Skip

US to charge citizens for evacuation from Lebanon
July 17, 2006 2:35 PM   Subscribe

US Citizen in Lebanon? The US State Department would like to remind its citizens that they do not provide no-cost transportation. Want to leave? Just sign this promissory note, and we'll be happy to fly you out on our gunship. We'll bill you at standard commercial rates, plus interest. We simply do not have the resources to pay for it ourselves.
posted by jeversol (249 comments total)

 
George Bush doesn't care about overseas people.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, I understand not doing this for free.

But on the other (taxpaying) hand, I expect my government to protect it's citizens without charging them.
posted by dig_duggler at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2006


Rescue me Uncle Sam!
posted by smackfu at 2:40 PM on July 17, 2006


And remember: The US is the only country in the world which taxes it's non-resident citizens.
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on July 17, 2006


US to charge citizens for evacuation from Lebanon

Dog Bites Man you stupid sons of bitches.
posted by techgnollogic at 2:48 PM on July 17, 2006




this is disgusting--it's one of the primary responsibilities of governments--to ensure the safety of its citizens.
posted by amberglow at 2:55 PM on July 17, 2006


Why should it be free? Standard commercial rates - during a shooting war where the airfield runways are destroyed - is a pretty good discount.

Are you also upset that you won't be receiving a pony?
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:56 PM on July 17, 2006


Why should it be free? Standard commercial rates - during a shooting war where the airfield runways are destroyed - is a pretty good discount.

Agreed.
posted by Bearman at 3:00 PM on July 17, 2006


Could I ride the pony out of Beirut?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:01 PM on July 17, 2006


What happens if one refuses to pay?

Has this happened before?
posted by davehat at 3:07 PM on July 17, 2006


It's in the constitution and there's no charge mentioned there--show me the law that allows them to charge during a military battle.

Did we charge those fleeing Saigon in 75? I bet not. Did we charge those evacuated from all the other troublespots in the world?
posted by amberglow at 3:10 PM on July 17, 2006


"Why should it be free? Standard commercial rates - during a shooting war where the airfield runways are destroyed - is a pretty good discount.

Agreed."


You kids really don't understand the purpose and function of government, do you? Providing for the safety of American citizens, particularly those overseas, is part of the social contract, and what we pay taxes for. In essence, these people are being double billed.


Good christ.
posted by stenseng at 3:11 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


I wonder if they have to pass a credit check before they can get the hell out of there...
posted by stenseng at 3:12 PM on July 17, 2006




Particularly considering that we are Israel's greatest ally, I think we have an extra responsibility to protect our citizens that are endangered by it going batshit insane. Without charge.
posted by Malor at 3:15 PM on July 17, 2006


Israel is being so precise in its bombing that all other nations are pulling out their civilians. Interesting.
posted by bardic at 3:15 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


and here's the Beirut Embassy's site
posted by amberglow at 3:16 PM on July 17, 2006


Why should it be free? Standard commercial rates - during a shooting war where the airfield runways are destroyed - is a pretty good discount.

The first MSNBC link indicates that the fee will be $300. That does seem like a pretty good discount; its probably only a fraction of the actual cost. So, given that the government will be paying for the bulk of the expense anyway, what does it accomplish to symbolically bill evacuees? You're not deterring them from using government transportation instead of a more efficient alternative; there is no other safe way out of the country. You might be deterring thrillseekers from traveling to imminent hotspots in the expectation that the government will pay for their return trip, but that's pretty silly, and these situations don't seem to be that precisely predictable anyway.

Furthermore, none of those links indicate that any other major governments are charging their evacuees, and brief browsing of the UK, Candadian and Australian foreign offices seems to confirm that.
posted by gsteff at 3:17 PM on July 17, 2006


Seems sensible to me. They aren't asking you to pay for the guns and the soldiers who will be keeping you (hopefully) safe on your way out. That's the responsiblity of the state. They're just asking you to pay for the transportation (and not even upfront, no credit check required). The social contract does not promise a free trip to Cyprus.
posted by jaysus chris at 3:18 PM on July 17, 2006


it's this stuff that drive me crazy

America is killing people all over the world and this do not profit to people of America, this strengthen my opinion that american are the stupidest people.

So all those family destroyed by american bombs do profit to only some guys at Halliburton. disgusting
posted by zouhair at 3:18 PM on July 17, 2006


in fact, neither the Candadians nor the Canadians will be charging their evacuees
posted by gsteff at 3:19 PM on July 17, 2006


So, given that the government will be paying for the bulk of the expense anyway, what does it accomplish to symbolically bill evacuees?

Well, yeah. Just write it off.

We're only talking a few thousand dollars here, total max. The government spends more to wipe GW's ass with Air Force One branded TP.

It's terrible public relations and would cost almost nothing to pay for.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:22 PM on July 17, 2006


Seems sensible to me. They aren't asking you to pay for the guns and the soldiers who will be keeping you (hopefully) safe on your way out. That's the responsiblity of the state.

Ironically they pay for a good proportion of the bombs and aircraft that will blow you up if you stay as well.
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on July 17, 2006


Do overweight passengers have to pay $600?
posted by horsewithnoname at 3:26 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


OK ok I'm sparing you the time to type the usual comebacks

1. nobody forced them to go/live/shite in Lebanon
2. freedom freedom freedom oi !
3. all resources are being used in war against clue
4. you paid less tax, what the fuck do you want ?
5. free market will fix it , don't bother asking when, damn you are never happy !
posted by elpapacito at 3:26 PM on July 17, 2006


The US has 25k people in the zone as potential evacuees; the British 22k, the french 20k.

Oddly enough, you don't see the British or French governments threatening to bill their citizens to evacuate them to a British airbase in cyprus. It's too hot on the ground to move people out by sea or air yet, but it likely will start happening en masse when Israel gives some guarantees.

I can't believe people think it's appropriate to bill people to airlift citizens out of a goddamn warzone. If you don't have the money, then fuck you, you can stay and get bombed. Niice.

The social contract does not promise a free trip to Cyprus.
You'd think it would include saving citizens lives by emergency airlifting them out of a warzone though. Odd how countries with a far lower GDP than America can somehow find the money.

I think the British Government should bill the US government, say, $500 per head landing fees to use the British base and evacuation center being built, then reimburse the US citizens $300, just to make a point.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:30 PM on July 17, 2006


It always seems to be the government actually doing something useful with tax-dollars that gets the allegedly libertarian types inflamed. Bloated pork, corporate welfare and botched military adventures are all quietly ignored, but try to do anything that actually helps anyone and they'll jump all over it screaming "big goverment".
posted by Artw at 3:32 PM on July 17, 2006


To follow up on my previous comment, you actually might deter USians from staying in hotspots when it became clear that things were about to become dangerous, but that only makes sense if the evacuation fee is higher than the cost of transportation out when its safe. And, all things considered, I would guess that its possible to get out of Lebanon for less than $300 during normal times. So maybe that's an explanation.
posted by gsteff at 3:33 PM on July 17, 2006


Errr, arn't some of these people who are in a free-fire zone tax payers?

Because the IRS wants its share, no matter where you are.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:33 PM on July 17, 2006


Come on. Where in the Constitution does it say you get free evac insurance for terrible vacation decisions?

At some point when you put yourself in danger you should bear a little sliver of responsibility for it. PR mistake? Maybe. But "occasionally refusing to give out free stuff" is not the same thing as "heartless."
posted by grobstein at 3:33 PM on July 17, 2006


I wonder what the service charge is per bullet if they have to lay on some covering fire during your evac?
posted by fairmettle at 3:36 PM on July 17, 2006


Grobstein, that's our military ally that's attacking that country. And it's using OUR HARDWARE to do it. Don't you think we have just a leeetle more responsiblity to make sure our people are safe than we normally would? And not charge them for it?
posted by Malor at 3:39 PM on July 17, 2006


"And remember: The US is the only country in the world which taxes it's non-resident citizens"

artw - to be fair, it's not the only country that does this, though it is in a minority. I believe China does, along with a small handful of other countries, mostly dictatorships or some other form of repressive government (though not exclusively)

Most of Europe does not, nor does Canada.
posted by TravellingDen at 3:42 PM on July 17, 2006


For comparison purposes, anybody here know an MD with a diploma from Grenada?
posted by rob511 at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2006


Come now. As far back as 2004, and actually further back if you care to look, State has been warning U.S. citizens to "consider carefully the risks of travel to Lebanon." If you're a U.S. citizen, you can access that warning on the web.

If that doesn't make you tuck $300 under the mattress so that you can get out quick if you need to, you're too stupid to live.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2006


I dont mind paying, but I dont know who to tip. I guess you should split the 20% between the gunner and the pilot. Or do they work it out at closing time?
posted by skallas at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2006 [3 favorites]


Reading the 6th link:

NBC News reported that it is standard procedure for the State Department to charge citizens fees for evacuations.
posted by taosbat at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2006


Y'know, if I was an American, and my company transferred me to the overseas branch in Lebanon, and I paid my taxes every year just as the law requires, and open warfare broke out a couple of miles from the office, with kids getting blown to bits and so forth, and there was no way out of the country without a military escort, and then my government told me that they were going to charge me a fee to get me out?

I'd probably sign up with another country.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2006


Sucks to be US...err...us.
posted by taosbat at 3:44 PM on July 17, 2006


This should be done free of charge for taxpaying American citizens. Period.

The argument that people made a bad vacation choice is horseshit. What do you know about why they are in Lebanon, how long they've been there, or anything else?

If an unexpected bout of international violence put you in a dangerous situation in a foreign land, and PARTICULARLY if that situation involves an out of control ally using weapons your country paid for, you have a right to all possible efforts being made to assure your safety.

