollah man says. "Take your pictures and talk to some of them if you'd like." We're growing tired of what is now obviously a dog-and-pony show, but we decide to play along, and approach one driver with a few questions. Anderson asks him what kind of casualties he's seeing, but before he can answer, the ambulance beside us turns on his siren and screeches out, followed by the next ambulance, then the next. It's a well coordinated and not-so-subtle piece of propaganda that might as well come with a soundtrack titled "Hezbollah Cares."

12:16 p.m.: We again ask the Hezbollah guy (he won't give us his name) when we can talk to some residents, but he brushes us off and tells us maybe at our next stop. He's now on his cell phone and it's not hard to imagine he's making sure all the props are in place before we move on. I wish I spoke Arabic. He opens our car door, slides in, and says he's riding with us. We're fine with it and offer him a bottle of water. "No thank you," he says in English. While we have his attention, Anderson asks him if we can talk to someone in Hezbollah's leadership. His answer is short: "Not while we're at war." He gets out of our car and onto the back of someone's motor scooter.

12:30 p.m.: We're now driving through a neighborhood that hasn't seen any bombing, but it's here we're told we can talk to some residents. Hezbollah guy takes us down to what amounts to a crude bomb shelter and tells us the people here live on this street but are afraid to sleep in their apartment. The concrete room is dimly lit and dank. Two people on plastic chairs are watching an Arabic news channel. One sits in the corner yelling angry epithets about Israel for the reporters. We wait for the media gaggle to leave, then introduce ourselves. They tell us they're a mother, her son and his wife. There's no way to know if it's true. The conversation follows a familiar pattern:

"Are you scared?"

"No!"

"Will you fight?"

"To the death!"

"Do you hate Israel?"

"Of course, and its mother America!"

We thank them for their insights and move back up to the street.

12:44 p.m.: We're back on the street and on cue, a Hezbollah resistance song is now blaring from an apartment. A young man on the porch dressed in black is giving us the victory sign. I look behind me and there's our Hezbollah guide encouraging the young man to lift his hands higher so our camera can see.

12:50 p.m.: Anderson is doing a few more stand-ups about our story that's quickly become less about Hezbollah and more about their crude propaganda machine when the "family" emerges from the bunker behind us and joins their friends in the street. They're laughing, talking loudly, and gesturing with their hands, mocking anger. I really should learn Arabic. Anderson does another stand-up about the group now standing behind us.

12:55 p.m.: We pile into our van and are now driving out of the Hezbollah-controlled neighborhood. It feels like we've just left a haunted house: Slightly frightening at first, but ridiculous by the end.
Posted By Charlie Moore, CNN Senior Producer: 11:11 AM ET
  61 Comments
This was an excellent story Charlie. Thank you for posting it.
Posted By SV, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. : 11:46 AM ET
Yes. You should learn Arabic. It would be extremely helpful and give you an actual view of what people think. If you are seen as just some reporters flying in for some shots and then leaving then you are not being seen as a person really and therefore you are getting no respect. I think you will notice that people will actually respect you and give you real information if you make an effort to at least learn their language.
Posted By Thor, Asbury, NJ : 11:50 AM ET
Mr. Moore, thank you for the "play-by-play" account of your day in a Hezbollah-controlled neighborhood. They must think we're gullible to believe these staged acts. It's hard to report on the truth when you're in a very dangerous and volatile situation, and you're depending on the locals (who were prepped in this case, and there was no way to tell) to help you. After reading this story, we know better. Mr. Moore and all of the CNN team (Anderson, Sanjay, John, Christiane, etc.), please be careful. Thanks for your continuing dedication, but please, we would like to have you all back here in the States soon. Please tell Anderson and Christiane I say hi.
Posted By Beth, Edmonds, WA : 12:05 PM ET
After reading this I can see why Hezbollah doesn't see many CNN reporters.All you did is belittle their Propaganda efforts.But I haven't noticed the same snide comments directed at the obvious Israeli Propaganda.Could that be because you side with the Israeli's,hmmm!
Posted By Bob,Austin,Texas : 12:14 PM ET
I'm glad CNN appears to see through Hezbollah's barely veiled pro da tour. It's time for the world to stop granting these radical islamists the moral equivalency to Israel and the West that they certainly do not deserve.
Posted By BST, Atlanta, GA : 12:26 PM ET
Well, Hezbollah could be good or bad. But, that doesn't change the fact that ,American made bombs, killed inocent people in the that they showed you.
Posted By Bill, NYC, NY : 12:29 PM ET
Charlie I found your blog really interesting. Your experience in communicating with your hosts reminds me of my business dealings in South and East Asia. My expriences tell me you don't need to know the languages to get a very good understanding of what your hosts are doing. Sincerity, truth, honesty can be seen in body language, facial expressions, voice tones, and the eyes. Your last line...but ridiculous by the end....shows you finally understood what they were doing.

