Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Am I Missing Something?

As you can see, it's 4 AM and I'm awake. I've been so warn out lately that I went to bed around 9 PM last night... then of course, I woke up at 3 AM.

Since I've been up, I decided to get caught up on the news. I noticed another blog post about the current evacuation of US citizens in Lebanon and was quite surprised.

I prefer not to go into too much detail here, but I found this statement from the US State Department:

"The Department of State reminds American citizens that the U.S. government does not provide no-cost transportation but does have the authority to provide repatriation loans to those in financial need. For the portion of your trip directly handled by the U.S. Government we will ask you to sign a promissory note and we will bill you at a later date. In a subsequent message, when we have specific details about the transportation arrangments, we will inform you about the costs you will incur. We will also work with commercial aircraft to ensure that they have adequate flights to help you depart Cyprus and connect to your final destination."

Maybe I'm missing something. When I was a kid, I suppose that I always pictured this sort of thing to be "free." Kind of like calling the fire department when your house is on fire of the police when something has gone wrong. You know, something paid for by taxes. Taxes are a little like an insurance policy on these things I'd think...

It's a little surprising to me that first off, we've been spending so much on war and other things, yet we can't help our own people out of a bad situation. This for some reason reminds me of what happened in New Orleans. I seem to remember that all of the people with money were able to get out, yet those less fortunate were completely abandoned.

Abandoned has been the word I've seen used in a lot of other blogs on this topic.

The other thing that seems odd is how other countries, including France and Romania, are paying for their citizens to leave-- no promissory note needed. You would think that we could at least do that. I for one hope to never be stranded in such a precarious situation, as clearly things seem more uncertain each day.

Am I missing something?

Update: After writing this post, I found in this ABC article (http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=2202177&page=1) that apparently we have also been dragging our feet on executing the evacuation process for Americans. And yet, it appears that other countries have been on the ball.

Here's a snipit:

The State Department has said there are about 25,000 Americans in Lebanon, but a smaller number — about 15,000 — had registered with the embassy as living or traveling in Lebanon.

One of those Americans, Susan Jreige of Boston, told ABC News, "Everyone's very anxious."
"Especially when you don't know what will happen to the situation … if you can't get out," she said.

Back home, her father told us he is also anxious and upset.
"We tried to reach the government, the State Department, the White House to try to get them out," Bill Audy said. "Every other country in the world has been evacuating their citizens."

Again, am I missing something?


Philip said...

I just have to ask, why are there American citizens in Lebanon? Are there for summer school to study goats or something?

And if you are an American citizen in Lebanon wouldn't you be wealthy enough to afford to pay the government to get you out?

I don't agree that the government should charge to get citizens out, but what broke American is going to get the urge to head over to Lebanon?

Angela Copeland said...

Good point. But you know, if I had to guess, I would assume there are some:
* aide workers
* barely paid non-profit employees
* backpacking students
* exchange students
* and other people who just didn't budget for an airlift out of Lebanon. :-)