View Poll Results: Do you think U.S. citizens should reimburse the government for evacuation?

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  • Yes

    13 68.42%
  • No

    5 26.32%
  • Maybe

    1 5.26%
  • I don't know

    0 0%
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  1. #1
    Joined
    Oct 2003
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    8,887

    "Evacuation fees"

    I think they're ••••••••. We already pay the federal government how much to "protect the citizens"? Breaking news on CNN says that they're going to be waived, but come on. Why is there such a law in the first place?

    Americans irked by fee to flee Lebanon
    Law says State Department must be reimbursed for evacuations

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006; Posted: 6:32 p.m. EDT (22:32 GMT)

    BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Americans stranded in Lebanon are miffed -- not only at what they see as the slow pace at which the State Department is evacuating them from Lebanon but also that they're having to pay for the ride.

    As of dusk Tuesday, the State Department had helped about 350 Americans flee the country. Others had found their own way out, so it was difficult to determine how many of the estimated 25,000 Americans there remained, said Maura Harty, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs.

    Monday, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the government would charge evacuees commercial rates to take them out by plane or boat.

    "It's not an excessive rate. It's a rate that they might pay for a regular airline flight out or a ship leaving Beirut," McCormack told MSNBC.

    Harty said she understood people were irked by having to pay for their evacuations to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, about 100 miles northwest, but that a 1956 law requires that the State Department be reimbursed. Those who can't afford it can sign a promissory note and pay later, she said.

    "No U.S. citizen will not be boarded because they left their checkbook or credit card at home," Harty said. "I need to get people out of harm's way first, and that's what we're going to do."

    The State Department has arranged for six CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, which collectively can ferry about 300 passengers a day, and two commercial cruise ships, which can carry about 2,200 total passengers, to help in the evacuation effort. (Watch American children in helmets flee Beirut -- 2:19)

    The helicopters are reserved primarily for medical emergencies and were used Tuesday to airlift about 60 of the most vulnerable people from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, the embassy said.

    The cruise ships, one of which already was docked in Beirut on Tuesday night, will depart for Cyprus on Wednesday, Harty said. The State Department has said the U.S. military will escort the ships.

    However, the idea that Americans would have to pay to board one of the ships is drawing the ire of stranded Americans and their politicians and families back home.

    Atlanta resident Maya Nessouli, whose mother, brother and sisters are in Beirut, wrote CNN and said she is disgusted by the government's policy.

    "The government wants $3,000 per person for the helicopter to Cyprus and you're not allowed to take any of your stuff with you. Once they get to Cyprus, they'll have to pay an exorbitant amount to find flights out," Nessouli wrote.

    Nessouli called CNN later to say that her family had rented a car for $1,500 and drove all night through Syria to Jordan, where they're now trying to find a flight back to the United States.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Washington has an obligation to evacuate citizens without "quibbling over payment."

    "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," the California Democrat said in a statement. "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."

    Another Democrat, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said she is introducing legislation authorizing the secretary of state to waive the fees if it would create a financial hardship or if the evacuee "would be unable to recoup the cost of or reuse a previously purchased airline ticket."

    "We must not abandon American citizens in a war zone," she said. "Our government should be focusing on the fastest, safest way to get Americans home, not how much to bill them once they get there."
    Stuck in Lebanon

    Several of the Americans in Lebanon have written e-mails to CNN, expressing their frustration with the evacuation process.

    "We are desperately trying to evacuate and have become more and more disappointed and angry with the way the evacuation is being handled," said Lina Fleihan, of Greensboro, North Carolina. "We hear more about what's going on from CNN than we do from the U.S. government and the American Embassy here."

    Natalie Kerlakian of Denver, Colorado, wrote that she has not heard from the embassy in a week.

    "I hope this response will be better than that of Katrina," she wrote, referring to the heavily criticized government response to the hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast in August.

    Susan Omar, of Clifton, New Jersey, wrote that she has family stuck in the southern Lebanese city of Maryajoun, and her phone calls to various governments' offices have been fruitless.

    "We have begged and pleaded with anyone and everyone, but our kids still don't have water, food or medicine," she wrote. "The media is telling everyone that those with medical necessity have already been evacuated. I guess that only means those lucky enough to be near Beirut!"

    Kellee Khalil of Los Angeles, California, wrote that she was trapped in Lebanon while vacationing with her father, who has diabetes and a heart condition.

    "The embassy has not put him on a priority list," he wrote. "It has been several days of airstrikes and the United States seems to care little about the 25,000 Americans that are trapped here."

    However, the U.S. State Department has warned Americans against traveling in Lebanon for the past several years. The Web site for the U.S. Embassy in Beirut reminds travelers "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."

    The embassy issued a statement Tuesday saying that Americans were being contacted about departing Lebanon via sea and air. The statement added that Americans should not move until contacted by the embassy staff.

    "Those who wish to leave should ready themselves immediately," it said.

    The U.S. military does not charge for evacuations. Nor do the governments of France, Ireland, Britain and Italy, which already have ferried hundreds of their citizens out of Lebanon.
    Help on the way

    In addition to the warships and helicopters, nine U.S. Navy ships have arrived in Lebanon to help with the evacuations, as well as ships from the Spain, Italy and Britain, said Brig. Gen. Mike Barbero. The Pentagon said Tuesday that the destroyer USS Gonzales will escort one of the cruise ships.

    "These operations are taking place in a war zone," Barbero said. "They involve passage through a strict blockade and are limited by the capacity of the ports and the degraded infrastructure in Lebanon."

    Many Americans were already aboard one of the cruise ships Tuesday, said Nicholas Burns, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs.