You also have to see it from their point of view. They don't know you are not feeding information, purposefully or not, to the IDF, so it seems to me they are testing you. CNN should be one of their most important routes for telling the world their story. Maybe you did not realize it but you gave teh location of the 10:40 am meeting point to the IDF. There are an unlimited number of bombed bridges in Lebanon in poor neighborhoods next to two high rise apartment buildings under construction. I know you are trying to give readers details and I crave for that, but Hezbollah may not like it.

I understand your description of the staged events. I recall seeing similarly staged events on TV during the 80s and 90s by various Middle East, anti Israel groups. I think most governments or organized groups do that. It seems it is part of your job to figure out the real truth so people like me can learn the truth.

Do not give up because of anger or resentment for Hezbollah making you jump through those hoops. They NEED you to give their story to the world. At the same time they need to show you more respect, so be strong to a point and be respectful of them. You will get the true story and the whole world NEEDS to learn it.

I find your blog really interest and fascinating. I havae read it several times. Thanks for your efforts. Do not give up.
Posted By John Wright, Minneapolis, MN : 12:31 PM ET
This is clearly a staged tour by Hezbollah, like the one shown on TV during the Iraq war when Saddam walks down a street with a few miserable supporters making up his fan club.
Look forward to seeing AC360's reporting on this strange day.
Posted By Gladys, Singapore : 12:32 PM ET
Charlie,
Your description of your meeting with the Hezbollah representative is fascinating and extremely frightening. Since this conflict seems to be escalating, how do you protect yourselves against being kidnapped or harmed by these people just so they can make a point? Do you really believe that there is still a chance of compromise here? The less the Bush administration is involved in this conflict the better the chance for some type of resolution. Both sides seem to be talking to everyone but each other. It is difficult to imagine anything being resolved this way. I know you are there to get the story, but please keep your guard up. There will be many more stories to be told. Send everyone our best. Take care.
Posted By Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio : 12:35 PM ET
What can I say-
At last a brief insight into what may be the rule. A hint that Israel hasn't indiscriminatly and with malicious forthough totalled Lebanon.
not Beirut totaly reduced to rubble, not massive murderous all-out bombing, not or even close to Dresden of WWII, just a very media-minded propaganda apparatus.
Posted By BEAE Upper Galilee, Israel : 12:46 PM ET
Mr Moore,I cant imaged what its like there. Thank you for all the blog's entries letting us all know what's going on with the AC crew. Where all keeping you in our thoughts and prays. Be safe wear your helmets and vests. Come home soon.
Be safe,
Anthony Guiliano
Posted By Anthony Guiliano Allentown PA : 12:47 PM ET
Thank you for your courage and tenacity on bringing us the Truth. Stay safe to you and all CNN staff.
Posted By allie,Cleveland,Ohio : 12:53 PM ET
Anderson, Charlie, Neil & Tommy,

WOW - what a story!! Please learn from this experience. These people are terrorist and you are putting yourselves in great danger. They could have easily kidnapped you and we would be watching your destiny unfold on television. I realize you have gone through security training and such, but don't lose sight of what you are dealing with. Hezbollah has no regard for human life, especially that of Americans. Please don't jeopardize your lives for an interview orchestrated by Hezbollah. Stay safe and we'll see you on 360 tonight.
Posted By Marsha, Laurel MD : 12:58 PM ET
Wow. Prejudiced, much? I suppose access to the Israelis or anyone connected to DC is less controlled?

