Freedom isn’t free after all.

A small blurb taken from the US Embassy’s Beirut Lebanon website to Americans stuck in Lebanon:

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 transporation [sic] arrangments [sic], 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.

Got that? We’ll spend billions of American taxpayer’s dollars to fight a war in Iraq under false pretenses, but if you’re stuck in Lebanon you can expect to receive a bill. But hey, at least we’re willing to give you a loan so you can afford to save your sorry hides!

45 thoughts on “Freedom isn’t free after all.

  1. Too bad the government warned people not to travel to Lebanon back on 2 May.

    Whatever your take on Iraq, citizens still have the obligation to take responsibility for their own lives. If you’re stupid enough to travel to a war zone for pleasure, sorry, you get to foot the bill home.

  2. Ryan: If you’re stupid enough to travel to a war zone for pleasure, sorry, you get to foot the bill home.

    My thoughts exactly.

    SMH: Mrs Hadchite could be left behind in Beirut while her husband and children sail to Turkey because her Australian passport expired three weeks ago. She does not have a Lebanese passport.

    Dumb bitch. She’s been living there for 9 months and now wants us to help her.
    Fuck ‘er.
    Hey, don’t get me wrong. I feel for the poor bastards who can’t get out because they’re Lebanese subjects but not at all for those with ‘dual-citizenship’.
    Have you heard of anything more stupid? Dual-citizenship.
    I think if you don’t want to give a country your Total loyalty, fuck off. grrr

  3. Ryan writes…

    Too bad the government warned people not to travel to Lebanon back on 2 May.

    It’s estimated there are 25,000 Americans in Lebanon. Are you seriously suggesting that none of them were their prior to May 2nd? You are familiar, I presume, with the American University of Beruit and the numerous Americans who work and/or study there? Have you even read the travel warning you linked to? It doesn’t tell people not to go to Lebanon, but to consider the potential risks and to be very cautious if they do.

    Whatever your take on Iraq, citizens still have the obligation to take responsibility for their own lives. If you’re stupid enough to travel to a war zone for pleasure, sorry, you get to foot the bill home.

    We’re not talking about Iraq, we’re talking about Lebanon which, until just recently, wasn’t an active war zone.

    I think it demonstrates some pretty fucked up priorities that we have no problems spending billions blowing the shit out of a country without good cause, but whine the moment we’re called upon to save some fellow Americans from events beyond their control.

  4. No, I’m not suggesting no one was there prior to May 2, but there are a great many that went after that date. All these sob stories on the Detroit news stations about so-and-so’s kids stuck in the fighting makes me sick. Those kids were in school when the advisory went out and the parents still let them go. That is some fucked up thinking.

    I did read the advisory and it was politic-speak for “you’re an idiot to go to this region right now”. I know we’ve become accustomed to the government spoon-feeding us how we’re supposed to behave, but wouldn’t you have maybe reconsidered traveling to Lebanon once you’d read that?

    It should be noted that none of this charge-back brouhaha has prevented anyone from getting out of the area. They are required (by law, I might add) to sign a promissory note, not write a check at the foot of the plane.

    I’m all for getting them out, but, as someone who religiously (irony intended) espouses personal responsibility, I can’t believe you’re ok with letting people who knowingly traveled to a dangerous region for pleasure get a free ride home just because they’re stupid.

  5. I did read the advisory and it was politic-speak for “you’re an idiot to go to this region right now

  6. A couple of things-

    First our country isn’t socialist and if people want the government to pay for everything, then they need to understand that is by definition- socialism.

    Second- There is always a list of travel warnings on the US State Department website.
    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html

    If people are stupid enough to travel to known unstable areas, screw ‘em. It isn’t like Lebanon has EVER been stable. That’s as retarded as going to Africa and then being shocked when you end up getting kidnapped or your throat slit by whatever rebels in the area. DUH.

    People, stick to places like Europe. Belgium is lovely I hear.

  7. GoodKitty: First our country isn’t socialist and if people want the government to pay for everything, then they need to understand that is by definition- socialism.

    Our country isn’t capitalist either, but yet we keep slipping in capitalist things here and there.

    It isn’t like Lebanon has EVER been stable.

    Huh, that’s odd, I don’t remember always seeing them on that list.

