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Planning? — Why Now?
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So what did the Shrubbery learn from the failure that was the evacuation of the New Orleans Convention Center?

Apparently nothing: In the USA Today article, Slow U.S. evacuation plans leave thousands stranded, we learn that an American embassy in a country in which there had been evacuations before, had no plan to deal with the problem.

The Detroit News article, Lebanon rescue plan: Cruise ship, informs us that they decided to rely on a cruise ship that could carry 750 to start ferrying people to Cyprus, but they don’t know when that will happen: “Americans have been told to wait for a phone call and that they can’t board the ship unless they’ve signed a contract agreeing to pay the U.S. government back for the price of their evacuation.”

This is dependent on a working telephone system, which is not a given in a country that is being bombed, and the ability to find somewhere safe to wait. It has been my experience that food and fuel have a tendency to become in short supply during daily bombing and it is usually better to stage people prior to evacuations so that things can be dealt with quickly.

When CNN asked about the “contracts” in their article, Stranded in bomb-ravaged Beirut: “White House spokesman Tony Snow said Tuesday that the payments — or ‘reimbursements’ — to the State Department were mandated under the 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act passed by Congress.” Yes, we all know what regard this administration has for the laws passed by Congress. I would add an amendment to the next bill that when the evacuations are necessitated by the actions of a country receiving aid from the US, the cost of evacuations is deducted from any money still authorized for that country.

The rest of the world could see what was happening and took action, but these people started from ground zero with no idea what to do other than wait to see if it would blow over. As someone who used to spend a lot of time in foreign countries, I can tell you that US embassies once had rather specific plans in place. It was a result of the Cold War when everyone assumed that the Soviet Union could invade Europe at any time you were given instructions as to actions to take.

I guess that things have been so quiet in the Middle East for so long that no one thought it would be necessary to have a plan for evacuation of the Beirut embassy. I hope they have a better crew and ship available than this one.

Tell me again about how we’re at war and the Republicans are making us safer with a potty-mouthed pervert at the helm – I’m a fan of fantasy fiction.

Update: the video item on CNN: Teaching a slob some class has nothing to do with the Shrubbery.


1 Jack K. { 07.19.06 at 10:05 am }

…other news reports I heard last night included quotes from Lebanese Americans trapped in the country while visiting relatives who were told by the US Embassy that they should “keep checking the Embassy website” for updates on evac plans, this after Israeli attacks had left the local area without power. These clowns are giving government workers a bad name…

I thought it was interesting that the decision to waive the reimbursement requirement just happened to be somewhat coincident with a chat between senior State Dept. officials and a gathering of Lebanese Americans who just happened to be Republican members of Congress…

2 Bryan { 07.19.06 at 10:10 am }

This is the same garbage FEMA hands out after hurricanes. They don’t seem to be able to absorb the concept that bombing and hurricanes affect utilities.

They don’t seem to understand the concept of “emergency”, but they do understand political fallout.