As for the 'insights', hm, try asking some less banal questions...
Posted By Carmen, New Orleans : 1:08 PM ET
Charlie,

All of us AC fans are really worried about the danger you are in when you go to meet these people. I know you are award winning journalists and there is a lot of competition to get the "exclusive" but I think you are taking too much of a risk. It would devastate us if anything happened and you know Anderson would be a prize to any radical group out there. Although the coverage is great, I hope that the AC crew moves on to another site soon. The still photos taken of Anderson are awesome!
Posted By Sandra Street., Seattle, WA : 1:09 PM ET
This certainly sounds like everything you guys visited was preset. When you go into another country with a different perspective on the war, how do you know you're not just helping Hezbollah deliver their propaganda? Our family really enjoys watching CNN and your in depth coverage of the Israel/Hezbollah conflict.
Posted By Ryan Munson, Dexter, MI : 1:13 PM ET
Wow it's really interesting to see what's really going on over there. I remember that first time you guys tried to get on the tour and I was slightly concerned at the "shady-ness" of it all. I am glad though that you all seem to be alright. I wonder if Hezbollah knows that you all can see through their charade and that their PR work isn't working.

Keep up the great work and try to get some rest!
Posted By Kimberly, New York NY : 1:23 PM ET
If this is the best they can do with a propaganda attempt, one wonders how best they are truly coordinated in the actual war. All of this rhetoric of, "we still have some surprises" tends to ring hollow, reminiscent of the former Iraqi Info Minister, who turned out to be a walking joke. C'mon Hezbollah--this isn't the 1950s, let's see some better marketing. Focus more on your social services and the scope of wanton destruction, and less on the old school "die American pigs" yapping (yawn).
Posted By Raoul H, Santa Poco, CA : 1:24 PM ET
You guys are doing an amazing job over there. But I hope that after exposing this "performance" for what it was you won't be going back to their turf!

Stay safe!
Posted By Cynthia Delmar, Portland OR : 1:40 PM ET
How surreal.
Nice perspective on the absurdities of war. But remember, even the pursuit of irony can be dangerous. Keep your heads down.
Posted By Missy - Atlanta, GA : 1:42 PM ET
Terrific job, guys!!! Even considering the circumstances...

Please stay safe!!!
Posted By Mario Overall, Guatemala : 1:51 PM ET
Crazy, crazy world we live in!!
I can't imagine waiting in my car for Hezbollah to come and meet me. The whole 360 team should be commended.
Stay safe.
Posted By Michael, Haddon Hts, NJ : 1:51 PM ET
It is so true, and it is so sad. When the West sees pictures like that, and read articles like this one, they tend to move farther and farther away from our truth. The truth of the Lebanese who are against hezb-allah, but also against the Israeli government and what is subjecting our wonderful - trying to rebuild itself - land, and even more than the destruction of the infrastructure, the destruction of civilian lives.

I am writing this in the comfort of my home, thousands and thousands of miles away from the destruction taking place. And when I read your blog Mr. Moore, I cringe. I am, once more, afraid that the majority of the Lebanese, are represented by a few ignorant rogue militias, who happen to have a Lebanese citizenship.

