As documented in the last post, one of the casualties of the current war could be the government of Lebanon. You remember the “Cedar Revolution“? Just last year our State Department was congratulating Lebanon for its democratic elections, the first elections held after the withdrawal of Syrian troops — “This is an important first step in fulfilling the aspirations of the Lebanese people for a sovereign and democratic government.” Last year the righties gleefully gave credit for the liberation of Lebanon to George W. Bush because, you know, Bush makes the sun rise and the rain fall and all that.
I just heard a Time magazine reporter speak on television. He said most Lebanese are pro-American, but now they think America has abandoned them. And I have to say I’m surprised at how quickly the righties have abandoned Lebanon. In 2005 they couldn’t say enough about the wonderfulness of freedom-loving Lebanese. Now it seems they’ve completely disconnected the “good” Lebanon of 2005 from the “bad” Lebanon of 2006.
Among the several possible negative side-effects of the current strife is that the fledgling democracy in Lebanon could fail completely and be replaced by civil war and chaos and a lot more terrorism. This would be extremely unfortunate.
At the far end of the loony scale is Debbie Schlussel, who is ranting that Americans caught in Lebanon this week are Hezbollah Supporters, and they shouldn’t expect American taxpayer’s money to rescue them. Yes, I know, we all figured out a long time ago that Schlussel needs to be heavily medicated and probably muzzled. But to the news that American citizens in Lebanon are expected to reimburse the government for their rescue, which I think is outrageous, Schlussel says,
One thing is lost in all the press coverage of the whining Americans who went to Lebanon of their own accord and now want us to pick up the tab to get them out.
THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS IN LEBANON ARE HEZBOLLAH SUPPORTERS.
Most of them are Shi’ite Muslims, many of whom hold dual U.S. and Lebanese citizenship. Many are anchor babies born here to Muslims in the U.S. illegally. Some are illegal aliens who became citizens through rubber-stamping Citizenship and Immigration Services (and its INS predecessor) coupled with political pressure by spineless politicians.
Schlussel is a little vague about how she knows this is true, except to argue that many American citizens in Lebanon are from Dearborn, Michigan. Well, that clinches it.
A few people in the comments — one of whom says she is a Christian and American citizen in Lebanon — argue that Schlussel is wrong about the majority of American citizens in Lebanon — but Schlussel (in ALL CAPS) argues back that THIS IS MY AREA OF EXPERTISE. (She knows Dearborn, Michigan, very well.)
But then some Debbie fans weighed in —
“One thing is lost in all the press coverage of the whining Americans who went to Lebanon of their own accord and now want us to pick up the tab to get them out.”
Here Here….To me that says it all, I just love all these “Americans” that call themselves Americans who live elsewhere, particularly in the Middle East.
When you leave the security blanket of this great country, you are subject to the laws and lay of the land you travel to, simple as that.
If there were no war, they would anyway pay for their return ticket at some point, right? So why should the US foot their bills?
Well, maybe because American citizens and American taxpayers often are the same people, and their taxes pay to maintain the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, among other things.
In response to the American in Lebanon —
Your story and self-proclaimed patriotism isn’t all that convincing. What were you doing there if you love the US so much? Did someone hold a gun at your head and force you to stay in Lebanon? You went there out of your own will, so you pay for the ticket back home, if you really consider the US your ‘home’. Thats the least you can do.
Got that? If you’re a real patriot, don’t leave home.
The U.S. State Department posted a warning about travel to Lebanon on July 13, 2006, which updated another warning of May 2, so I suppose the State Department can say, “I told you so.” However, the warning also says that the American embassy in Lebanon is there to help American citizens.
If you’re going to Iran, on the other hand, the State Department lets you know you’re on your own — “The U.S. government does not currently have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to American citizens in Iran.”
Lebanon is celebrated as a choice tourist destination in the Middle East, and American tourists continue to go to the Middle East wars or no wars. If you are going to do the Grand Tour of the Holy Land, Lebanon certainly should be included on the tour. Well, maybe not right now. But it seems a bit harsh to tell Americans who traveled to Beirut before the fighting started that they shouldn’t expect rescue.