    But I guess every American that went there did it because of a stupid reason or because they are a moron right?  Yea that’s it, when our brethren are in need we tell them to go to hell, that’s the American way…

  8. I’m all for getting them out, but, as someone who religiously (irony intended) espouses personal responsibility, I can’t believe you’re ok with letting people who knowingly traveled to a dangerous region for pleasure get a free ride home just because they’re stupid.

    Your travesty of leader is personally encouraging and supporting (like always) this agression of Israel so why government then shouldn’t be obliged to get its citizens out from there if it’s very closely on background of events causing danger?

    First our country isn’t socialist and if people want the government to pay for everything, then they need to understand that is by definition- socialism.

    You’re right, your leaders are much closer to fascism… which makes sense when remembering heavy subsidizing of big corporations and their close connection to government.

  9. Webs:

    ?: It isn’t like Lebanon has EVER been stable.

    Huh, that’s odd, I don’t remember always seeing them on that list.

    For a long as I can remember, as beautiful as the place used to be … and it definitely used to be something similar to La Riviera, it’s been fucked since 1975.
    Anyone going to a place controlled by Hezzbollah, a ‘terrorist’ organisation,  and expecting peace, is a la-la-land Polyanna fuckwit.
    Say no more.  raspberry
    Last week, coupla days before the ‘explosion’, my mate took his wife’s best friend (Lebanese) to Sydney to sign documents transferring ownership of a block of dirt in Lebanon over to a Yank who already owned dirt there.
    We’re wondering if she’ll get paid.

  10. I didn’t say we are capitalist.  I said that when people want their government to pay for everything that it’s socialism.

    I maintain that Lebanon has been unstable for many, many years. Uh, PLO, civil war from 1975-81 just to name a few little things. (Thanks John)

    So yes, I think anyone who goes pretty much anywhere in the Middle East for a vacation is fucking stupid. Clearly if they were there in a military capacity or something, that would be different. But, the last time I checked- Lebanon wouldn’t be too hot on having US Marines stationed within its borders. I am guessing that the 25,000 American people who were there chose to be there of their own volition and weren’t there on orders. If that’s incorrect and we had 25,000 people there in some offical capacity, do let me know.

    Frankly, telling “our brethren” to go to hell is something Americans do best.
    If that were not true, there wouldn’t be working poor, emergency personnel would be paid much closer to what they deserve and people wouldn’t be left to starve to death after disasters.

    Saying the MORONS who put themselves in harm’s way should take responsibility for their idiotic choices isn’t telling them to go to hell. Your assertion implies that any idiot who has terrible judgment is entitled to a free bail out.
    I flat out disagree with that concept.

    Before traveling to any foreign country, one should be responsible and assess the risks before buying their plane ticket. Especially Americans. There are an awful lot of people who hate Americans and this is not news.

    Bad things happen to lovely people, which is tragic. But when bad things happen to people because they do the equivalent of walking onto a highway blindfolded, no one should be surprised when they get squashed under a bus.

  11. I didn’t say we are capitalist.  I said that when people want their government to pay for everything that it’s socialism.

    No one in here mentioned anything about paying for everything.  We simply want our government to pay for getting our OWN AMERICANS out of harms way.

    And your assertion implies that everyone that went there did so with no other motivation than to take a vacation.  Really you seriously believe that?  You do not think it is at all possible that some of these people had family emergencies to attend to or some other issue most people would deem important enough for going to Lebanon?  But lets just assume that there were 100 people out of the 25,000 that had a reason we would deem necessary to going over there.  Are you proposing we only pay for the 100 and not the remaining 24,900?

  12. I am saying that the majority of the 25,000 Americans that were in Lebanon were there because they clearly lack good judgement.
    And, to recap, the government doesn’t owe them a gd thing. That’s what Visa and American Express are for. Clearly, if they can afford to live there, they can cough up for the way back.

    I am proposing the the US government pay for no one.

    That should clear things up.

  13. Yeah, we wouldn’t want our tax dollars to go towards actually helping someone. That’s unAmerican! If it’s not being used to destroy something then it’s not being used properly.

  14. Yeah, we wouldn’t want our tax dollars to go towards actually helping someone. That’s unAmerican! If it’s not being used to destroy something then it’s not being used properly.

    Spoken like a true American rolleyes

  15. I don’t support the Iraq war or Bush. I haven’t said anything about any of that being right in any way, shape or form.