How many hostages do you think are billed for the rescue efforts?
posted by rollbiz at 3:46 PM on July 17, 2006


I'd probably sign up with another country.
posted by solid-one-love


We don't know that the other countries aren't charging. But that 30 pounds of luggage crap...and no exit through Syria...I'd tell them I was French or Canadian something.
posted by taosbat at 3:47 PM on July 17, 2006


At some point when you put yourself in danger you should bear a little sliver of responsibility for it.

We're not talking about people who deliberately went into the middle of a shooting war. We're talking about people who went to visit family, go on holiday etc in a country, though arguably not the safest country in the world, was actually pretty quiet lately, on a par with say Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

The israelis started bombing a few days ago, and there's a distinct possibility it's going to get a lot hotter in the near future. But of course, blame it on the Arab Americans, sorry, brown people, not to be smart enough to know when Israel is going to start a shooting war with its neighbour. Hell, they probably don't even pay taxes, why should they expect their government to actually try to save their lives? Too damned expensive. They can just stay there and get bombed.

Thank %deity I'm not American. It must take quite an effort to be that mercenary.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:49 PM on July 17, 2006


grobstein : "But 'occasionally refusing to give out free stuff' is not the same thing as 'heartless.'"

OMFG! Taking people out of a war zone (maybe people you send there for specific purposes, like university professors, doctors, religious people, business people), a war zone that two weeks ago was not so (and on the top of that, from Israel's point of view the entire country is a war zone now) is now "giving out free stuff". That, my friend, is almost the definition of "heartless".

I think all that is needed for the bureocrats in question to be overruled is some negative PR. Last week a whole Brazilian family was wiped out in south Lebannon. Today all Brazilians that wanted to leave were bused to Turkey and fled back here. So, once a pretty white American student in a religious mission or the wife and kids of a banker who was there buying a company or two get hit in a precision bombing, the bs will quickly evaporate.
posted by nkyad at 3:52 PM on July 17, 2006


In most human activity, it's one thing to post a price list, and another to write up the bill, or ring the sale. Just because State puts up policy statements on Web sites, doesn't mean that invoices are going to get mailed.

This is a hugely complicated situation. Maybe, State is putting up open ended policies, that will it allow it to act as a billing and collection agent for contracted third party vessels under foreign flags, in case it is unsafe or unwise for U.S. military aircraft or vessels to act as the actual transport. A lot of parties in Lebanon will have to agree to allowing substantial numbers of people to evacuate, and Greek or Turkish vessels or aircraft might be better charter candidates for getting people safely out of there, than big ol' U.S. choppers. In those cases, the U.S. government might not find it wise to charter relief vessels, but it might facilitate private payment arrangements with Americans on the ground to such third party operators.
posted by paulsc at 3:52 PM on July 17, 2006


It's bad enough when our government evacuates on us - but they're charging us for the privilege, now, too?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:53 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


If its standard policy, why don't I ever recall hearing about other mass evacuations inducing charges? Is my memory bad or is this a recent developement?

As is, I throw my lot in with the "this is freakin' ridiculous" crowd. We pay taxes, and with the sick amount of over budget spending going on at the moment, absorbing this cost would be nothing. We have 25,000 Americans in Lebanon, if the cost is $1,000 each, thats $25,000,000. Its only 1/20th an Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere!
posted by Atreides at 3:54 PM on July 17, 2006


As I understand it, in America if I get knocked over by a car and an abulance is called to take me away to a hospital I am billed for that, and the hospital will want to check my insurance. I don't think that's the case anywhere else, but I may be wrong.
posted by donfactor at 3:56 PM on July 17, 2006


"If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat..."
- Lyle Lovett
posted by twsf at 4:00 PM on July 17, 2006


Isn't paying taxes the same as buying insurance from your government for situations like these?
posted by afx114 at 4:01 PM on July 17, 2006


I can see it being standard practice to charge for evacuations in non-war situations (evacuation from third world mud-wall hospital to nice first world MRSA factory), but charging citizens for evacuation from a war zone -- one that wasn't a war zone or considered a particularly dangerous place to be 3 weeks ago -- is ludicrous.

It's not like Beirut was on too many people's list 3 weeks back as a likely war zone, and those travelling there should've known better.
posted by chimaera at 4:01 PM on July 17, 2006


More from Time
posted by boo_radley at 4:02 PM on July 17, 2006


this is disgusting--it's one of the primary responsibilities of governments--to ensure the safety of its citizens.

Wait, are we talking about America airlifting citizens, or Israel saving kidnapped soldiers and preventing rocket attacks?
posted by loquax at 4:11 PM on July 17, 2006


There's already been some Candians killed by the Israeli bombs. I expect this loss makes Canadians more willing to support getting the rest of our people out.
posted by raedyn at 4:13 PM on July 17, 2006






taosbat: "Neocons..."

They're hardly new anymore. Isn't it time we just start calling them "cons?"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:17 PM on July 17, 2006 [4 favorites]


As I understand it, in America if I get knocked over by a car and an abulance is called to take me away to a hospital I am billed for that, and the hospital will want to check my insurance. I don't think that's the case anywhere else, but I may be wrong.

Sorry mate, but you are wrong. Many countries charge for ambulances. Australia for one. A good few European ones too if I recall. Kenya DEFINATELY does. I had to make an insurance claim for one recently.

Ah, the national health service is a wonderous thing....
posted by davehat at 4:18 PM on July 17, 2006


I don't think people are criticizing the Israeli government for try to protect their citizens. I think it's the bombing of civilian targets in a foreign country, risking kicking off a much bigger shooting war in the entire region, and risking the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians for the nominal task of rescuing two soldiers who maybe could be recovered by negotiation.

But hey, thousands of innocent lives vs the lives of 2 soldiers. Anyone who questions the wisdom of Israel's approach is obviously anti-semitic.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:19 PM on July 17, 2006


I don't mean this to be provocative. I understand that in America there is less of a collective sense of "we're all in this together"; less than in Canada in my experience anyway. But I'm surprised that the consensus among reasonable American MeFites in this thread seems to be fairly balanced between the "get em out for free" and "let em pay" sides. Just as when I lived there, I'm again reminded that I don't/wouldn't fit in in America. I believe it would be inconceivable that the Canadian government would charge their citizens a fee to be rescued, regardless of the wisdom of their vacation choices.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:20 PM on July 17, 2006


Wait, are we talking about America airlifting citizens, or Israel saving kidnapped soldiers and preventing rocket attacks?

Israel is endangering its citizens by doing this, and it was soldiers who were kidnapped, not general members of the public. I've read that until this all flared up, Hezbollah had only been targetting military things and soldiers. Israel is bombing the entire country of Lebanon, and killing civilians who have nothing to do with Hezbollah.

Aren't we supposed to be pro-Democracy? Why the fuck are we ensuring the destruction of Lebanon's fledgling one?
posted by amberglow at 4:20 PM on July 17, 2006


Is this an example of the Ownership Society I keep hearing about?
posted by ryoshu at 4:20 PM on July 17, 2006


Here's an AskMe question from the other day on this very topic, which included this anecdote from another recent war zone.
posted by ewagoner at 4:27 PM on July 17, 2006


How many Axis soldiers did the Allied armies kidnap, and vice versa, in World War II?

It's a great choice of words Israel has got everyone using.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:28 PM on July 17, 2006


terrible vacation decisions

yeah, it's a fabulous vacation when you're over there burying a family member that wouldn't leave Lebanon since they'd lived their whole lives there. The Lebanese I know don't exactly plan a pleasure trip to the homeland, it's out of duty, dumbass.
posted by hollygoheavy at 4:29 PM on July 17, 2006


My question still stands... haven't I already paid for those jets, the fuel, and the personnel/man-hours via taxes?
posted by afx114 at 4:30 PM on July 17, 2006


AIR AMERICA
Just sign on the dotted line...
posted by mischief at 4:32 PM on July 17, 2006


afx114: yes, but only when they're bombing civilians. Rescuing them isn't covered, I'm afraid.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:34 PM on July 17, 2006


This should be done free of charge for taxpaying American citizens. Period.

The argument that people made a bad vacation choice is horseshit. What do you know about why they are in Lebanon, how long they've been there, or anything else?


So I only need to buy a one-way ticket to Timor-Leste, then? It's the government's duty to get me home when the shit goes down again? Awesome. That will save me thousands.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:35 PM on July 17, 2006


afx114: "My question still stands... haven't I already paid for those jets, the fuel, and the personnel/man-hours via taxes?"

Your taxes paid for the infrastructure, not for any particular use of same. Same as a state college, ambulance, etc. My taxes also paid for those things to be made available, but when you actually required the use of those resources - thus making them unavailable for others - you incurred the cost of the fuel, man-hours, etc., required for that particular use, because they will now need to be replaced or covered for.

I'm not arguing in favor (or against) the ethics of such a setup, FWIW, just stating the case as I understand it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:40 PM on July 17, 2006


My question still stands... haven't I already paid for those jets, the fuel, and the personnel/man-hours via taxes?

I knida agree with you, but then again, we also pay drivers license fees, passport fees,...
posted by batou_ at 4:42 PM on July 17, 2006


Oh I forgot...some government protect people from terrorists selectively in space and time , despite the inflamed rethoric and gargantuan deficit spending on...safety :-)
posted by elpapacito at 4:42 PM on July 17, 2006


You'd think it would include saving citizens lives by emergency airlifting them out of a warzone though. Odd how countries with a far lower GDP than America can somehow find the money.
Well Greece has half the GDP per capita of the US and it is most certainly not charging its nationals for evacuation. In fact my tax euros are helping a few non-Greeks hitch a free ride out of the war zone, all in all one of the better uses of my taxes I'd say, including one lucky American - while the Greek government is ready to charter more planes and has set warships on alert in case there is need of mass evacuation, anytime soon. These flights will also collect foreign nationals, free of charge.