My hope is that the West understands that just like the members of the KKK does not represent the rest of the US, and the members of the Canadian Skinheads do not represent the whole of Canada, members of Hezb-allah, do not represent the Lebanese people.
Posted By M.A., Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 2:08 PM ET
Hi Charlie,

Thanks so much for your great blog. Your team is doing such an amazing job of keeping us informed. You and Anderson are the observers for all of us, and I am so grateful. Getting the play by play of what happened is so informative. Please be careful and know that no story is worth putting your lives in danger. Come home soon.
Posted By Isabella Cooper, Plano, Tx : 2:10 PM ET
Hi Guys,
Really enjoyed your comment on the blog today. Can,t wait to see the show tonight,it will be very interesting to see. Loved the still pictures of Anderson last night they were great. You guys keep the story coming but please stay safe, you make me nervous. We will keep all the CNN staff and crews in our thoughts and prayers. Have learned a lot from your coverage about the Middle East.
Posted By Sandy Belvin Richmond, VA : 2:11 PM ET
Hezbollah-Army of God

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the fight is about real estate and power. All the proof we need is summed up beautifully by the Hezbollah flag.

After all, nothing says God quite like an AK47 as your logo.
Posted By Sharon, Elma,New York : 2:13 PM ET
Hi Charlie. Amazing report. It really puts into perspective how difficult it is for you guys to get the "real" story, which is obviously not what you got today. I hope the other journalists recognized the tour to be complete propoganda like you did.

I'm a little confused by your comments that you need to learn Arabic. Was Mira the translator no longer with you at those points?

Stay safe. I'll be watching.
Posted By Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 2:17 PM ET
It's unfortunate that these Hezbollah men clearly have some intelligence but are so badly misusing it. I wonder if they really think that you (or we the viewers)will buy into their propaganda and not see the staged sideshow for what it is. I hope you get to see and tell the real and unscripted story of Hezbollah from the inside soon.Stay safe!
Posted By Jennifer, Durham NC : 2:19 PM ET
I really Admire your courage and I trully believe that your mission to bring the truth is huge. Its not my intention to be on any side but the human one(even if the person I love the most in this world is trapped in Beirut). We dont get anything by being one or another side.. we just need to show that we are all equal we all want to be happy and raise our children, we just have to find the way to go togheter and have peace at last. YOU can help in this jorney.
We all Can. b safe. Maria Eugenia.
Posted By Maria, Miami, Florida : 2:22 PM ET
I have to say, I have a hard time feeling any sympathy for Israel or Hezbollah. It just seems like Israel is overreacting and playing right into Hezbollah's (and those behind them) hands.

Everyone keeps bringing up war propaganda. That's what war is. The German's did it, the Italian's, the Japanese, the American's, etc., and now the Israelis and Hezbollah. The bottom line is who can come up with the better tool to rally forces behind them. The key is to see beyond that for what it really is.

Thank you for sharing this, Charlie.
Posted By Kelly - Cygent, Ohio : 2:30 PM ET
Amazing! People are in the middle of a war torn area and all they can do is try to put on the best show possible. I was already amazed at the fact that Hezbollah puts their offices in or next to hospitals, and then say that the hospital was hit for no good reason. I am not saying that I believe in what Isreal is doing, and I don't beleive in what Hezbollah is doing. This is a war where there seems to be no true right, but plenty of wrongs. But to think about the civillians that Hezbollah is paying as currency for their war hungry benefits, and now to know that the civillians who have survived are coached to perform for the cameras like a group of young girls being coached by their pagent moms! Simply amazing!
Posted By Willa Johnson, Dandridge, TN : 2:38 PM ET
Hi Charlie,
What an excellent posting..It's a behind the scenes view, that was more informative than anything I've heard so far..Thanks..Maybe you guys could interview the residents of the area not run by Hezbollah..Do they think so little of America too? Stay safe..Like all the viewers of ac360, I appreciate the hard work..Take Care
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 2:38 PM ET
Oohhhh, It is so sad to see the world leading media like CNN shamelessly supporting all the evil causes been carried out in Lebanon. CNN and other western media continue to protect the Israel evil by bringing those zionists who pretend to be so called "Middle East Experts" and expecting the world foolishly accepting such open lies. In this war, Israel response was a war criminal case and state terrorism - period. The dropping of warning leaflets to Lebanese civilians by Israel is like giving a goat some water to clean its neck before the slaughtering.
Posted By O.H. Al-Habsy, Muscat, OMAN : 2:41 PM ET
It is amazing to me they would think that you and your colleauges would buy their dime tour. A used car salesman is more convincing and credible. This is what Hezzbollah has been waiting for. They throw the first punch Isreal reacts and they look back at the world as victims and point blame at Isreal and the US. Simple bully tactics, maybe their weaponry is more sophisticated than 20 years ago but their mentality certainly has not changed or evolved into something positive or productive for the people of Lebanon.
Posted By Deb Balta Milton, MA : 2:42 PM ET
Hey Charlie, What a great day you guys have had!! Hezbollah must not be too bright. They should allow you to see all the damage without a rule book to go with it. It would be much more beneficial to them. Take care and try to stay safe.
Posted By Judy Stage Brooklyn, Michigan : 2:56 PM ET
Frightening, yet fascinating. Thank you for the insights into the Hezbollah mindset.