    As far as helping people, I’m all for helping people who deserve to be helped. I disagree that stupid falls in the category of deserving.

    I would rather pay fireman and EMTs more before writing a check to some fuckwit who didn’t bother to scope out the State Department’s travel warning list before going somewhere dangerous.

    Nowhere in the the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights does it guarantee that the US government will bail your dumb ass out if you choose unwisely to travel to an unstable and dangerous country.

    I love the insinuation that disagreeing with an apparent majority is un-American. Not that I’m surprised.

    Oh, and by the way, I noticed on the news today that a bunch of the evacuees were on a cruise to Beirut. Who the hell in their right mind goes on a cruise to Beirut??? Maybe you think the time is ripe for a safari in the Congo?

  16. Okay, so when we’re past saying that the people in Lebanon now are stupid (you can point fingers at Maddox for visiting Thailand during the whole SARS fiasco), lets pause to remember something. If they are trapped – actually trapped, and can’t get out, then yeah, get them back. Sure, they can pay for it. Give them a bill.

    Y’know why? Because without the government’s intervention, they wouldn’t have anything. That the government can and does get involved in situations where you’re powerless, for your own welfare, is good enough. I imagine the cost of a flight is nothing that the average person flying to Lebanon in the first place can’t work out.

    GoodKitty, I think, has it right. It’s the government’s place to allow you to be stupid, and to get your ass wrecked if you are. I don’t consider being trapped in Lebanon reason enough to have the government pay for you, but they CAN get you out of there.

    To some extent, the same holds true in America for emergency services, and the police as well. Really, the issue is what parts of the bill would belong on your dime, and what parts of it belong on the government dime. Let’s step outside the flight on a private airliner for a sec. I mean, should funding for a US military escort be provided?

    But then, if we want to go all the way as you do, GoodKitty, and I must disagree, stupid != unworthy of help. If we really wanted that, we wouldn’t even intervene. We’d let people die. There also wouldn’t be ambulance service for a goodly number of car accidents – hell, we can remove the police in their entirety. If it’s dangerous outside, just don’t go out.

    There is a line out there that ensures a certain degree of welfare for all American citizens. That’s a safety net, and essentially speaking, a socialist tool. Taking the notion of self-responsibility too far returns it to a free-for-all, but especially, incurs a loss of efficiency. Socialism has a place in a capitalist society, too.

  17. I would rather pay fireman and EMTs more before writing a check to some fuckwit who didn’t bother to scope out the State Department’s travel warning list before going somewhere dangerous.

    Does anybody know for a fact how many U.S. citizens in Lebanon are tourists and business travellers, as opposed to residents of some sort?

  18. Y’all started me on a rant. Linking here since trackbacks are still apparently off (damn spammers)!

    Gist is:
    Those that knew the risks of being in Lebanon were aware of the potential cost of evacuation.

    For those who didn’t, the cost of evacuation is a small price to pay.

    I don’t mind the gov’t being the travel agent, but if you think folks shouldn’t foot the bill, take up a collection and reimburse them. Seriously. Start a charity or something.

  19. Well said Ravingsane. I agree. Dubya knew when he ran for President the security risks involved of him as a target.  All right thinking American taxpayers should demand that they stop being forced to subsidise the protection for a millionaire.

  20. I have to admit I’m surprised I’m in the minority on this one, but that happens from time to time.

  21. Dubya knew when he ran for President the security risks involved of him as a target.  All right thinking American taxpayers should demand that they stop being forced to subsidise the protection for a millionaire.

    Can you say non sequitur?

  22. Those that knew the risks of being in Lebanon were aware of the potential cost of evacuation.

    For those who didn’t, the cost of evacuation is a small price to pay.

    I don’t see anybody answering my question about how the numbers of U.S. citizens in Lebanon break down between tourists, business travellers, and residents. I’ll add another question – how long the residents have been there.

    The U.S. has an obligation of sorts to evacuate its citizens out of a hot zone. I don’t have a problem with the original promissory notes, but what I do have a problem with is blaming Dubya or making unqualified assumptions about the reasons for American citizens being in Lebanon in the first place.

  23. I can Consi. I even know what it means. Do you? Dubya has knowingly put himself in a dangerous position.  Why are you subsidising his protection?

