The Lady Speaks

Repatriation Loans?!

I bet you thought that, should you and many others find yourselves trapped in the middle of a sudden war, you’d be evacuated without the government asking for reimbursement.

Surprise! Only if you’re British, Italian, German, Canadian, or – well, pretty much anything except American.

From the US Embassy’s Beirut webpage:

This information is current as of today, Sat Jul 15 12:20:12 2006. [Apparently, keeping citizens informed isn’t a priority.]

A message to the American citizens in Lebanon:

The Department of State continues to work with the Department of Defense on a plan to help American citizens depart Lebanon. As of the morning of July 15, we are looking at how we might transport Americans to Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, Americans can then board commercial aircraft for onward travel. Commercial airlines provide the safest and most efficient repatriation options to final destinations.

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 arrangments, 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. [emphasis mine]

From the British Embassy:

Message to British Citizens and Nationals in Lebanon
Following the latest security developments in Lebanon, we have amended our Travel Advice and are advising against all travel to Lebanon. A Call Centre to provide information for British nationals has been setup in London.

Beirut airport is currently closed following Israeli air strikes. There is also a naval blockade of all ports and the main Beirut-Damascus highway is closed. Other roads out of Lebanon are also closed, or are unsafe for travel.

We are deeply concerned about the safety of British nationals who are currently in Lebanon. We are not currently advising people to leave – we are advising them to stay put, keep a low profile, exercise caution, keep in touch with the Embassy and heed local advice.


A Rapid Deployment Team (RDT) from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, has arrived in Beirut to assist British Nationals. A military reconnaissance team has also arrived to carry out detailed planning for a possible evacuation.

We were able to make use this morning of the UK helicopters, that brought in the UK teams and EU High Representative Solana, to help approximately 40 very vulnerable British nationals leave Lebanon.

From the Canadian Embassy:

Advice for Canadians in Lebanon: (July 17, 2006 – 1:30 p.m. EST)

In the absence of viable and secure commercial means, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is working closely with the Canadian Embassy in Beirut and other Canadian missions in the region to develop departure options to assist Canadian citizens who wish to leave Lebanon.
Upon arrival at a safe haven destination (possibly Cyprus), Canadians would then be assisted in making arrangements to their final destination. We will be advising Canadians further on departure details within the next 24 hours.

Now, Americans in Lebanon, for all that they’re going to have to give Uncle Sam some IOUs in return for safe passage home, are still doing better than the Australians whose government cannot (or will not) mount a rescue operation.

From Australia’s ABC News:

Italy has begun evacuating Europeans from Lebanon, despite the Australian Government saying it cannot help the 2,800 Australian tourists and at least 20,000 members of Australia’s Lebanese community living there.


The US, Sweden, France and Britain are also planning a voluntary evacuation of their citizens, by land to neighbouring Syria or by ferry to Cyprus.

But the Federal Government says there is no way for Australians stranded in Lebanon to safely leave.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Theresa Gambaro, says the sea ports are dangerous, overland routes are congested and damaged, and the airport has been attacked.

She has urged Australians in Lebanon to stay where they are and register with the Australian embassy in Beirut.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says the Federal Government is looking at possible evacuation methods if the security situation allows.

I suppose, if the worst were to happen, and Australians and/or Americans are taken hostage (unlikely, but certainly not unheard of) then their governments would be willing to take every action and spare no expense to retrieve them?

Well, maybe the Australians. I don’t hold much hope for Bush being able to comprehend such an event, much less be able to deal with it in any way that doesn’t involve bombing the sh*t out of something.

Sweet Saint Helena! They’re sending Condi?! To do what…show off her shoes??

No…it’s worse than I thought – she’s going to try to “calm the region.”

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice intends to travel to the Middle East to seek to calm the region where Israel has bombarded Lebanon for days and the militant group Hezbollah has fired rockets into the Jewish state.

“At some point in the future, the secretary intends to travel to the region,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.


“The first opportunity she can come and make a positive effect in the region I think she will be very well received.”

Right….she’ll be received just like the US troops who are called liberators and are greeted daily with chocolates and flowers… Oh, oops…. Sorry – my fault. That was on the History Channel’s WWII remembrance special.

As Wolcott says:

“The ETA for the Apocalypse has been moved up accordingly.”