All of you, please stay safe.
Posted By Courtney, St. Charles, MO : 3:03 PM ET
Next time you meet Hezbollah, have one of your reporters wear a yarmulke. I suspect you'll then see the real Hezbollah.
Posted By Saile Z., NYC, NY : 3:09 PM ET
My favorite line of the blog: "We thank them for their insights and move back up to the street." Well said, Charlie.
Posted By AL, Sacramento, CA : 3:10 PM ET
Anderson and Company: You guys are doing such a great job covering the war. I really do like your reporter's notebook segments. I would be really interested if you would talk about what your schedule is like, when you sleep. etc.

Keep up the good work.
Posted By Sandy, Chicago, Illinois : 3:10 PM ET
sure Anderson is doing a great job , every morning i sit infront of tv and don,t miss the Anderson,s 360 , but the fact is we are adding hatred and abhorence to the little brains of lenanese children , how would anyone expect them to have amicable relations with the americans after all this , sure they don,t derserve this and the world is just turning a blind eye to this crisis.
brave work,Anderson
Posted By tanzeel,yborecity, florida. : 3:31 PM ET
WOW! Great story! You guys have more guts than I ever would! I mean, you really should be way more carefully. Getting a fabulous story is not worth being captured, tortured or worse... DEATH! I don't know whether you guys are so brave and dedicated or just down right crazy thrill seekers! ;-) Maybe a little of both!! Please don't take chances like that. I mean doesn't Anderson stick out like a great big white Q-TIP!! Please please don't go back there! It's not worth it! I doubt after your story you will unless you ALL are truly CRAZY!!

As to the poster that spoke of the Lebanese people that are not a part of Hezbollah...Any smart person knows by now that you are the victims here. It's your government that sadly is letting your country be hijacked by these cowards! I don't know who to feel more sorry for ...the regular Lebanese or the ignorant ones who follow Hezbollah. I so wish that Israels leaders and the leaders of Lebanon would wake up and realize that Hezbollah will never be taken down unless both sides lay down their hatred for one another and join together to rid your region of this cancer! Blessings and prayers to the people of Lebanon and Israel! As for the government leaders...SHAME ON YOU!!
Posted By Karen, Atoka, TN : 7:27 PM ET
Thanks for the report! Sorry that it was a waste of your time dealing with the "victims" of Israel's relentless attacks.

Truth be told (not by Hezbollah), Hezbollah is a victim of their own two-bit propaganda that anyone with half a brain can see through. Of course with these theatrical antics they are giving journalists, how could you expect anything less of this group when there answer to getting their demands met is through kidnapping and murder?