Again, no one here is complaining. It is assumed that this is one of the things one pays taxes for.
posted by talos at 4:42 PM on July 17, 2006


Isn't paying taxes the same as buying insurance from your government for situations like these?
Not really. We're required to pay taxes. The libertarian free-market-hardon crowd resents that -- and by extension they resent anyone who actually benefits from any of the tax-funded services or basic Constitutional rights (unless it can be viewed as helping The Market in some way).

Most of those people would rather see Haliburton providing this service; live in Liberia? Buy a Potential War Zone Insurance Policy from them, and all that. That way, only the people willing to live in a dangerous place would have to foot the bill.
posted by verb at 4:43 PM on July 17, 2006


This billing thing is a great idea. I think we should also bill soldiers for their rescue in the event they're taken prisoner. I mean, they knew the risks when they signed up, and besides, they're ordered not to get captured.
posted by mullingitover at 4:47 PM on July 17, 2006


Major Curley: cos it was obvious Israel was gonna bomb Beirut.

RE: ferry to beirut from Cyprus or Greekes Islands
Posted: Thu July 13 10:26:44 2006 UTC

try going to http://vacationstogo.com/. they have several options as far as sea and land tours. they do have one that goes from italy through the greek isles to turkey, then cyprus.


Oh, and going by google maps, Cyprus is less than 100 miles off the shore of Lebanon. That's totally equivalent to a thousands of miles trip via Australia back from East Timor.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:47 PM on July 17, 2006


The US Government should be charging Israel for these evacuations, or maybe taking it out of their yearly handout.
posted by bshort at 4:55 PM on July 17, 2006


Major Curley: cos it was obvious Israel was gonna bomb Beirut.

Yeah, Lebanon's been a very stable country throughout its 60-year history. Like Canada with more tabouli. I am shocked, SHOCKED that Lebanon is awash in violence for the first time in its history.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:57 PM on July 17, 2006


Sincerely,
Major Curley
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:58 PM on July 17, 2006


taosbat: "Neocons..."

They're hardly new anymore. Isn't it time we just start calling them "cons?"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson

A-fucking-greed: cons they are.

Aren't we supposed to be pro-Democracy? Why the fuck are we ensuring the destruction of Lebanon's fledgling one?
posted by amberglow

Please see...

verb
, woot! Of course Haliburton should be the (no-bid) contractor...what were we thinking?
posted by taosbat at 5:01 PM on July 17, 2006


We interrupt this thread for a related derail:

Caption Israeli girls sending message to Hezbollah on shells

You will excuse me while I puke my soul

We return to previously interrupted thread : no child left behind, except maybe in Lebanon
posted by elpapacito at 5:01 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


Next hurricane season, will the gov. charge to evacuate disaster areas? They knew what it was like when they bought the house, right?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:03 PM on July 17, 2006


Up next: Disaster aid from FEMA! OAC. Some restrictions apply. Financing available. Interest rates may vary. Not available in all areas, including Guam and Puerto Rico. Offer void where prohibited. May cause burning and irritation even if used correctly. Certain side effects may occur, talk to your doctor. Pants are forbidden. Stop touching yourself.


Not that this is related to the Lebanon scenario: Arizona has this awesome law that's basically a stupid tax.

I'm not sure exactly how it works but basically if you willingly ignore "do not cross when flooded" signs at monsoon-flooded washes, crossing, or intersections in your shitty overhyped SUV or otherwise willingly put yourself in clear danger by being a moron, they bill you for the rescue. Like, the whole bill. Helicopter airtime, rescue personnel salaries, medical supplies, everything. Which is pretty awesome. Because people often drive and behave like idiots out here.
posted by loquacious at 5:08 PM on July 17, 2006 [2 favorites]


Just making sure those quoting the $300 pricetag knew that MSNBC listed that figure as one of the rumors floating around. The actual price to be billed, as far as I can tell, has not been officially announced. Oh, and this is outrageous behavior by the US government.
posted by blendor at 5:10 PM on July 17, 2006


Mayor Curley:
Civil War and Partial Recovery, 1974-82

"Lebanon traditionally has had a dynamic economy. In the years leading up to the Civil War, the country enjoyed high growth rates, an influx of foreign capital, and steadily rising per capita income. Although imports were often five or six times greater than exports, earnings from tourism, transit trade, services, and remittances from abroad counterbalanced the trade deficit."

"June 24, 1998
Though the sight was disheartening, even staggering, I realized that Beirut and the country no longer symbolized terror nor inspired dread. At the same time, I realized that there now existed incredible life and beauty.

"While last year brought political upheaval to Lebanon, the country’s economy continued to surprise with its resilience. Now, with many analysts predicting further growth in the year ahead, Emerging Lebanon 2006 takes a look at this most complex yet compelling of Middle Eastern countries...
Hit hard by the chaos of 2005, the tourism sector in Lebanon still retains significant, if incompletely realised, potential, though stability is a prerequisite for future development. This chapter examines the sector’s annus horribilis, the luxury hotel and resort boom"

Has Lebanon had some turbulent times? Yes. But so have most places. Lebanon was rebuilding nicely. I know people that were thinking of vacationing there. Based on your criteria, people shouldn't have been evacuated from around the twin towers as after the 90's Al quaeda bombing they should have expected another attack.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:16 PM on July 17, 2006


No way out of dangerous area = bad.

Way out of a dangerous area = not bad.

Y'all need to quit being such jews about this whole thing. You're only encouraging them, you know.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 5:18 PM on July 17, 2006


Why the fuck are we ensuring the destruction of Lebanon's fledgling one?

I would rephrase that as "why the fuck are we allowing the governments of Syria and Iran and the pyscopaths that call themselves Hezbollah to destroy Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, while enslaving their citizens?"

If you're outraged that America is not doing everything possible to resuce stranded citizens overseas, maybe you could give some thought to what an Israeli citizen might think about his government doing nothing when missiles rain on fellow citizens yet the "government" of "lebanon" has done absolutly nothing for 6 years to stop it. Or should Israelis chalk up the loss of their soldiers and their dead in Haifa as the cost of not offending their homicidal enemies and their enemies apologist friends?
posted by loquax at 5:22 PM on July 17, 2006


Awww, look on the bright side!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:23 PM on July 17, 2006


Provide for the common defense*
*offer not good in Lebanon

As a libertarian, I totally support a gratis military evacuation. I'm not an anarcho-capatalist, just someone who likes both tax cuts and gay marriage. Those of you who think the US ought to charge for defending its citizens need to have your perceptions of reality calibrated. Your overdeveloped dogmatic philosophy is warping your pragmatism.
posted by Richard Daly at 5:29 PM on July 17, 2006


The bright side: Rule of Beelzebub, Lord of Flies.
posted by taosbat at 5:32 PM on July 17, 2006


Based on your criteria, people shouldn't have been evacuated from around the twin towers as after the 90's Al quaeda bombing they should have expected another attack.

No, that's within the US borders, where the government is indeed responsible for providing for my safety.

And I don't care if the Syria's economy was better than Myanmar's in 1982. The country was in a civil war for 15 years and was a puppet state of Syria for even longer. Face it, a trip to Lebanon isn't like a trip to Wales even if your friends were stupid enough to think about spending their vacation money in a country whose tourism tagline is "Lebanon-- Beats the Fuck Out of Tajikistan."
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:32 PM on July 17, 2006


The US should send the bill to Israel.
posted by smackfu at 5:35 PM on July 17, 2006


So instead of a "fragile democracy" (Bush's words) as a northern neighbor with the rogue element of Hizbollah (undoubtedly a thuggish bunch), Israel with tacit US support is now ensuring that they'll have Lebanon ca. 1982, or as I like to call it, a Mad Max zone rivalled only by the Sunni Triangle in Iraq.

Moral issues aside (Israel reaping what it sows for its treatment of Palestinians), this is just strategically stupid. Yes the deaths in Haifa are horrible, but how much Lebanese blood must be spilled before Israel's thirst is sated? They've already killed about ten times as many civilians, and by the time this is over that number will be even higher. And Israeli citizens (whom I have a lot of sympathy for, as opposed to their military and political leaders) will be no fucking safer than before.

This isn't even cold, calculated realpolitik. This is just morally reprehensible and stupid, stupid, stupid. And by the way, guess who wins here? Hizbollah--because plenty of moderate, educated young males in Beirut won't have jobs any longer. Guess what they'll end up doing and/or joining? And what nation do you think they'll (rightfully) blame?
posted by bardic at 5:38 PM on July 17, 2006


It's against the interest of this administration for the citizens of this country to travel outside the US, especially to places they'd like to bomb, invade or otherwise rough up with impunity. Travel educates, broadens the perspective, allows us to see the complexity of the world. Travelers are potential troublemakers. Maybe a little peril and expense will keep them at home, watching fox and shopping next summer.
posted by tula at 5:39 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


If that 25,000 American citizen number is correct then the cost is $7,500. My guess is that this isn't as nefarious as it sounds and some beaurcrat or life-long government employee is just following some code or precedent and didn't really think it through. That said it's only $300, which for only a minority will be easily payable. This is a massive mishandling, but I have a feelin this was all rushed and we shouldn't think that some neocon is sitting really smug in an office somewhere smiling to himself and thinking, "Good, traveling is dangerous and we're teaching them a lesson." Give it a month and lets see if they disregard the fee or waive it for those who cannot pay (which is progressive taxing, which is good, right?)

My understanding of the United States overseas tax system is that if you are paying less taxes than you would be in the United States you must pony up to our government. This prevents the ultra-wealthy from going to Beirut or other non-taxing countries and getting off scott-free. I see nothing wrong with this as most other countries have higher tax rates than us.
posted by geoff. at 5:40 PM on July 17, 2006


Evacuation for a fee is not such a bad thing.

Our government won't do a single thing to help rescue one of our citizens from his illegal kidnap hellhole in Guantanamo Bay.

