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July 18, 2006
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President
Hostilities involving Israeli military forces and Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon commenced on July 12, 2006, and have included military operations in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
Although there is no evidence that Americans are being directly targeted, the security situation has deteriorated and now presents a potential threat to American citizens and the U.S. Embassy. On July 14, the Department of State first requested Department of Defense assistance to support the departure of American citizens from Lebanon. On July 15, U.S. military helicopters temporarily deployed to Cyprus. On July 16, these combat-equipped helicopters delivered to U.S. Embassy, Beirut, a contingent of U.S. military personnel who will assist in planning and conducting the departure from Lebanon of U.S. Embassy personnel and citizens and designated third country personnel. The helicopters also transported U.S. citizens from Beirut to Cyprus. It is expected that these helicopters will continue to provide support to the Embassy, including for the departure of additional personnel from Lebanon. It is likely that additional combat-equipped U.S. military forces may be deployed to Lebanon and Cyprus and other locations, as necessary, in order to support further efforts to assist in the departure of persons from Lebanon and to provide security.
These actions are being undertaken solely for the purpose of protecting American citizens and property. United States forces will redeploy as soon as it is determined that the threat to U.S. citizens and property has ended and the departure of any persons, as necessary, is completed.
I have taken this action pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution.
GEORGE W. BUSH