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Thread: US Gov't to charge stranded Americans for evacuation from Lebanon?

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default US Gov't to charge stranded Americans for evacuation from Lebanon?

    U.S. warships will arrive off the coast of war-smashed Lebanon this morning to start a mass evacuation of Americans amid complaints that instead of charging to the rescue, the government is charging them for the rescue.
    The State Department said the evacuees will be asked to pay "the going commercial rate for transport out" - about $150, although the amount hasn't been decided yet. If they can't pay up, Uncle Sam wants an IOU. "We are moving as quickly as we can. It's a complex operation that involves an extraordinary level of effort," said Adm. Patrick Walsh.

    Nine Navy ships led by the Iwo Jima, a helicopter carrier, should arrive today to kick-start the evacuation. About 200 Americans got out yesterday on U.S. helicopters and a Swedish transport. "We will see a dramatic rampup," said Assistant Secretary of State Maura Harty, who said 2,000 could escape today.

    There are 25,000 Americans in Lebanon, and officials estimate at least 5,000 of them - tourists, students, business travelers and expatriate workers - are trying to get out of the war zone.

    Walsh said four amphibious ships will ferry Americans from Beirut to the warships for a ride to nearby Cyprus. The Orient Queen, a cruise ship rented by the U.S. for the evacuation, was held up by the Israeli naval blockade but finally steamed into port last night.

    There was growing anger the U.S. didn't have a better exit strategy for its citizens. France, Italy, Greece, Norway and several other countries already have evacuated many of their citizens, along with some Americans.

    Cable news channels relayed e-mails from trapped Americans complaining that no one picked up the phone at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

    CNN showed a picture of a California family holding up signs saying, "Where are you America?" and "Please get us out."

    Some of the stranded - and several top Democrats in Washington - made comparisons to the government's botched handling of Hurricane Katrina.

    "This is being treated like a mini-Katrina," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "These people are just being stranded in Lebanon."

    An embassy official who was granted anonymity said officials watched France use a chartered Greek cruise liner to take 1,200 people away two days ago. "We've learned from the way the French did it, so our systems are ready to go," the official said.

    The White House said a 2003 law requires the reimbursement for rescues. "I dare say it's something that is causing heartburn for a number of people, but it is the law," said spokesman Tony Snow. Harty assured the public that no one will be denied boarding "because they left their checkbook or credit card behind."

    The charge is a tiny fraction of the expense of a military operation but may prove costly in bad public relations.

    Democrats demanded that President Bush waive the fee.

    "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," said Senate Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

    Once they get to Cyprus, the evacuees will have to find their own lodging and book flights home. The cheapest one-way flight to New York tomorrow is more than $1,4
    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/sto...p-367571c.html


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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: US Gov't to charge stranded Americans for evacuation from Lebanon?

    already posted deary
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Re: US Gov't to charge stranded Americans for evacuation from Lebanon?

    What? Damn...I just saw it on the front page of the news.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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