(Actually, I think he is British now. Idiot - he really should have gone for Israeli citizenship!)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:46 PM on July 17, 2006


...we shouldn't think that some neocon is sitting really smug in an office somewhere smiling to himself...

posted by geoff.


Reposting: ...Cons Resurrect Plans For Regional War In The Middle East
posted by taosbat at 5:47 PM on July 17, 2006


Juan Cole has a ton of info and links today on the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. None of it good, obviously.
posted by bardic at 5:54 PM on July 17, 2006


Smackfu has it right...send the bill to the Israel.

"Y'know, if I was an American, and my company transferred me to the overseas branch in Lebanon, and I paid my taxes every year just as the law requires, and open warfare broke out a couple of miles from the office, with kids getting blown to bits and so forth, and there was no way out of the country without a military escort, and then my government told me that they were going to charge me a fee to get me out?"

You know, if you were someone who's business wanted to send them to a country with the violent history of Lebanon, it might not be a stretch to say "I don't want to do that" or - God forbid - find another job. But I guess if the boss tells you to jump of the bridge....

If they are doing work on behalf of the United States government, then they should be taken out for free. If they made a decision to live/work there, the 300 insurance under the pillow would have been well advised. Is it some secret Lebanon is and has been a hot bed of violence?
posted by j.p. Hung at 5:56 PM on July 17, 2006


To those of you who are saying people picked a dumb place to vacation, you're being pretty deliberatly thick, I think. hollygoheavy put it well:
yeah, it's a fabulous vacation when you're over there burying a family member that wouldn't leave Lebanon since they'd lived their whole lives there. The Lebanese I know don't exactly plan a pleasure trip to the homeland, it's out of duty, dumbass.
Most of the 50,000 Canadians in Lebanon right now are working or visiting family. I'm sure that's similar for Americans there as well.
posted by raedyn at 5:56 PM on July 17, 2006


Hey elpapacito!

just as disgusting:

I wouldn't be too surprised (but still horrified) if they use their Dolphin Class sub to take out the cruise liner then blame it on Iran / Syria.


Mossad Motto: By way of deception, though shalt do war.
(which they stole from sun tzu)
posted by augustweed at 5:58 PM on July 17, 2006


Glenn Greenwald: "Is Israel's War Also 'Our War'"?
posted by bardic at 5:58 PM on July 17, 2006


I like the idea of billing Israel. Maybe all the countries evacuating their citizens should bill Israel. And Lebanon should bill them for the rebuilding of their infrastructure (roads, power stations, etc) once it's all over.
posted by raedyn at 5:59 PM on July 17, 2006


No, that's within the US borders, where the government is indeed responsible for providing for my safety.

So there is no responsibility to citizens outside the border? I'm sure American Foreign Service employees would be interested to know that, Mayor Curley. I suppose the whole "register with your Embassy thing" is for them to keep better files on our actions than to provide possible help to citizens abroad.

Though if you are correct, I'm sure there are quite a few people here that would love to pitch in on a ticket to ship you out...
posted by pwedza at 5:59 PM on July 17, 2006


Hey, this should help bail out the airlines, since they're not having to fly those folks (that likely paid for round-trip) back. Um...

I heard an NPR interview this afternoon with a woman from Michigan who was on vacation in tyr ("tire"?) with her family - a two year old and an eight-month-old. Said woman was whining about "mieee baybeeee" etc. I'm a big ol' bleedin' heart liberal, but what the fuck. I don't care if President Bush himself was doing ads for the Lebanon Tourism Bureau, I would not take kids who couldn't outrun me to the middle east for vacation. After listening to this woman whine for a good five minutes, I have real trouble feeling sorry for anyone who was on vacation over there. If they were there to study, maybe, but...sheesh. /rant

On preview, raedyn, the interviewee mentioned vacation. Twice, maybe three times. And what a nice hotel she was in, right on the beach, so the Marines could drive right up.
posted by notsnot at 6:02 PM on July 17, 2006


Just to jump on the whole "vacation/ not vacation" debate-

my husband's best friend has a Lebanese father and American mother. His father's family is here but right now his uncle, aunt and cousins are in the mountains of Lebanon where they ran when the bombing started. They were there to try to convince some other family members to please leave and come to America where it would be safe.

None of the children has been to Lebanon until they were in their teens and they've not been there on pleasure trips, rather for funerals or weddings-family events. None of them would dream of taking their small children to the area just because of the unrest. Lumping someone on an NPR interview with the majority of the US citizens can be very damaging.
posted by hollygoheavy at 6:08 PM on July 17, 2006


Well, at the rate he's going, Edgar Whisenant has to be right sooner or later.
posted by swell at 6:21 PM on July 17, 2006



Does seem a bit strange to charge people to pull them out of a war zone. They could charge people in New Orleans to rescue them? I mean, they chose to live there!
posted by lundman at 6:32 PM on July 17, 2006


I just want to say that I'm grateful to jeversol for posting this... when I heard about it it was just so absurd that was roaring over here to FPP it too. The U.S. government should absolutely not be billing people for shit like this -- I will be calling my congresscritter tomorrow.
posted by zek at 6:34 PM on July 17, 2006


er, "absurd that I was roaring over here"
posted by zek at 6:34 PM on July 17, 2006


It still makes me giggle every time I hear that "greatest country on earth" line.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:46 PM on July 17, 2006


At least we are finally getting some good action on the news again. The roadside bombs in Iraq were getting boring.
posted by a3matrix at 6:49 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


The US Government should be charging Israel for these evacuations, or maybe taking it out of their yearly handout.

Or, even better, have everyone who's evacuated and charged file suit against Israel to recoup their losses.
posted by oaf at 6:52 PM on July 17, 2006


It still makes me giggle every time I hear that "greatest country on earth" line.

Damn, it's easy to pick Canadians out.
posted by oaf at 6:54 PM on July 17, 2006


Maybe make Israel, Hezbolah and the Palestinaen authority co-defendandents. They are all in it together on this one.
posted by a3matrix at 6:54 PM on July 17, 2006


Damn, it's easy to pick Canadians out.

True. The other 22 nations that are far and away greater countries than the US don't shout about it. The fifty-odd that are about as great as the US don't crow about it either.
posted by solid-one-love at 6:56 PM on July 17, 2006


At least war makes for good tv.
posted by bob sarabia at 6:57 PM on July 17, 2006


True. The other 22 nations that are far and away greater countries than the US don't shout about it. The fifty-odd that are about as great as the US don't crow about it either.

Of course, you don't seriously believe that there's some sort of magical list ranking countries, so I can clearly discount your post as being facetious.

Unless you really do mean that, in which case you need help you can't get here.
posted by oaf at 6:59 PM on July 17, 2006


I'm pulling the numbers out of my ass, but, yeah, I'd say that about a third of the world's nations are as great or greater than the US.
posted by solid-one-love at 7:05 PM on July 17, 2006


Can I assume, then, the next time some rich, pretty white girl goes missing in some foreign vacation spot, their family will get a bill for all the FBI manpower expended?

I mean, this is a business, right? We can't be giving this shit away.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:23 PM on July 17, 2006


Dear U.S. Evacuees in Lebanon:

Please make all checks and money orders out to:
(1) Halliburton
(2) Dick Cheney
or better yet,
(3) CASH.
Thank you,

Your Tax Dollars at Work.
posted by ericb at 7:51 PM on July 17, 2006


Charging your citizens to pull them out of a (sudden) war zone. Talk about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Disgraceful.
posted by jokeefe at 7:52 PM on July 17, 2006


So do something about it.
posted by NationalKato at 7:58 PM on July 17, 2006


Aren't we supposed to be pro-Democracy? Why the fuck are we ensuring the destruction of Lebanon's fledgling one?

Ironic, isn't it? Suddenly no one in the Bush administration seems to remember the Cedar Revolution.
posted by homunculus at 8:00 PM on July 17, 2006


"If that 25,000 American citizen number is correct then the cost is $7,500."

Maybe it's too late for me to be be doing math, but doesn't $300 x 25,000 = $750,000?
posted by GregW at 8:04 PM on July 17, 2006


er, $7,500,000.

I said it was too late for me to be doing math.
posted by GregW at 8:05 PM on July 17, 2006


Yee-haw!
posted by homunculus at 8:23 PM on July 17, 2006


Of course, you don't seriously believe that there's some sort of magical list ranking countries

No, only Americans believe in such a list.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:25 PM on July 17, 2006


The list is as follows:

1) USA! NUMBER ONE!
2) Other countires most of which Americans can't locate or spell the name of.
posted by Artw at 8:28 PM on July 17, 2006


Great. This administration cares so little about its citizens, we're now in the a-la-carte military business.

I can't wait for someone to refuse to pay, and have their case go before the Supreme Court.

Does your government have a right to charge you on a case-by-case basis when military action is the only viable remedy. And, if so, then exactly WHAT are we paying taxes for?

It's not like some corporation could have arranged evac. It's not like there were many alternatives to the 25,000 people stuck there in a time of relative peace. It's not like the government has any right to judge the validity of a given trip, and therefore the worthiness of saving your life for free or not.

I wonder if this disgusting administration would have saved more lives in New Orleans if those people had promised to pay $300. for the pleasure.
posted by JWright at 8:39 PM on July 17, 2006


elpapacito, augustweed, let me save you the trouble:


posted by Krrrlson at 8:44 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


I got the news an hour ago that my cousin and her two little daughters managed to get over the border into Syria finally, thanks to help from the UN. She has American and EU citizenship, and she couldn't count on the US to get her out. She'd been calling the US embassy for days with no answer, and when she went over, they could give her no assurances. The UN was far more effective.'

Take that any of you stupid yahoos who's always raging on how ineffective the UN is in comparison to the US. And she and the girls were in Lebanon because her mother-in-law (she's not Lebanese) is dying, so the whole family went to spend time with her.