Keep up with the good coverage, I appreciate it!
Posted By Jennifer, Kansas City, MO : 7:37 PM ET
Charlie: What an exciting blog entry...I was on the edge of my seat reading it but wasn't surprised with the outcome. When Nic Robertson met with them earlier this week, it appeared to be "staged" also which, unfortunately, just makes me distrust them even more. I'm now watching CNN Presents "Inside Hezbollah". As usual, AC and the team have done an outstanding job at giving us insights into this mysterious group! Thanks and stay safe!
Posted By Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 8:18 PM ET
First, you and your reporters should be commended for your bravery in attempting to get to the "heart" of this story. It's not surprising at all to hear of the obvious propaganda displayed by the Hezbollah. But, then again, propaganda seems to be a part of everyone's agenda--Israel, Iraq, Palestine, and even our {U.S.) fearless leaders.
The headline on your website, however, shows the real "heart" of the story. A mother desperately agonizing over the fate of her children, burned in the fighting. They were trying to escape to safety. Fleeing from their own country taken over by the politics and propaganda of Israel and Hezbollah. It seems her pain says it all. The people of Lebanon certainly do not deserve to have their backyard serve as the starting point for a political game. Who really cares who started it all?? We should care about who's going to end it.
Posted By Pam, Nederland, TX : 11:22 PM ET
Its an interesting story. But be sure from now on the Americans will loose their admiration in the Middle East, as they had before. After all the bombs and aircraft is supplied by the US.,which has killed hundreds of innocent children,women and men. Thanks to the war monger neo-cons and their war machine. Why blame the atrocities of the second world war!
Posted By SYED HASNAT, Columbia, Maryland : 11:45 PM ET
Good work for giving us much detailed information. However, you guys should be very careful on the rest of your trip there because some people cannot tell the difference betweek the American government and the normal American citizens. To them, all Americans are the same.
Stay safe!
Posted By Koji, Tokyo/Japan : 1:04 AM ET
Let me say first that my TV is tuned to CNN, my computer is always running Pipeline, and I get your email alerts; in other words, I'm a CNN fan. That said, I do feel that the pot is calling the kettle black here. Your shows are staged also (how many times did you stop for Anderson's standups using this neighborhood as a backdrop?). I doubt you'll print this but I thought I'd write anyway as I know someone reads all of the comments, printed or not.
Posted By Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 3:09 AM ET
"Slightly frightening at first, but ridiculous by the end." Isn't that what brainwash is? or does brainwash start out ridiculous but end up being frightening?
All I know is that if you want to follow this story around 360 degrees, then you need to show all sides of it. you need to show the modern democratic spirit of beirut; our cosmopolitan identity and our will to not only survive but prosper.
these neighborhoods you go to are not all of lebanon but a small disintegrated area; these places are more of a regional oasis in lebanon than really a part of lebanon. it's like china town in the US except we have mini iran and mini syria... I worked as a tour guide in my university. i remember taking american tourists around our beautiful campus. i'd tell them how one of our buildings was bombed in the last war and i could tell they were shocked "but how and why?!" it's lebanon's geo-political "endemic schizophrenia."
i'll tell you one thing, I'd make an excellent tour guide inside lebanon if you ever need one, i'd be on time but most important i and few others can show you a whole different face of lebanon; 360...
Posted By G, Carmen. Mount Lebanon : 7:04 AM ET
Very insightful story, I feel like I was there with you. Good job
Posted By muna haddad, Amman, Jordan : 7:52 AM ET
At last - objective media; Hezbollah has become a cancer in the body of Lebanon and made civilian deaths inevitable. Hezbollah knows this and is part of their strategy so that it can pose as Lebanon's protector. After a week and a half of bombing which destroyed a big part of southern Lebanon in order to paralyze Hezbollah (by destroying Lebanon's infrastructure and through these means stop the missile attack over the northern region of Israel), if Israel hadn't used a scalpel knife while doing so there would probably be tens of thousands of dead. Whilst any civilian casualty is a tragedy, we must take care of this malignancy.
Posted By Idan Presser, Haifa, Israel : 8:38 AM ET
Propaganda is a powerful tool and a great weapon. First time I've seen reports actualy catch on, and report on, the fact that thier being turned into a weapon of war.