July 17, 2006 - Posted by | Government, Middle East, US Military, War, White House


  1. Nice post my friend… I recently posted a scathing poem on Condi… She will only help make an enemy of those she attends…. Sweet Saint Helena indeed!

    Comment by thepoetryman | July 18, 2006 | Reply

  2. So what is this? If you have the money you can get out?

    Comment by Gort | July 19, 2006 | Reply

  3. I like your style. As you are so inclined, stop by Fear And Loathing In the Blogosphere, will you? I’d like to see if we might do a link exchange.

    The work you’re doing here is outstanding. I say that as one who is not frequently impressed let alone to a high degree.

    I’d welcome your comments; quite interested in what you might think as well as any ideas or suggestion you have.

    I’ll make a point of returning to comment on some specific postings.

    I had a questions before closing, do you have interest in writing for any blogs outside your own?

    Comment by Kilroy_60 | July 23, 2006 | Reply

  4. I’m not swure that you are being entirely fair to the Bush Administration with this post.

    I mean, you have to give them credit for trying to save a buck here and there — they’ve been doing a pretty good jogb at it too. Fortunately, they were able to avoid the unnecessary expenses of body and humvee armor for a long time. But they have alot going on to pay for, what with the build up against Iran and the elimination of the estate tax, the huge tax breaks for the wealthy, and that big R&D credit that the House passed along with the three-year phase in of the smallest minimum wage increase they could get.

    So, give the guys a break, will ya?


    Comment by A Big Fat Slob | July 31, 2006 | Reply

  5. LOL at Fat Slob.

    Pa….stopped by to see how you’re doing. What’s shakin in Pa? Long time no see. Hope all’s good in the hood!!!

    Comment by QuestionGirl | August 9, 2006 | Reply

  6. Wow, so much to comment on. Great job here… I have some questions for you though? What other predicaments is the Federal Government expected to bail you out of? What if you traveled to the International Space Station, and a band warmongering Klingons suddenly decloaked within photon torpdeo range. Is the Federal Government expected to mount a rescue operation? If they do, are the tax payers responsible? These are difficult times that we live in, and I’m just glad that there are citizen watchdogs like you that are keeping our world leaders in check.

    Comment by Jonathan Scott | August 10, 2006 | Reply

  7. Good points, all. Try this one on for size: The other day, I was out riding my bike, and going really fast down a steep hill. Well, towards the bottom (after I had a lot of speed built up), I crashed pretty hard.

    After I hobbled back to my house, I called the State Department and asked when I could receive some help. Get this, they said they don’t help out with stuff like that! Can you believe it?!?!? What, am I supposed to actually be left up to my own devices and do things “at my own risk”??? WTF!?!?

    For those of you who do not understand the fine art of sarcasm, please do not visit my blog, as your heads will most likely implode.

    Comment by Mr. Twisted | August 10, 2006 | Reply

  8. By the way, I truly would have commented on what was written, but there was nothing of any real substance here to do so on.

    What you wrote essentially amounts to “Bush and Codi are stupid,” yet there is absolutely no basis for this statement, let alone a more viable solution to this problem you so hastily point out.

    Helpful hint: if you are going to rant about American foreign policy, have a suggestion for change rather than just saying what is going on is “wrong.” It lends much more credibility to the one doing the ranting.

    Comment by Mr. Twisted | August 10, 2006 | Reply

  9. pssst. This is a requirement of a law written in 1956 that the State Department be reimbursed for evacuations.

    But… Good News! Last I read… they are waiving it for this particular conflict evacuation.

    Comment by Kell | August 10, 2006 | Reply

  10. WTF. If other countries find ways and means including dipping into their pockets to save their citizens from events like this then why cant the world’s richest nation do the same. Well they are but their billing their “rescued” citizens is a joke.

    Comment by carlo.41 | August 24, 2006 | Reply

  11. Mr. Twisted… The only head that appears to have fallen off is your own. If you have a suggestion for change in the foreign policy you make it known, or go back to your blog and work on what you’re sorely lacking, the fine art of sarcasm. The above was not fine, nor was it an art. It was a poor attempt at smart-assery and a bump in traffic. Pathetic.

    Hey, PA… Good to see you my friend.

    Comment by thepoetryman | August 24, 2006 | Reply

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