It took them nine hours to get across the border in what should have been a one hour trip. Her husband stayed behind with his mother, and we're trying to get a hold of a college buddy of my dad to put my cousin and the girls up until there are seats available on a flight to Europe, which will be a while.

If anything had happened to the girls... well, I'm just thankful nothing did. As to this retarded thing where the US claims they'd have trouble blocking the Israeli blockade to get their citizens out... how about trying this: call up Olmert and say, "Hey man, how's it going? You know that $5.5 billion you get from us annually? The one you're not supposed to use for settlements, but that you do anyway by using it to offload cash from other expenses into the same forbidden stuff? Unless you let us get all our citizens out TODAY, that $5.5 billion is staying at home."
posted by the_savage_mind at 8:45 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]




The UN was far more effective.

Okay, can we all just take a moment to let that sink in?
posted by Artw at 9:00 PM on July 17, 2006


Meanwhile in France...
posted by pwedza at 9:02 PM on July 17, 2006


I dont mind paying, but I dont know who to tip. I guess you should split the 20% between the gunner and the pilot. Or do they work it out at closing time?
posted by skallas



brilliant! you made my day.
posted by nola at 9:03 PM on July 17, 2006


"As I understand it, in America if I get knocked over by a car and an abulance is called to take me away to a hospital I am billed for that, and the hospital will want to check my insurance. I don't think that's the case anywhere else, but I may be wrong." -- donfactor

Wrong here, wrong there. And loquax, as someone born in Arizona, fuck that 'stupid tax.'
posted by mwhybark at 9:05 PM on July 17, 2006


Hey, only $300 and they'll get you out on a CH-53E?! Sweet! If I'm going to shell out the dough, they can at least let me fire off a few rounds at a tool shed or something on the way out.
posted by drstein at 9:22 PM on July 17, 2006


From way up the thread...

"...This billing thing is a great idea. I think we should also bill soldiers for their rescue in the event they're taken prisoner..."

This wouldn't be as unprecedented as you would think. Soldiers that are injured or killed and lose their gear are billed for it; which is fucking ridiculous.

I can see them not footing the bill to get US citizens all the way back to the states -- take them to Ramstein-- but charging for evacuation out of a war zone is kind of being parasitic to your citizens. And this government is getting very parasitic.
posted by 517 at 9:26 PM on July 17, 2006


Krrlson, I don't care what point you thought you were making, that picture is offensive.

Anyway back on topic, a good friend of mine is in Lebanon, he was going to get married to a Lebanese-American. Wedding is off, obviously, now about 20 family members and close friends are trying to get out. It's awful for everyone involved.
posted by cell divide at 9:26 PM on July 17, 2006


One thing I've been reading about is that so far Israel seems to mainly be targeting civilian targets and infrastructure, with only some of the many attacks being on actual Hizbullah targets. As I have written before in other threads, Israel was provoked, but this response has gotten way out of hand. They are punishing the entire South of Lebanon. Some are speculating that Israel plans to destroy a large swath of S. Lebanon in order to create a dead zone so rockets cannot be launched from that region. Of course, this means displacement of at least 100,000 people and probably hundreds of deaths.

So far 12 Israeli civilians have been killed, and and estimated 160 lebanese civilians.
posted by cell divide at 9:33 PM on July 17, 2006


Traveling abroad is not a right. Much less for free.
posted by cellphone at 9:38 PM on July 17, 2006


I've always wondered, what is the official ratio of the value of Arab life to Israeli life? 10:1? 20:1? 50:1? Is there a exchange rate posted anywhere? It is really hard to keep up with who is winning without knowing this sort of thing. Thanks in advance.
posted by dopeypanda at 9:47 PM on July 17, 2006


Traveling abroad is not a right. Much less for free.

America: A place.. for Americans.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:48 PM on July 17, 2006


The usual exchange of us to them is ~ 1:1000, for most values of us and them. A little lower for the Irish.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:53 PM on July 17, 2006


No one is asking for a free luxury vacation. An evacuation from a country that is being bombed by one of our closest allies is a different story.
posted by bshort at 10:02 PM on July 17, 2006


Krrlson, I don't care what point you thought you were making, that picture is offensive.

What a freaky coincidence, I don't care what point you thought you were making either!
posted by Krrrlson at 10:04 PM on July 17, 2006


I probably should not post when angry. Snide sarcasm isn't very helpful.

I do find it truly fascinating though how far the meme of the evil of collectivism has gone. People actually seem to find it offensive that the government would provide such a basic service to its citizens. I mean it is the very root of what government is supposed to do. Truly bizarre (and dispiriting).
posted by dopeypanda at 10:17 PM on July 17, 2006


I can see them not footing the bill to get US citizens all the way back to the states -- take them to Ramstein--

What? Rammstein? Sure, it's a nice idea to shout a free concert for the evacuees, but don't you think something more all-American - like Celine Dion or Bryan Adams - would be more appropriate?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:18 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


I mean it is the very root of what government is supposed to do.

The idea of government is so flexible and nebulous, that it seems weird to me that someone could say so definitely what government is supposed to do. Is there some Platonian font of government that this policy is drifting from? This situation does not sound like something our framers would have considered, or been concerned about addressing, which suggests to me that this sort of rescue is not what the US government was designed to deal with.
posted by thirteen at 10:25 PM on July 17, 2006


How about collective security? We seem to be willing to spend 1 trillion dollars on a war in Iraq for collective security (supposedly). Evacuating citizens from unexpected emergencies seems like a sort of basic minimum given the negligible price tag. But what do I know.
posted by dopeypanda at 10:35 PM on July 17, 2006


the fee is a bad public relations move, though i would imagine that the policy is just standard for any american evacuated or sent home in any number of situations we would never hear about in which crazy americans get themselves into a bind and need bailing out--that could happen more often than we would imagine, and perhaps the cost was established as policy--perhaps as a deterrent to the idea that you can walk into an embassy and get a free trip home, or as a result of some abuse of the system (i mean, if this story were about college kids who stop into rough territory to try to get a free ticket home, you'd be all like 'make the bitches pay!')...on a bureaucratic level, those running this thing probably don't distinguish this event from any other, and so probably didn't think twice about mentioning the policy in the announcement...

...the embassy page itself does not list the $300 amount, but rather thay keep it more open-ended...sign a note and we'll tell you about costs as they come up...

...i have less a problem with the fee itself than the idea--if it is the case--that evacuation is conditional upon one's agreeing to pay an as-yet undisclosed amount in exchange...yeah, accuse someone of being on the idiotic side for turning down a chance to get out safely, but does the embassy go as far as allowing/forcing such person to remain in danger ?

...and perhaps enforcement of the policy is on the lax side, particularly considering the negative attention that would arise if someone turned away were subsequently killed or injured...

Krrlson, I don't care what point you thought you were making, that picture is offensive.

....i would agree...less based on the pic itself--expression is expression, and even the most sacred is fair game--but more on the motivation...it couldn't be for the purpose of making a point, because Krrlson doesn't really do points...
posted by troybob at 10:36 PM on July 17, 2006


Just so I am not misunderstood, I am not opposed to the airlift, and am nonplussed about the charge. I would not blink an eye if I heard the rescue was free either. It is just a small thing floating around the hazy edge of much more important issues.

I would be very pleased indeed if they debit the Israel slush fund for the cost. If that were the case, I would think a million per American repatriated would be a fair price. They could even drop them off at their front door with new set of clothes and a bottle of Coca-Cola and I would be very happy indeed.
posted by thirteen at 10:40 PM on July 17, 2006


Providing for the safety of American citizens, particularly those overseas, is part of the social contract, and what we pay taxes for. In essence, these people are being double billed.

Hear, hear.
posted by homunculus at 10:42 PM on July 17, 2006


A CH-53E is not a gunship. It may carry some limited defensive weaponry including guns, but that does not a gunship make. For example, it's a far cry from one of these beasties.
posted by pax digita at 10:45 PM on July 17, 2006


Of course, you don't seriously believe that there's some sort of magical list ranking countries ...

Since the US is the only country (I know of) that mentions happiness in a founding document, let's turn our rose-colored specs to the Happy Planet Index. It ranks 172 nations by measuring life satisfaction, life expectancy, and ecological footprint. Many of America's (smaller) neighbors do quite well for their citizenry; the Cradle of Democracy, well — let's just say, "We're Number 150!!"
posted by rob511 at 10:55 PM on July 17, 2006


the Cradle of Democracy, well — let's just say, "We're Number 150!!"

OK, so Greece is 150. Where is the US?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:15 PM on July 17, 2006


cell divide writes: They are punishing the entire South of Lebanon.

True, but also major cities in the middle and northern part of the country.

Also, nonplussed.
posted by bardic at 11:52 PM on July 17, 2006



Also, nonplussed.


Hmm. That is embarrassing. Even worse, I can't think of a proper word to replace it. "Unconcerned" might do it. Thanks for the lesson.
posted by thirteen at 12:23 AM on July 18, 2006


There are a lot of students in Lebanon because it's one of the better (and safer) places to do Arabic immersion and advanced study, something the West really needs (people who understand Arabic and Arabic culture). It isn't just a matter of $300 to these students - they are also losing their return ticket. How the hell are they suposed to get from Cyprus to the States? With what money? As a student abroad, I've had my return ticket, and just enough money to feed/house myself for a few months - if anything had happened to my return ticket, I would have had no money to replace it, let alone by another, expensive last minute ticket from Cyprus.
posted by jb at 2:44 AM on July 18, 2006


Traveling abroad is not a right.

aaah, your just jealous, because it's certainly a right where I come from.

I used to care about America, because I honestly believed it was principled - Freedom, Justice etc etc etc.