    Or San Francisco.  Geologist have been saying for years that the next quake is overdue, and going to going to make the last look small.  Residents are knowingly living in a highly dangerous area, yet they are choosing to ignore the warnings.  On geologist interviewed on the BBC expressed his frustration at the fact that SF seems to ignore the warnings, and the fact that he is considered somehow negative for pointing out that a densely populated city has been built on a fault that is a) known to be active and b) now overdue for a major ‘quake- the longer it takes the bigger it is.

    So WHEN it happens, are you going to say ‘no federal aid in any form- they knew it would happen’?

  24. Anyone saying that the Americans in Lebanon are only there because they are stupid tourists and not employees of US multinational corporations, long term students, etc. is a fucking asshole. The number of people needing to be evacuated because they are ‘too stupid to check travel warnings’ could probably be counted on one hand. Since many of these people are involved in business, does that not mean that we should throw lots of money at them because socialism for corporations is priority #1 in the US!?

  25. Wow, Oy. I’m so impressed by your intellectual and debating ability. Likewise your reading comprehension skills.

    Uh- no one said every single American there is a stupid tourist. I haven’t been able to locate a breakdown by number or percentage.

    Clearly, some of the people living there are not tourists. The point still is that the evacuees are not indigent. Typically, living abroad and being poor are mutally exclusive.

    The other point is that if someone lives in an unstable area, they should have an exit plan, which should include a budget for say, air travel.

    And yes, I do still think it’s stupid to travel to or live in a country that has known terrorists included in the government and then be shocked when the shit hits the fan.

    Two of my best friends growing up were Lebanese. You know why they came here? No danger of being shot or blown up by militants.
    It’s a no-brainer.

  26. Yea and your debating skills are sooooo much better huh:

    GoodKitty From Above: I am saying that the majority of the 25,000 Americans that were in Lebanon were there because they clearly lack good judgement.
    And, to recap, the government doesn’t owe them a gd thing. That’s what Visa and American Express are for. Clearly, if they can afford to live there, they can cough up for the way back.

    GoodKitty From Farther Above: I am guessing that the 25,000 American people who were there chose to be there of their own volition and weren’t there on orders. If that’s incorrect and we had 25,000 people there in some offical capacity, do let me know.

    Funny how your position changes as you get challenged, and now suddenly you say:

    Uh- no one said every single American there is a stupid tourist. I haven’t been able to locate a breakdown by number or percentage.

    Are these the great debate skills your are referring to.  And by the way, anyone against helping these people out, I haven’t seen a single one of you reply with any numbers or percentages.  All you have given us is, “I think” and “I presume”.  That is good debating.  Try answering a fuckin question.

    Two of my best friends growing up were Lebanese. You know why they came here? No danger of being shot or blown up by militants.
    It’s a no-brainer.

    HOLY SHIT!! I had no idea it was that simple.  Great idea.  HEY EVERYONE IN Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Almost every African nation, Most middle and Southern American countries, North Korea, and South Korea, get the fuck out because you might get blown up.  Geez what a simple solution.

  27. Ok, small sentences-
    This hasn’t changed one whit all day.

    1) The US government should not pay for the evacuation in Lebanon.

    2) Some of the 25,000 American evacuees are tourists, which in my opinion, makes them idiots.(The key word here is “some”)

    3) I said that the majority of the people who chose of their own volition to be in Lebanon lack good judgment. (The key word here is “majority”)

    Things I have NOT said-

    Let’s spend money on blowing things up.

    Screw ‘em just leave them all there to rot. (When I wrote “Screw ‘em” in the original post I was referring to paying their bills for crying out loud.)

    The government has no place in anyone’s life for any reason.

    -end list of what I did not say-

    I did not and do not use the word “presume”.

    I have done some research today to try and find percentages, but I do have a life. If you have a problem with the fact that I can’t find the specific facts according to your timeline, too bad. If you are that intent on knowing the answer to that particular numbers/proportion question, I have a simple solution: find it yourself.

    Some solutions are very simple. Yet some find that reality hard to grasp.
    Should Americans avoid going to unstable and dangerous places if they want to avoid things like being rescued by US Marines?
    I would say the logic scale tips toward “yes”.

  28. You were the one saying we on the other side do not know how to debate.  It is not up to us to find the numbers, but up to you.  You are the one saying the majority are stupid idiots. 