I'd recomend your reporters avoid these terrorist. After all you didn't report what they wanted you to. And as their ilk showen, kidnapping and killing a reporter is also another way for them to get thier debase message out.
Posted By Alex, Houston TX : 9:18 AM ET
The reason they think they can manipulate our views so easily, is pretty simple; a great percentage of americans fell for every ridicolous, obnoxious, wicked and hypocritical piece of propaganda this admin served us in the last 5 years. So they just thought; let's give it a shot.
Need some "souvenirs"?
How about "mission accomplished" in a flight suit??? or "stem-cell research veto" with ivf-kids all around (kids whose siblings landed in the garbage can) or what about "two trucks with chemical-weapon facility" and you sure remember the great attack that was stopped in LA (some catholic guys with no plan, no ties to any org and no dangerous material except their brains). Be afraid, be verrry afraid!

Why do they hate us so much??? Maybe I should look more into what my govt is doing.....
WAKE UP!
Posted By Henry, Zurich, MT : 10:08 AM ET
I found the piece about Hezbollah on CNN on Sun evening to be interesting but less than informative. Too much time was spent on watching one side try to kill the other side. I think that Cooper and CNN should spend their time and money interviewing varous memebers of the Hezbollah, trying to determine why it is that they hate adn want to destroy Isreal. Let them speak their minds; let's learn about their position on all of this. Maybe they have comments etc. that we have not been exposed to before by the US media. We only seem to receive one side of the ME matter.Hezbollah is a creation of the Shiite Muslim sect, let your readership become informed as to what is really going on with that group. They have indeed been elected to the Parliament in Lebanon and seerm to play a mixed roll in the affairs of the country of Lebanon. They are not only terrorists, according to your piece.
Posted By Mike Greenwich CT : 11:07 AM ET
Charlie, just a quick question...was the damage and destruction Hizbollah propeganda too? Despite the people's determination they try to show you, everything else is not propeganda but reality. Look around, did Hizbollah destroy the residential buildings and civilian infrastructure? Please don't turn this into a story about 'terrorists using propeganda', use your journalistic insight to report on the destruction and targeting of civilians. My friend's factory was bombed yesterday, their livlihood destroyed, a milk factory was also bombed...where are these stories? I'd also like to see a report on Israeli propeganda. If you'd like to interview the people that used to live in Beirut's suburbs why are you asking permission from Hezbollah, just walk over to the nearest Garden or public school and look at the refugees, these are the people who lived in those areas, and they will give you true insight on their feelings towards the war (rather than a staged show for the media). Nevertheless, I'd like to thank all of you guys for risking your lives to bring us the story from Lebanon, stay safe and continue reporting on as many issues as possible.
Posted By Hani, Toronto : 11:31 AM ET
Good coverage. Too bad more of this doesn't make it into the 30 second sound bites being shown on air. People should be told when propaganda is recognized as such. But is the risk really worth it? A gaggle of journalists being taken into an active war zone to see propaganda: what a target! It wouldn't surprise me if the terrorist set up a bomb near one stop and turned the gaggle into mincemeat. Think of the wonderful propaganda! I can see various news outlets blaming Israel. This was a trip not worth the risk.
Posted By Dan, Green Bay, WI : 3:01 PM ET
Good to see that at least CNN, especially Anderson Cooper, is able to get past all the propaganda dished out by Hezbollah's PR men. Certainly his report from this orchestrated visit is not something we have seen on other media outlets which supposedly have a reputation for objectivity and adherence to basic journalistic rules.
Keep up the good work, Anderson.
Posted By Leon, Ottawa, Ontario : 11:08 AM ET
I think Charlie Moore's blog is the first I've actually enjoyed. Others have been somewhat interesting but his was interesting with a touch of humor, which was refreshing when reading about a f%#$ed up situation in a f*&@ed up part of the world. There are so many things about terrorists that are just completely ridiculous. It's necessary to just laugh at them from time to time, in between trying to avoid being killed. Let us know if you come across anything else strange or amusing worth mentioning.
Posted By Christine in Fort Myers, FL : 2:35 PM ET
To the people who wants to show the side of the lebanon people read this. Hazballoh is a cancer in side the people of lebanon. They don't take it out so ofcourse when this cancer huts someone that is not connected to them he will want that the cancer to disappeare. He can't do that without hurting the people, becuase the cancer is inside them. Now, in other words. The -The People of lebanon are the walls that protects haballoh- you can hit Hazbolloh without hurting the wall. Hezballoh lives within the people. This is the same with the palastinions. They hit isreal and run inside. They just run so other will get hurt. Then people ask why isreal does that. It's does that becuase isreal wants to kill thos who hurt her but if they hidden within the people it's not possible that the people woudn't get hurt when it's trying to hit thos who hurt her.
Posted By Assaf,hafia, isreal : 6:38 PM ET
I just can't help but think about how this engagement/war has taken over the news media and the driven "cash cow". These two cultures have been at war since relocated back in 1949, and we think it's odd and tragic wrt what's transpiring. The rocket attacks were a common occurence back in 1996-2000 into northern Israel and this wasn't a major headline due to the Kosovo crisis in B.H. Just like Serbia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, this too will dull the taste buds of the less informed and fall into the shadows of the next major "crisis" . God bless the men and women who give their lives for their country and who are the true heros without the luxury of watching from the sidelines.
Posted By John Jones, Brunswick, Ga : 1:00 PM ET
Trust me. I'm not in favor of bombing civilians in Lebezbollahnon but this is what happens when you're under constant pressure to stop existing. Those spunky little militant groups have sprung the mouse trap and drawn all those poor civilians into their war.