Geting old and cynical now. America can and will do whatever it wants, screwing freedom and liberty up the ass along the way. Eventually it'll all be over though. All Empires fall once the core values are gone.
posted by twistedonion at 3:29 AM on July 18, 2006


Columbia is one of the happiest place on the planet!?! Gotta be the coke.
posted by twistedonion at 3:33 AM on July 18, 2006


So there is no responsibility to citizens outside the border? I'm sure American Foreign Service employees would be interested to know that, Mayor Curley. I suppose the whole "register with your Embassy thing" is for them to keep better files on our actions than to provide possible help to citizens abroad.

Though if you are correct, I'm sure there are quite a few people here that would love to pitch in on a ticket to ship you out...


Yes, Pizda. The role of government is to save you when you do stupid things, even when they've given you prior warning.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:50 AM on July 18, 2006



I like the idea of billing Israel. Maybe all the countries evacuating their citizens should bill Israel. And Lebanon should bill them for the rebuilding of their infrastructure (roads, power stations, etc) once it's all over.


What a convoluted way to make the US tax payer pay, but that would work.
posted by NewBornHippy at 4:49 AM on July 18, 2006


And remember: The US is the only country in the world which taxes it's non-resident citizens.


I've always heard this and finally decided to find out if it's true. Apparently, assuming what I've found is true, we're one of four countries that do so. The other three are Egypt, the Phillipines and North Korea.

The IRS does go a bit further in that they even tax green card holders not currently living in the states. They also presume that anyone who makes more than $500,000 who tries to either renounce their citizenship or "cancel" their green card is doing so for tax evasion purposes, and taxes them anyway.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:43 AM on July 18, 2006


I have a friend who is in the hills outside Beruit. He was just about to sign a contract with an ad agency there, but now it is closed until further notice.
Until 3 days ago he was having a great time with his Lebanese friends. Now he is waiting for evac details from the FO.

He fully intends to return to Lebanon once the 'dust has settled' as he has very much enjoyed his time there. It must be a great place.
posted by asok at 6:42 AM on July 18, 2006


I wonder if American victims of Israeli violence in Lebanon or Palestine (then or now), would win a court case against the state of Israel, given that the US courts seem to consider that whatever happens to US citizens abroad falls under their jurisdiction, including the confiscation of cultural treasures, as was recently discussed here...
posted by talos at 7:09 AM on July 18, 2006


Apparently, assuming what I've found is true, we're one of four countries that do so. The other three are Egypt, the Phillipines and North Korea.

That doesn't make it a bad idea. It's not like they're going to tax you if you happen to be a regular boring Yank living in the UK or Japan. In that case, they'll expect you to file a return that excludes all of your foreign income or in which you claim foreign taxes as a tax credit that eliminates your US tax.

This only kicks in for people who are well-off or who are paying less in foreign income taxes than they would to the federal government as income tax. That is, if it's consistent with being a tax dodge.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:13 AM on July 18, 2006


On the other hand, the U.S. has traditionally encouraged private enterprise and student exchange as a part of economic diplomacy. Carpetbagging is as much an American tradition as Apple Pie, with investors and entrepreneurs moving into Germany, Japan, and Korea almost before the ink was dry on the ceasefire agreements.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:17 AM on July 18, 2006


Traveling abroad is not a right. Much less for free.

Conservatards: proudly displaying their psychopathic lack of empathy for 70-odd years.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:08 AM on July 18, 2006


Oh, oops it is $7.5million. Damn you math! Damn you to hell!
posted by geoff. at 8:36 AM on July 18, 2006


Mayor Curley: Yes, Pizda. The role of government is to save you when you do stupid things, even when they've given you prior warning.

Yes, Mayor Curley, I hope you never, ever happen to do anything stupid. Ever.
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 9:15 AM on July 18, 2006


If only "conservatives" cared even half as much about the record levels of Republican corporate welfare. That comes out of your taxes, too, y'know.

Republicans '06: "Penny wise, pound foolish."
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:23 AM on July 18, 2006


Out of curiosity, I emailed a few foreign offices yesterday to find out their policies on this; so far, only Britain has responded, and they say that British nationals will be evacuated to Cypress free of charge.
posted by gsteff at 9:24 AM on July 18, 2006


I rather disagree that this is "stupid" given that it has been three years since the last rather limited exchange of gunfire, and hostilities only flared up last week. Are people who do business or studies overseas required to be precognitive?

In many areas of the world there are risks of civil unrest, warfare, terrorism and natural disaster. Generally the position of our foreign policy is that as a matter of basic diplomacy, the risks are reasonable compared to the beneifits of economic and cultural ties between countries.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:51 AM on July 18, 2006


Canada has announced that, starting tomorrow, Canadians will be evacuated to Cypress & Turkey free of charge. (Source)
posted by raedyn at 9:59 AM on July 18, 2006


gsteff - Government of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs page confirming what I found in the CBC story above.
posted by raedyn at 10:02 AM on July 18, 2006


And loquax, as someone born in Arizona, fuck that 'stupid tax.'

???
posted by loquax at 10:14 AM on July 18, 2006


TravellingDen wrote:
artw - to be fair, it's not the only country that does this, though it is in a minority. I believe China does, along with a small handful of other countries, mostly dictatorships or some other form of repressive government (though not exclusively)

China definitely does not tax overseas citizens.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:29 AM on July 18, 2006


Metafilter: Beats the Fuck Out of Tajikistan.

oaf writes "Damn, it's easy to pick Canadians out."

We're the one giggling in the corner.

oaf writes "Of course, you don't seriously believe that there's some sort of magical list ranking countries, so I can clearly discount your post as being facetious."

Sure is.

pax digita writes "For example, it's a far cry from one of these beasties."

Ah, Mil Mi-24 = Hind. Oh how we love thee.
posted by Mitheral at 11:30 AM on July 18, 2006


Traveling abroad is not a right. Much less for free.

You're a fucking moron. God damn, that is one of the stupidest things I've ever read.

On other points: You know, folks, there are other reasons besides "pleasure" to travel. In fact, I would wager that most American nationals in Lebanon are not there for the nightlife. As such, god - shut the fuck up about this "free vacation return ticket" bullshit. That point is dead, give the fuck up already.
posted by odinsdream at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2006


House Democratic Leader NancyPelosi Statement on Evacuation from Lebanon:
"The United States government has an obligation to get thousands of its citizens out of harm's way in Lebanon quickly and safely. That means making it clear to the combatants that we will not tolerate any interference with our evacuation activities.

"The immediate risk to American lives also means this is no time for quibbling over payment for evacuation. Whatever resources are needed to assist Americans in danger in Lebanon must be provided. Americans should not be held hostage by a requirement to sign an agreement to repay transportation costs before evacuation. A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon.

"I call upon the President to remove one worry from the minds of stranded American citizens in Lebanon and their families back home by declaring immediately that their country will bear the costs of bringing them to safety."
posted by ericb at 12:04 PM on July 18, 2006




In related news -- US Ambassador John Bolton: Lebanon civilian deaths morally not same as terror victims.
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on July 18, 2006








According to this CNN article, the rate is actually $3,000 not $300. Maybe I'm just poor, but that's not a nominal fee.

Considering the billions of dollars that the US has given Israel in military aid, not to mention the free fighter planes also given by the US (the same fighter planes that are now being used to indirectly bomb US citizens) the US government should definitely pick up the tab to evacuate citizens from a conflict that they had a hand in creating.

I am, however, interested in learning more about the law that the CNN article mentions that apparently states that the State Department has to be reimbursed for evacuations. It doesn't give much informaion about it.
posted by eunoia at 4:46 PM on July 18, 2006




In a free market this woulnd't be a problem.

Because some other country or corporation would be able to move those citizens for only $199.
posted by nyxxxx at 4:54 PM on July 18, 2006


According to this CNN article, the rate is actually $3,000 not $300.

If that's accurate, its horrifying. I refuse to believe that that's a standard commercial rate for a flight of a few hundred miles.
posted by gsteff at 4:57 PM on July 18, 2006


they will not be allowed to use their passports again until they pay.

What the heck does that mean? Is the US going to notify every border crossing on the planet that the passports have been suspended?
posted by Mitheral at 4:57 PM on July 18, 2006


CNN says:
"Evacuation fees for Americans being helped to leave Lebanon will be waived, two Republican senators tell CNN."
posted by oaf at 5:17 PM on July 18, 2006


Breaking news on CNN.com (top of the page, no link yet): "Evacuation fees for Americans being helped to leave Lebanon will be waived, two Republican senators tell CNN."
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:18 PM on July 18, 2006




Wonderful!

bitter-girl's post, not ericb's
posted by gsteff at 6:13 PM on July 18, 2006


loquax, I think the "stupid tax" comment by mwhybark was meant to be directed at loquacious.
posted by malocchio at 6:18 PM on July 18, 2006


link
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:29 PM on July 18, 2006


The plight of US citizens in Lebanon is yet another occasion to ask: why the fuck is Israel our friend again? Aside from empty platitudes like "the Middle East's only democracy," what has Israel ever done for Us interests? It seems to me that their whole reason for being is to destabilize the region and drive up oil prices because of their religious need to live on that land.

I know that the Arab nations hate us, etc, but does befriending Israel offer any relief there? WTF has Israel EVER done for US interests? In this instance they are clearly willing to act without prior notification/approval on the part of the US, putting American lives at risk.

I say again: WTF? Moreover, I dare the Israel apologists to make some sense of all this to me. Why, why, why does the US support Israel? And please don't quote principles to me. Israel is a segregated theocracy. There is no alignment of principles there. Iraq, frankly, is a more functional democracy at this point.
posted by scarabic at 9:30 PM on July 18, 2006 [2 favorites]


scarabic, it's where the Rapture happens in their eyes, and there's some guilt bec we didn't let anyone in before and during WW2, and they're a good market for our defense contractors (using our own money), and we need a base in the region more stable than Saudi Arabia, and...

The Irony of Hitting Haifa
posted by amberglow at 9:51 PM on July 18, 2006


If its standard policy, why don't I ever recall hearing about other mass evacuations inducing charges? Is my memory bad or is this a recent developement?