    Video footage from the U.S. Defense Department also showed women and children boarding a military helicopter on what appeared to be a building's rooftop.

    More than 100 Europeans and Americans joined at least 800 French citizens on one of the few vessels to arrive in Lebanon to carry evacuees to Cyprus. From there, people were flying to their home countries.

    The ferry docked Tuesday in the Cypriot port of Larnaca and is to return to Beirut on Wednesday and again later in the week to evacuate others if the French military deems it safe, the French Foreign Ministry said.

    Burns called the evacuation effort well-conceived and methodical.

    "People go out when they want to go out," he said. "We have an open line to all American citizens. We're in touch with them by Web site. Those Americans who wish to leave will obviously go out. Those who are in critical need of leaving over the weekend have left through the air bridge."

    CNN's Elise Labott, Andrea Koppel, Larry Shaughnessy, Deirdre Walsh and Jamie McIntyre contributed to this report.

    Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  2. #2
    Joined
    Aug 2003
    Location
    West Richland, WA
    Posts
    6,397

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    If you travel to one of the world's "hot spots", yes you should reimburse the government for saving you. Why should I pay for that? I would also extend this to people who get in trouble climbing mountain peaks. They are forcing people to risk their lives in both cases to save them.

    If it was me, I would pay and be thankful.
    Brian

  3. #3
    Joined
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    74,682

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    Just saw this blurb at CNN. Lets see how it works out.


    Evacuation fees for Americans being helped to leave Lebanon will be waived, aides to two Republican senators tell CNN.

    Whoopps you saw that as well.
    Last edited by jimzinsocal; 07-18-2006 at 08:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Joined
    Jun 2004
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    In a house
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    5,755

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    Was it FREE to travel there? NO

    They would pay to leave lebanon anyway.I dont recall the government as being a free travel service unless you are in the military and even then its not free all the time either.

  5. #5
    Joined
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Plainfield, IL
    Posts
    5,177

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    Shit, they should charge the idiots MORE. They'll pay to get out of a warzone. Roll the profit into the debt, or even a tax rebate.

  6. #6
    Joined
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    74,682

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    Well Rice waived the fees so its not an issue for the folks there now.
    But Ill have to find the 1956 Law that surrounds this. Im interested in the logic.

  7. #7
    Joined
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    74,682

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    Also? Its important to realize the folks stuck there arent all tourists. The great majority of the folks that will get a free ride are dual citizens

  8. #8
    Joined
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Age
    36
    Posts
    12,856

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    Quote Originally Posted by jimzinsocal
    Also? Its important to realize the folks stuck there arent all tourists. The great majority of the folks that will get a free ride are dual citizens
    Even more of a reason for them to pay their way back.

  9. #9
    Joined
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    74,682

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    ^^"Gasp" a hardnosed Democrat!!

  10. #10
    Joined
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Kern River Valley, CA
    Age
    71
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    21,608

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    From what I’ve seen on the tube it appears to me most of these people are primarily Lebanese citizens and secondarily US citizens. Kind of an emergency security blanket if you will.

    But what the hell I’m feeling generous with my tax dollars today and I say not only pay their travel ticket but give them a couple of years free rent at their favorite Holiday Inn or Hilton. Might as well kick-in a couple of thousand a month for beer money and dinner at Hooters.

  11. #11
    Joined
    Mar 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    395

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    You know, when I first heard this I was like WTF? Why would the government charge people for this. Then I got to thinking.....

    1: The people knew how volatile the area was before going there, something like this could happen at any time.

    2: There now complaining that they are not being evacuated fast enough

    Now the dumb a@##es can pay to get out, I sometimes feel people in this country have become such a bunch of P#$$#ies, NO ONE will take responsibility for thier own lives

    SGT_Bilko
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  12. #12
    Joined
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    1,235

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    If you refuse to leave a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation on your own while you can and someone else needs to come bail you out, then YES you should be paying a 'fee' for that.

  13. #13
    Joined
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    In a house
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    5,755

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekari
    If you refuse to leave a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation on your own while you can and someone else needs to come bail you out, then YES you should be paying a 'fee' for that.
    Hot damn we agree on something

  14. #14
    Joined
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    8,887

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    So let me get this straight.

    Every U.S. citizen pays the local, state, and federal governments every year a certain amount of money. This money provides for all sorts of programs that are, ostensibly, designed for the country. Much of the federal government's money goes toward the Department of Defense, the military. The very same forces designed to protect the country, a country of/by/for the people. Now you are saying that the government has the right to charge an additional fee on top of everything we pay in taxes for doing its job. Shall firemen charge fees to those whom they rescue from burning buildings? Or the Coast Guard extort money from the people they rescue at sea? After all, they placed themselves in a dangerous situation by being the water.

    Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

  15. #15
    Joined
    Aug 2003
    Location
    West Richland, WA
    Posts
    6,397

    Re: "Evacuation fees"

    Quote Originally Posted by Orangutan
    So let me get this straight.

    Every U.S. citizen pays the local, state, and federal governments every year a certain amount of money. This money provides for all sorts of programs that are, ostensibly, designed for the country. Much of the federal government's money goes toward the Department of Defense, the military. The very same forces designed to protect the country, a country of/by/for the people. Now you are saying that the government has the right to charge an additional fee on top of everything we pay in taxes for doing its job. Shall firemen charge fees to those whom they rescue from burning buildings? Or the Coast Guard extort money from the people they rescue at sea? After all, they placed themselves in a dangerous situation by being the water.

    If you go out in a small boat while there are small craft advisories out, yes. If you run into a burning building, yes. We commonly pay extra fees for all kinds of things, fishing, camping, etc.

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