Americans will not have to pay for evacuation, senators' aides say
The announcement came after stranded Americans, along with politicians and their families back home, expressed anger with the situation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the billing policy, accusing the government of "quibbling over payment" rather than finding the most expeditious means of getting Americans out of harm's way.
"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 earlier Tuesday.
Fellow Democrat, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said: "We must not abandon American citizens in a war zone. Our government should be focusing on the fastest, safest way to get Americans home, not how much to bill them once they get there." She had said she would introduce legislation to get the fees waived.
But on Tuesday night Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the billing issue, telling Sen. John Sununu that she was waiving the requirement, Sununu's office said. The New Hampshire Republican is of Lebanese descent and had joined Pelosi and Stabenow in lambasting the fee.
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.
That's where I got confused. I thought the military was doing the evacuation. Hell, the Marines evacuated the goddam P.L.O. and didn't charge 'em! Well, they escorted 'em through the 'Root to a ship. Let 'em keep their guns, too. Marines evacuate folks from different shitholes all over the world all the time and I never heard of anybody being charged for it. 25,000 is a lot of people, but Marines just shrug and get on with it: 10 civilian pukes or 1000, it pays the same.
I knew folks'd have to pay to get home commercial, but their own government makin' 'em pay to get 'em the Hell out of a war zone is so chickenshit I never considered it.
Oh, now I remember: Republicans don't think government should provide emergency services to citizens for all that tax money, do they? It's supposed to go to their
It was embarrassing enough hearing about the Chimp's antics at the G-8. I guess gettin' caught bein' life-endangering cheapskates was too much for State.
I never thought I'd catch myself saying this, but good on ya, Condi. A day late and a dollar short, but it was the right thing to do. For once.