    And I showed you exactly what you typed throughout the day.  You have changed what you have stated and have moved your stance from everyone, to many, to some.  So do not say that other people here do not know how to debate, that is petty.

  29. You were the one saying we on the other side do not know how to debate.

    I was not refering to you, Webs. But maybe now I will since you resorted to bullying. (see below)

    Try answering a fuckin question.

    If someone is going to insinuate that I am “a fucking asshole” because I have an opinion that differs from theirs, to me, that demonstrates a lack of intelligence, among other things.

    Anyone saying that the Americans in Lebanon are only there because they are stupid tourists and not employees of US multinational corporations, long term students, etc. is a fucking asshole. The number of people needing to be evacuated because they are ‘too stupid to check travel warnings’ could probably be counted on one hand.

    It certainly sounded like it was directed at me.

    elwedriddsche said

    Does anybody know for a fact how many U.S. citizens in Lebanon are tourists and business travellers, as opposed to residents of some sort?

    This was not a question to me, but to anyone. So what is the question I’m not answering? And why is it imperative that I follow your random timeline?

    Are you an evacuee and therefore taking offense?

    You are the one saying the majority are stupid idiots.

    Yes, I did say and maintain that the majority of the EVACUEES are stupid for being in a dangerous place.

    And I showed you exactly what you typed throughout the day.  You have changed what you have stated and have moved your stance from everyone, to many, to some.  So do not say that other people here do not know how to debate, that is petty.

    This is utter nonsense. My position is the same. I am willing to be reasonable and consider all facts presented to me which is why I said:

    I am guessing that the 25,000 American people who were there chose to be there of their own volition and weren’t there on orders. If that’s incorrect and we had 25,000 people there in some offical capacity, do let me know.

    I think trying to force someone to change their opinion by calling them names and bullying them is ridiculous and shows a lack of intelligence.

    Your logic is extremely flawed. Nowhere did my position change and you didn’t show that it did with the quotes. All you did was get pissed off about my comment and have a snit. And you did so rudely and without anything valuable in the content. And then you did it again.

    I hope in the future we can have an intelligent discussion in a different thread.

  30. Last_Hussar: Well said Ravingsane. I agree. Dubya knew when he ran for President the security risks involved of him as a target.  All right thinking American taxpayers should demand that they stop being forced to subsidise the protection for a millionaire.

    Last_Hussar: False analogy. In the US, there is a contract (supported by codified laws and regulations) between the government and candidates for president and vice president whereby the government pays to protect at its cost those individuals from the time they declare their candidacy until they either fail to hold one of those offices or, in the case of the winners, until death. In exchange for that best effort at protection, they agree to assume the remaining attendant risks.

    arc_legion’s line of argument (keep reading, I’m about to agree) seems to be that there is an implied contract between the government and ordinary citizens to at least arrange the means to get out of a pickle such as the one currently facing ~23000 Americans (~2000 out so far) in Lebanon. I agree. arc_legion and I also seem to agree that the contract does not necessarily include that this should happen at the government’s cost. This seems to be what elwedriddsche means by “obligation of sorts,” since elwedriddsche also “[does not] have a problem with the original promissory notes”.

    elwedriddsche: Does anybody know for a fact how many U.S. citizens in Lebanon are tourists and business travellers, as opposed to residents of some sort?

    elwedriddsche: I wish I did know, but I don’t. I assert that persons in Lebanon for business, at the behest of a corporation or other company, would be right to expect the corporation or company to pay any promissory note associated with an evacuation or to independently arrange transportation out. (Right, Oy_Gevalt? smile )

    Les (way above): You are familiar, I presume, with the American University of Beruit and the numerous Americans who work and/or study there?

    Les: I think that the American University of Beirut should require that an evacuation bond be posted on behalf of each US Citizen attending. And it should post a similar bond for each US Citizen they employ. I’m sure the majority of such student bonds (posted at, say, 10% of the average evacuation promissory note) would be able to be guaranteed by public and private grant, loan, and scholarship programs. Since that ostensibly was not pre-arranged, I certainly think student loans (with really good interest rates, better than those on the promissory notes) should be available to those students with no other means to cover their evacuation. But I’d rather see those organizations with an interest in having Americans study in Lebanon put up grants to defray the costs. (Unless of course those bonds do exist, in which case the student issue is moot.)