During the Tsunami of 2004, the US Embassy in Thailand really excelled themselves:
"[A US Citizen] said she was impressed by the efforts of the Thai government and the International Committee for the Red Cross, but "she was appalled at the treatment they got" from the U.S. government, her mother said.

At the airport in Bangkok, other governments had set up booths to greet nationals who had been affected and to help repatriate them, she said.

That was not the case with the U.S. government, Wachs told her mother. It took the couple three hours, she said, to find the officials from the American consulate, who were in the VIP lounge.

Because they had lost all their possessions, including their documentation, they had to have new passports issued.

But the U.S. officials demanded payment to take the passport pictures ... "
[italics mine]
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/12/29/tsunami.diver/index.html

Personally, I think it's OK to bill people for this kind of thing. But not upfront, for god's sake! That's just ludicrously insensitive.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:51 PM on July 18, 2006


this is disgusting--it's one of the primary responsibilities of governments--to ensure the safety of its citizens.

Not abroad, frankly. America will do what's right for it's strategic interests abroad at the expense of individuals who live willy nilly here there everywhere. Have you ever gotten in trouble abroad? The US govt. is of precious little use when it happens. That's reality. I'm not saying it's justified for them to bill evacuees, I'm just saying that if you're surprised you're ignorant.

It's one of the primary responsibilities of federal governments to protect the safety of the country against foreign threads, not its citizens wherever they go and into whatever regional conflicts. Those claiming that this is the job of the US government are sorely misinformed (ie: never travelled to the middle east, probably) and due for big disappointment.

If anything, the US should be billing our good friend Israel for this one. You know... a little inter-departmental chargeback (since we're all part of the same Inc.).

It is a little, oh, how you say? fucked up that we send Israel them cash and arms when they endanger our citizens and interests in return. Anyone paying more at the pump this week? Please get a clue, America. Israel is not your friend. We've proven repeatedly that the US can act in that theater to defend its own interests. We don't need them as an ally, and our alignment with them costs us a lot.
posted by scarabic at 9:57 PM on July 18, 2006


Why, why, why does the US support Israel?

Because Israel is by far the most powerful nation in that part of the middle east. It's that simple. Remember that their counterbalance is Saudi Arabia (which is also opposed to Hezbollah and Iranian power) and it starts to make more sense.
posted by cell divide at 9:59 PM on July 18, 2006


we need a base in the region more stable than Saudi Arabia

Look, if we have a crisis with citizens stranded in LEBANON which is snug against Israel, and yet we are still using sea-baed helicopters to fly evacuees to Cyprus while we slowly trickle in more passenger ships to ferry them away, then we do not, apparently, have any useful bases on Israeli territory.

Let's dismiss the myth that IL is a strategic military "base" for the US. It is not. I'd love nothing better than to get the heck out of Saudi and the rest of it. But at least we get real "ally" reach-arounds from Saudi. Israel? What have they done for us lately? Or ever?

celldivide: It would seem that all we're doing by supporting them is funding one side of an extremely volatile powder keg in a region where we have economic interests. You think building up Israel creates stability in the region? It's, in fact, the source of most instability there. I understand the need to maintain balance of power, but it doesn't add up. What's the worst that could happen to the US without Israel?
posted by scarabic at 10:10 PM on July 18, 2006


Why, why, why does the US support Israel?

Because Israel is by far the most powerful nation in that part of the middle east. It's that simple.


sorry, cell divide, but you're confusing cause and effect.

Israel is only as strong as it is *because* of American support. If one third of US foreign aid went to any single random country in the middle east instead of Israel, that country would instantly become the most powerful in the region. In other words, America supports Israel for geopolitical reasons that have nothing to do with strength, but the support makes Israel strong as a result.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:45 PM on July 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


Traveling abroad is not a right.

Really? Have a look cellphone. Give me your number if you have trouble understanding.

Some people on this thread are seriously fucking pitiful. Do we have absolutely no idea of solidarity.

What is a riot is that we, as 'mericans, seem to like to enjoy thinking of ourselves as a combative and free people. Unfortunately, a large amount of us seem to be just fine with rolling over and letting the government do as they damn well please while standing back watching our concitoyens get fucked over. It would seem that instead of being combative, many are overly agressive and very willing to gobble up whatever government line is being fed to them. Or scarier yet, more than ready to jump to explain why they think that "their tax money" shouldn't be used to help another citizen.

But as the slogan goes: "Freedom isn't free."

That must be why many seem more than happy to finance an endless war, yet appaled at the idea that their money could go directly to the aid of another citizen.

I guess those with the other bumper sticker slogan are sadly correct: "Never trust your government" -- to be there for you when you need them. As it stands right now, more 'mericans have been assisted by Europeans than by their own government. Supposedly that is going to change tomorrow ... a week after the massive bombing campaign began.
posted by pwedza at 11:47 PM on July 18, 2006


U.S. waives fee to flee Lebanon.
posted by EarBucket at 4:23 AM on July 19, 2006


I'd just like to add to the cocaphony of anger and disbelief with a hearty, "This is some happy fucking horseshit right here." Charging to evacuate U.S. citizens?

I forget, did Reagan charge for the students in Grenada to be evacuated, or was the money taken from their meal plan?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:24 AM on July 19, 2006


And on non-preview:

Oh, thank you, o magnificent government, thank you so much! You are too kind! If your generosity were water and my needs a cup, it would be a vast river of undulating magnanimity.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:27 AM on July 19, 2006


Grenada was the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard about this.

"At the White House, Press Secretary Tony Snow blamed Congress for a 2002 mandate requiring the administration to recover evacuation costs "to the maximum extent practicable."

The provision, he said, "is causing heartburn for a number of people, but it is the law, and the State Department has to abide by it.""

I’m sure at the time that mandate seemed like a good idea in theory but some place where bombs are dropping is not where you should be waving around promissory notes. Maybe if they want to 'recover evacuation costs "to the maximum extent practicable."' they should send the bill to Israel.
posted by Tenuki at 5:28 AM on July 19, 2006


sorry, cell divide, but you're confusing cause and effect.

Wrong. Israel's official economy generates over $115bn per year. The $5-7bn the US gives is a significant amount, but not enough to make or break the country. Furthermore, most of this aid started to come after 1967, when Israel had already established itself as the dominant country in that part of the Eastern Med.

Israel also gets billions of dollars in charity every year, and counts among its citizens and supporters some of the most powerful and politically connected people on earth.
posted by cell divide at 7:36 AM on July 19, 2006


they will not be allowed to use their passports again until they pay - amberglow

Is the US going to notify every border crossing on the planet that the passports have been suspended? - Mitheral

I have no idea if that charge is true, but accomplishing it would be pretty trivial. Just confiscate the passports upon arrival in the US.

Israel is only as strong as it is *because* of American support. - UbuRoivas

Took the words from my mouth.
In fiscal year 2003 Israel received a foreign military financing grant of $3.1 billion and a $600 million grant for economic security in addition to $11 billion in commercial loan guarantees. This total aid package of nearly $15 billion makes Israel by far the largest single recipient of U.S. aid. (Source)
If Israel didn't get billions annually from your own government they might be a little less dominant.
posted by raedyn at 7:47 AM on July 19, 2006


(and holy cow the numbers quote on the Source page I linked are staggering. 30% of US foreign aid to this one reasonably well off country?)
posted by raedyn at 7:59 AM on July 19, 2006


Israel's official economy generates over $115bn per year. The $5-7bn the US gives is a significant amount, but not enough to make or break the country.

I think this makes the opposite point. The $115bn is GDP? And $5-7bn in pure aid doesn't dent that? Wow. I wish someone would drop in and grant the US 5% of our GDP in free aid. I'm pretty sure we'd be more powerful than Canada and Mexico combined if that happened.

But on the subject of cause and effect, are you saying that the US can't help but placate this $115bn powerhouse of a nation? That they are already so powerful that we need to sidle up to them? That a country you can drive across in 3 hours which is halfway around the world has us shivering in our boots?

counts among its citizens and supporters some of the most powerful and politically connected people on earth

Bingo. You've got it. It's a sweetheart deal.
posted by scarabic at 8:08 AM on July 19, 2006


And, to re-rail; today's news says they're waiving the fee, anyway.
posted by baylink at 10:09 AM on July 19, 2006


...During the escalation of 1996, there were grown ups at the White House who delicately talked Israel and Hezbollah (through proxies) off the ledge. There were moderating forces who were able to put the brakes on an all out conflagration. No such forces exist in Washington today. Instead of trying to cool the rhetoric the Bush Administration has been adding fuel to the fire ...

Let's dismiss the myth that IL is a strategic military "base" for the US. It is not. I'd love nothing better than to get the heck out of Saudi and the rest of it. But at least we get real "ally" reach-arounds from Saudi. Israel? What have they done for us lately? Or ever?
Many people believe that having a very heavily-armed Israel there both threatens and keeps in line the other countries in the region. Like a Fort or colony or something i guess. Israel is doing this current evil shit with our support and full knowledge--our administration wants the whole region and its resources weakened and/or under our control. Israel is helping--Israel is almost always helping us, even when we make noises for them to stop doing something. Whether that's good or evil is another matter, but even today, with every bomb, they're furthering our adminstration's agenda for the region--even if they're just acting as distraction from the hell that is now Iraq.
posted by amberglow at 10:21 AM on July 19, 2006


U.S. Appears to Be Waiting to Act on Israeli Airstrikes

...Mr. Assad’s statement, reported by Syria’s state-run news agency, appeared to be a direct challenge to President Bush, who has decided to allow Israel to continue its attacks for another week or so, according to American and Israeli officials. Mr. Bush has singled out the Syrian president as the person best placed to end the fighting, by reining in Hezbollah. ...
posted by amberglow at 10:25 AM on July 19, 2006


Israel is a rogue nation like any other.
posted by bardic at 10:47 AM on July 19, 2006


"The death toll late Tuesday stood at 235 people killed in Lebanon and 25 in Israeli."

