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Who's looking out for the United States?

Acting in retaliation for the capture of two of its soldiers by the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group, the Israeli government unleashed its military against Lebanon. One of the first targets was the Beirut international airport, which was demolished by Israeli air strikes. At the beginning of the assault, Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Dan Halutz declared that "nothing is safe" in Lebanon--including, presumably, any of the areas where foreign noncombatants would seek refuge.

Left trapped by the Israeli air and sea blockade were tens of thousands of innocent foreign civilians in Lebanon, among them an estimated 25,000 Americans. While the U.S. government dithered, military and chartered civilian transportation provided by France and Italy conveyed hundreds of Americans to safety in Cyprus. Hundreds of others sought refuge in Syria, taking advantage of a safe-haven offer from the Syrian dictator. Incredible as it may seem, U.S. allies--and even one prospective enemy, Syria--displayed greater concern for the safety of U.S. citizens caught in the crossfire than did the Bush administration.

Even more incredible is the fact that while countries like France and Syria were extending merciful aid to U.S. citizens caught in the conflict, the State Department was forcing American citizens to sign promissory notes agreeing to repay the cost of evacuation.

"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," stated a July 15 official State Department bulletin. "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."

Public outcry forced the State Department to rescind that policy. But the incident powerfully illustrates the perverted priorities behind Washington's interventionist foreign policy: the taxpayers are hit up for hundreds of billions to pay for unconstitutional foreign wars and foreign aid, but the money just isn't there to rescue Americans facing violent death abroad--meaning the refugees get stuck with the bill.
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Title Annotation:United States. Department of State
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Aug 7, 2006
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