    Last_Hussar: So WHEN it [a massive SF quake] happens, are you going to say ‘no federal aid in any form – they knew it would happen’?

    Hussar: Apples and oranges. Elective foreign travel vs. domestic natural disaster. However, I don’t advocate rebuilding the parts of New Orleans that are below sea level, and I would not advocate rebuilding the parts of San Francisco directly on the fault. I support federal relocation aid, to a limited extent and for a limited time. Beyond that, I believe that charities are far, far better at administering aid than is the federal government. The parallel here is that, as I mentioned previously, I don’t mind the US government acting as the travel agency, lining up charter flights and ships (limited extent of aid), but individuals being evacuated must be prepared to foot the bill. (I guess it boils down to a very steep user fee.) Or, some charities may step in to do so. The government cares little how each promissory note gets paid – you’re welcome to pay on them yourself.

    I’m quite serious in my suggestion that one could start a non-profit or enlist an already-existing one to help pay promissory notes. Perhaps the Council of Lebanese American Organizations or the Lebanese American Association would be a good place to start a fundraising effort. I suspect (but cannot verify, alas) that the union of the sets of businesspersons, students, and Lebanese Americans would include most US Citizens in Lebanon. Tourists, aware of the risks, hopefully purchased very good trip cancellation insurance with a Middle East instability rider, or at least made peace with the possibility of paying for an escape from their escape. And tourists unaware of the risks, will simply pay the bill themselves in time.

    Webs: And by the way, anyone against helping these people out, I haven’t seen a single one of you reply with any numbers or percentages.  All you have given us is, “I think

  31. I was not refering to you, Webs. But maybe now I will since you resorted to bullying. (see below)

    I apologize if me debating your false assertions is a sore spot to you.  I wouldn’t necessarily call it bullying.

    Yes, I did say and maintain that the majority of the EVACUEES are stupid for being in a dangerous place.

    This is why it is up to you to answer the question.  Because you and people believing the same thing you do, are the ones saying the majority are stupid.  Not us.  If you come in with a belief that is counter to someone else’s in a debate, the burden is one you to prove them wrong.  I think that is how a debate works, but I was never on a debate team so I could be wrong .  This is supposition because you fail to give any reference, and therefore limits the legitimacy of your argument.  Something I and others have been trying to get you to realize the whole time.

    Your logic is extremely flawed. Nowhere did my position change and you didn’t show that it did with the quotes. All you did was get pissed off about my comment and have a snit. And you did so rudely and without anything valuable in the content. And then you did it again.

    Actually I am just trying to show your fallacy in your way of thinking that is all.  Please do explain how my logic is flawed since we can go back and look at what was typed.

    I hope in the future we can have an intelligent discussion in a different thread.

    I hope so too, since I apparently piss people off by pointing things out.

    For the record, I can envision one logically consistent position in support of the US paying all the evacuation costs of citizens in Lebanon today, namely: in the interest of reducing US involvement in the region as a whole as a matter of policy, the US could set a “we evacuate you until

  32. Wow.

    This really isn’t the thread I expected to see this kind of fighting in. Huh.

    My first thought on this was on the “screw em” side of the debate. After taking time to think about it, I realized that this had more to do with personal shit than reality. I can’t afford to take a vacation with my wife here in the states. I can only dream at this point of being able to afford to travel abroad.

    However, as has been pointed out, not everyone over there is a tourist. So I guess my thoughts are more middle of the road. I think those in an income bracket that can afford the travel expenses should be footing their own bill. Likewise, those working for corporations should be travelling on the companies dime. But those that can’t afford the ticket should be brought home gratis, it’s a stressful enough situation without throwing a debt that they can’t pay on top of it.

  33. If you come in with a belief that is counter to someone else’s in a debate, the burden is one you to prove them wrong.

    That is inaccurate.  I believe many people on the left think that way.  If your belief is different than mine, well then, you have the burden.  However, who has the burden in a given debate is situation specific.  In this situation, at the onset, those who took issue with the promissory note policy had the burden, because they were taking issue with the status quo.  They have apprently obtained that change, although I haven’t checked Les’s link to confirm that.

    Because you and people believing the same thing you do, are the ones saying the majority are stupid.