"Latest targets of air blitz: milk and medicine"

Results of Israeli aggression against Lebanon (NSFW)

Fucking animals. Fucking barbarians. Pull the plug (i.e., military funding) from this sick nation.
posted by bardic at 10:58 AM on July 19, 2006


Right, they dont have a right to defend themselves and the armed violent backwards Islamic theocratic militants should overrun it, eh? Wow, they joke that the american left is spineless and its sad to see that stereotype turn true. No wonder you cant win an election.

Even without the aid Israel would still be doing much of the same. Why dont you take care of the barbarians you vote in and 'sick nation' you live in first. Thanks.
posted by skallas at 12:57 PM on July 19, 2006


Because everyone living in Lebanon is a member of Hezbollah, huh?

The military leadership of Israel is as immoral as it is stupid. Which is saying a lot.

And no, without US money Israel wouldn't exist. This is a fact. As an American, I expect some level of moral accountability form our puppet nations.
posted by bardic at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2006


Right, they dont have a right to defend themselves and the armed violent backwards Islamic theocratic militants should overrun it, eh?

I am pretty disturbed by the similarity I see between some of the rhetoric regarding the L/I conflict and the early let's-bomb-Iraq sophisms.

The situations aren't the same at all, why is the language?

Even without the aid Israel would still be doing much of the same.

Let 'em! I just don't want to pay for it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:06 PM on July 19, 2006


Skallas - So all Lebanese are Hezbollah?
posted by bshort at 1:14 PM on July 19, 2006


bardic, I dont answer obviously loaded questions.

When was the last time you beat your wife anyway?
posted by skallas at 1:18 PM on July 19, 2006


Because everyone living in Lebanon is a member of Hezbollah, huh?

I dont answer obviously loaded questions.

Right, they dont have a right to defend themselves and the armed violent backwards Islamic theocratic militants should overrun it, eh?
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:19 PM on July 19, 2006


What's loaded about my question? Hezbollah are a bunch of thugs, no doubt. But they don't make up the entirety of Lebanon. Unlike you, even George Bush seems to understand this. I wish he'd grow a pair and stand up to the Israeli leadership for once, seeing as how it wasn't long ago he was heralding the "Cedar Revolution" as a dividend of occupying Iraq. But Israel can do whatever the hell it wants, seemingly.

But yeah, you're obviously full of shit skallas, so go ahead and accuse me of being a monster.

Harold Meyerson today: "Israel's retaliation against Hezbollah, for instance, may be both understandable and justifiable, but that's not to say it's effective. The aerial pulverization of Lebanon can destroy many things, including, possibly, Lebanon's democratic government (the least anti-Western within the Arab world), but it cannot destroy Hezbollah's thousands of concealed mini-missiles or the support for Hezbollah among the Shiites who live near the Lebanese-Israeli border."
posted by bardic at 1:46 PM on July 19, 2006


hey skallas... how's it feel to be a cowardly, shit-bag, apologist for butchers and murderers?

Also, how's it feel to have the creeping realization that the US public will be feeding on your demented, corrupt conservatives like the pond-scum they are in the coming years?
posted by the_savage_mind at 2:46 PM on July 19, 2006


oh god... way to cross post by accident. my shame is complete
posted by the_savage_mind at 2:49 PM on July 19, 2006




MetaFilter: how's it feel to be a cowardly, shit-bag, apologist for butchers and murderers?
posted by homunculus at 9:44 PM on July 19, 2006


How does it feel, especially since on every other issue, especially when it comes to ethnic and religious superiority, you're on the "other side"?
posted by cell divide at 10:40 PM on July 19, 2006




... The White House's inaction on the Israeli-Hezbollah and Israeli-Palestinian issues is consistent with its belief that the goal of American Mideast policy shouldn't be keeping the peace but transforming the region by destabilizing, defeating or overthrowing groups and regimes that practice or support terrorism and are hostile to Israel.

"That's the big idea that was behind the invasion of Iraq, it's the reason they won't talk to Syria or Iran or Hamas, and now it's the reason they're giving the Israelis time and space to try to destroy Hezbollah," said a veteran U.S. diplomat who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity because "if you print my name, it'll be the end of my career."

The trouble with the policy is "it won't work," said the official. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:33 PM on July 20, 2006


Pics of the devastation in Beirut (BBC)
posted by amberglow at 9:24 AM on July 21, 2006


Wonkette: The correction above is what you’ll see if you read the Washington Post’s online version of the story about American evacuees trying to escape from Lebanon.

The number listed in the print edition of today’s Post? 1-800-407-4747.

Which we called. And we heard:

“Feeling horny? Try these red hot lines from National. Live hot fun at just 69 cents per minute.”

posted by amberglow at 10:27 AM on July 21, 2006


Thanks for the update, amberglow. I was, in fact, feeling horny.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:32 AM on July 21, 2006



posted by ericb at 10:41 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]




speaking of Spoiled Rotten: Ivy Leaguers Leave Lebanon First and Fast Through Private Security Firms
posted by amberglow at 2:54 PM on July 21, 2006


...So the first decision has been made to end the Pax Americana. And the reason it has ended is a combination of irresponsible fiscal and monetary policies and the doctrine of unilteralism.

Here's the deal - how the Pax Americana worked till Bush was this. The US had the hard tip of the military spear. The troops designed to fight open field warfare. The troops capable of crushing almost any conventional army in the world. They had the navy - as large as the rest of the world's navy combined. But they did not use it in any significant fashion outside of their own backyard (sorry Latin America, you're on your own) without the approval of their allies. The one time they did, in Vietnam, the world largely abandoned them, and the US dollar crashed and the Bretton Woods agreement was destroyed. The Europeans didn't quite cut the US loose that time, but they came close.

When Bush came to power he decided he had the right to do whatever he wanted militarily and economically without considering the European's interests (not even really Britain's. Britain went along because they felt they needed to maintain the special relationship with the US.) But, they put up with it. Until now. Because now the US has broken the implicit contract. The Israelis and Hezbollah clearly need to be seperated, as far as the Europeans are concerned, and not only won't the US do it, but it is pouring fuel on the fire. US policies added to the likelihood of this fire breaking out, and now they won't help put it out.

And it looks like European patience has finally broken. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:01 PM on July 21, 2006


Ivy Leaguers Leave Lebanon First and Fast Through Private Security Firms

At least some of the Ivies were prepared and "forward-thinking":
"With the growth in American students studying abroad in the Middle East, some schools are turning to private security companies to protect their students where they cannot.

Harvard, Princeton and Yale are insured by International SOS and Medex, two private security companies.

Arriving with well-equipped teams, these companies arranged everything for students from land- and air-route evacuations, to hotel rooms, to cold bottles of water at the Syrian border."
If travelling abroad, it helps to have emergency service insurance, etc. Many folks book travel on their American Express Cards, so that they can take advantage of their "Global Assist" services. It's all about "being prepared."
posted by ericb at 3:02 PM on July 21, 2006


BTW -- for those who don't have American Express cards/coverage for emergency evacuation, companies like International SOS and Medex (mentioned above) offer such for around $4.00 per day -- wise-spending particularly when travelling in areas the State Department lists on their "travel warning" list. (It brought "peace-of-mind" when I was involved in relief efforts in Haiti.)
posted by ericb at 3:16 PM on July 21, 2006


eric, isn't it wrong to leave some students to their fate and on their own, while those from certain elite schools only get rescued? Isn't it Katrina all over again, where those with cars or money could escape and the vast majority was stuck?
posted by amberglow at 4:44 PM on July 21, 2006


amberglow -- some schools were prepared with insurance for private evacuations, others not.

Obviously private companies were more efficient in evacuating their 'policy holders' than the U.S. State Department was in evacuating all of its citizens.
"Customer satisfaction with the American government: not quite so high.

The Beirut situation 'has shown how horrible the State Department has been in evacuating people…keeping people informed and not causing a state of panic,' wrote [A.G.] Leventhal in an e-mail to ABC News.

In a public announcement, the State Department stated, 'The U.S. Government is using all resources possible to facilitate the speedy and safe departure of American citizens currently in Lebanon using every means available.'

But luckily for Leventhal, his Harvard status kept him safer, sooner."
posted by ericb at 5:19 PM on July 21, 2006


Evacuation of Westerners from Lebanon
Why are We the Story?

Patrick McGreevy writes from Beirut
posted by taosbat at 9:10 PM on July 21, 2006




They sped up bomb delivery and purposely slowed down the evacuations: A reliable source tells me that the reason the United States has been so slow in evacuating its citizens from Lebanon is that the public diplomacy (i.e., P.R.) issues raised by evacuating under Israeli assault are so complicated. Individuals within the State Department, I am told, have been reluctant to create an impression that the Israeli assault on Lebanon is as bad as it is or that civilian U.S. citizens are being threatened by U.S. ally Israel. If a conflict this severe had broken out in, say, Indonesia, the American embassy would have been shut down the next day and its personnel and families rapidly brought to safety. That's how things normally work. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:21 PM on July 22, 2006


I love how they are whiny for complaining about sleeping rough and having no food. I mean, what do they need food for?

I don't want my children to grow up spoiled, so I'm going to make them always sleep on concrete. Maybe I'll give them food sometimes, but not too often, or they will be whiny spoiled brats. "I want lunch! I haven't eaten in three days!"
posted by jb at 4:37 AM on July 23, 2006


on a more serious note - the McGreevy article/piece is an important read. Has it been published? or sent directly? (I don't see a source)
posted by jb at 4:39 AM on July 23, 2006


« Older "I wanted to tell the story the way I thought HE...   |   North Korean Socialist Realism Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post