This is not about land, occupation and borders. It's much larger than that. The local Arabs believe Jews have no right to exist in that region and they should all be killed and/or driven from their ancestral lands just like they were almost 2000 years ago. The Israelis usually have a bad reaction to anyone acting on that premise and here it is again.

Out of the countless wars and battles provoked by the various Arabs, Israel has taken control of land used to attack them, like the high ground of Golan etc. Israel has been told that vacating land will bring peace, yet with every withdrawal from land, that property was immediately put to use firing rockets into Israel.

Should Israel be understanding, lay down and die? Why aren't there calls for a cease fire until Israel shoots back? Why is everyone in denial that Shebaa Farms (which supposedly started all this) actually belonged to Syria, not Lebanon, and Syria lost that land in 1967?

If these militant groups can provoke yet another war with Israel and draw in all Arab states, perhaps they can finally massacre the Jews once and for all and there will be peace - until they start firing rockets at Miami. When the U.S. Military finally leaves Iraq, maybe they should do it through Syria.
Posted By Steve, Arlington Virginia, USA : 1:40 PM ET
You mean to tell me that this rag tag mikitia is holding up the mighty Israeli Army?
The media thinks that people are stupid or we are actually stupid. I would like to know why the Media is making Hezbollah stronger than what it is. Hezbollah in total does not amount to more than 3000 fighters and they don't even have a tank in their arsenal. So why are we making them look so strong. The Lebanese Army is ver capable of taking care of Lebanons border. The truth is that Israel, eventhough does not want to be in war but in actuality wants to be in a Sate of War. The Christians, Druze and Sunnis of Lebanon have expressed the will to have peace with Israel, so why is Israel denying that fact and concentrating on Hezbollah, Hezbollah is nothing but a rag tag Militia and it is Israel who made them heroes in the year 2000 when they left South Lebanon and Hezbollah automatically proclaimed victory. The United States afetr the sucide attack on the Marine bunker in Beirut in 1982, had a scheduled 1 and 1/2 minute strike on Hezbollah positions in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. They could have killed Hezbollah in the egg. Can some one tell me why the Air strike was called off after the White House gave the Green Light?
Posted By Joe Zakhour, Laguna Niguel, Ca : 3:35 PM ET
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