    I’m fairly certain that elwed, myself, KPG and ravingsane have not said anything about anybody being stupid.  In fact, elwed said:

    The U.S. has an obligation of sorts to evacuate its citizens out of a hot zone. I don’t have a problem with the original promissory notes, but what I do have a problem with is blaming Dubya or making unqualified assumptions about the reasons for American citizens being in Lebanon in the first place

    I think everybody is in agreement that there is an obligation to evacuate American citizens. There has been a whole host of unrelated material brought into this thread and some confusion about what the issue is. 

    To clarify, the issue up for discussion was not: the grounds for the Iraq invasion, the cost of the Iraq war, Secret Service protection for the American President, who is the better debater, who has Lebanese friends, or how much tea there is in China.  The issue up for discussion was the propriety of an unsubsidized evacuation of American citizens from Lebanon.

  34.   Because you and people believing the same thing you do, are the ones saying the majority are stupid.

    I’m fairly certain that elwed, myself, KPG and ravingsane have not said anything about anybody being stupid.  In fact, elwed said:

    Thanks Consi for taking my quote out of context and confusing what I was saying.  Below I will rewrite that statement in full to show what I was actually saying.
    This is why it is up to you to answer the question.  Because you, and people believing the same thing you do, are the ones saying the majority of the Americans in Lebanonare stupid, not us.  If you come in with a belief that is counter to someone else’s in a debate, the burden is one you to prove them wrong.

    That is what I was trying to get across.  And the burden is on them because Les’ post is contrary to their opinion which started this whole debate.  If I write a post stating the sky is not blue, it is in fact yellow, after I state my reasons, it is up to others to point out why the sky is blue and give facts on their conclusions not supposition.  And if they say the sky is blue, they need to back it up with more than assertion.

    In this case, the contrary opinion is that the majority of the people in Lebanon are idiots that are vacationing or their for no good reason such as school, work, etc…  Therefore, since their opinion is contrary, they are forced to answer the question of what are the percentages/numbers.  It is not up to Les or myself to look up those numbers.

  35. If you come in with a belief that is counter to someone else’s in a debate, the burden is one you to prove them wrong.

    All that ends up being, unfortunately, is a “first across the line” problem. As Consi stated, the problem becomes situational, but more to the point, the deciding situation (precedent) would not have any relevance for or against the correctness of either argument. Just ‘cause I call an orange a cat before you get on the scene does not make me right.

    And Consi… come on, when life hands you thread drift, make thread drift tea… or something. smile

  36. I’d like to address something Webs said…

    If you come in with a belief that is counter to someone else’s in a debate, the burden is one you to prove them wrong.

    I was taught that in a debate the person making a positive claim (e.g. there is a god, the President is an alien from the planet Weebo, etc.) has the burden of proof. When GoodKitty said:

    “Some of the 25,000 American evacuees are tourists, which in my opinion, makes them idiots.”

    She was stating both a fact (some of them are tourists), which is almost certainly true, and an opinion (they’re idiots for vacationing there). There’s nothing inherently wrong with that statement. In fact I would tend to agree that anyone who picked Lebanon as a tourist destination who didn’t have family or ties to the region is not showing the best of judgment. In other words, I’d be an idiot for deciding to vacation there, but my Lebanese neighbor who has family still in the region? Not so much in my mind.

    I find GoodKitty’s screw’em approach to be a bit callous, but then that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the wrong approach to take. It’s merely my opinion of it and I’m sure I hold plenty of opinions that many other people find equally as callous so I can’t really fault her for that. For example I think it’s pretty stupid to be rebuilding New Orleans without at least trying to raise the damn city above sea level first, but that hasn’t stopped us from dumping money into that reconstruction effort. My curt reply to GoodKitty earlier was uncalled for as I was letting my frustration with the whole situation get to me. Having had more time to think about it I find my position softening somewhat.

    I have to admit that RavingSane has made some good points in his comment and, for all I know, it’s quite possible many of those things have already been addressed by companies and/or school administrators in that region.

  37. Since we’re getting hung up on the rules of debating:

    GK: I am saying that the majority of the 25,000 Americans that were in Lebanon were there because they clearly lack good judgement.

    That’s a positive claim. Prove it.

    Why were the majority of Americans in Lebanon in the first place? What’s your factual source for this statement? Until such time as you’ve established the numbers, it’s premature to even consider a potential lapse of good judgement.

    And no, “look it up yourself” is not an acceptable answer.

    By the way, Germany had a couple thousand citizens in Lebanon and airlifted about 600 of them yesterday. Half of the passengers were reported to be children, most of them newborns and young babies.

    And, to recap, the government doesn’t owe them a gd thing.

    Actually, the government owes its citizens an honest attempt to evacuate them from a danger zone, whether said citizens had a good reason to there or not.

    (As an aside, the German military has a recent addition in the form of a highly trained commando unit specializing in getting German citizens out of tight spots, precipitated by the embarrassment of having to ask Italian troops to help evacuate German journalists out of some African nation a couple of years ago.)

    If the government can or should ask for reimbursement of the evacuation cost is not nearly as straightforward as you think. This isn’t the first time for U.S. citizens to be evacuated, which raises the question of precedent. Did the government foot the bill in the past? Is there a formal policy in place?

    The public opinion has settled the question of the propriety of a subsidy. There are other questions of propriety, though, and that’s the question of form. Should the U.S. evacuate Americans first and settle any issues of subsidy later? Will asking for payment or promissory notes up front delay any evacuation and expose Americans to greater risks? For that matter, what’s the public image resulting from a government that has the bureaucracy in place to receive payment in cash or by promissory notes for an evacuation off a warzone in place? To me, it says that either it’s not much of an evacuation or that the government doesn’t have its priorities straight.

  38. elwedriddsche: For that matter, what’s the public image resulting from a government that has the bureaucracy in place to receive payment in cash or by promissory notes for an evacuation off a warzone in place? To me, it says that either it’s not much of an evacuation or that the government doesn’t have its priorities straight.

    I’m torn. Because to my cynical side it says that Americans by and large misuse their freedom, and they require evacuation from war zones so often that our government has evolved the bureaucracy to accommodate compensated evacuations.

    But to my optimistic side, it says that Americans are so generous that they are frequently willing to go into war zones and potential war zones to help those who cannot leave, assisting either through humanitarian means or by economic means (e.g. the businesspeople). As a result, our government has evolved the bureaucracy to accommodate compensated evacuations. Semi-cynical twist: this makes sense because the helping hands make the government look good, but evacuations reduce the risk of entanglements through abductions and killings.

    Ah, a new point becomes evident. I belive that humanitarian organizations should cover the evacuations of their aid workers. But you probably guessed that by now.

  39. our government has evolved the bureaucracy to accommodate compensated evacuations

    Have they? I do not know how the pecuniary aspects of previous evactions were handled.

    Citizens abrogate rights to the state in exchange for services rendered, including the safeguarding of their physical safety. There are obvious problems and limitations with regards to citizens travelling ro residing abroad, but the principle still holds. Arguably, citizens have already paid their ticket out – it’s called taxes.

    I have no opinion about the propriety of the citizens subsidizing their own evacuation, but I do have an opinion about priorities and principles. It is either important to get Americans to safety, in which case you evacuate first and ask for money later (if at all), or it isn’t, in which case you leave the evacuation to the citizens themselves. The Katrina Model, if you wish.

  40. Elwed: I forgot to post that I finally had the Duh! moment…

    If you don’t get them to sign the promissory note, you can’t ask for the money later. It’s too late. But if you do have them sign a note up front, it’s easy to tear up the promissory note in the future. Having a signed note simply allows the government to delay until after the evacuation the decision as to who pays. That is, you evacuate first and decide later whether to ask for the money, which as you have suggested would indicate that getting Americans to safety is important.

  41. If you don’t get them to sign the promissory note, you can’t ask for the money later.

    Nope. I’m pretty sure that e.g. a moutaineer that falls down a cliff and needs a medevac by chopper will be liable for the cost of rescue, with no papers needed to be signed up front.

  42. Double-dipping…

    You conflate the state’s entitlement to receive full or partial reimbursement for the rescue effort, if any, with the enforcement of the former.

    Whether or not the state is entitled to such reimbursement is simply a matter or laws and/or policies. If applicable, the enforcement is moot if money changes hands up front and a lot easier if promissory notes are signed before the fact, but that’s all.

    Regardless, the PR angle of the U.S. asking its citizens to buy their way out of a war zone didn’t play out too well.

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