Do Americans overseas have any right to complain?

Okay, on both Fox and Cnn and in my daily paper, it says that Americans living abroad in Lebanon are complaining at the slow response from the United States at evacuating them.

I know this could easily turn into a debate, but my questions are:
What rights do American citizens living abroad have?
Is there any law saying we have to evacuate them if there are problems in the country they are living in?

I would assume that if I lived in a country such as Lebanon with known problems in and around where I was, that I take some risk by living there, whether for business or pleasure. And siding with the evacuators, they do have to take precautions and plan the security aspect of it, right?

I don’t believe that it is a question of rights, but rather a question of policy.

Executive Order 12656 establishes the policy of the United States that the State Department shall be responsible for “protection or evacuation of United States citizens and nationals abroad and safeguarding their property abroad, in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and Health and Human Services.”

This is an altogether standard that an embassy would attempt to provide what assistance it could to nationals who are traveling in other countries. Virtually every embassy established in the world has a consular section created for this very purpose. Embassies generally do not have the power to order civilians out of a country, but to refuse to provide assistance would be… surprising, especially if the embassy is still operating.

I don’t understand the question about “siding with the evacuators.”

You can read more here:

Sorry, think I worded that incorrectly. By siding with the evacuators, I meant taking the side of our government who is in charge of the evactuation.

It’s my impression that the complaints are about comparative speed; it certainly seems that other Western nations were quicker at starting to evacuate their citizens from Lebanon than the US was.

Yes, a couple of nations were there quicker? Is it because of better logisitics? Or did these other countries have a smaller amount of people and/or not provide military security for the evacuees?

Perhaps the US government was waiting for the free market to act.

the thing that shocked me was when USA Today(??) had the headlines announcing “Dozens rescued,” etc…
Wait a minute…they have a jillion battleships in the area, and they rush to bring a few *dozen * home? Why not just send a few cabs??


Sorry, but I am not sure I trust anything from Super Frenchie!

In a thread where the US military is potentially being shown up by the French, I’m not too worried about any comments from someone who’s nick is “FormerMarineGuy”. The blog was the first link I found but the news is around if you look for it.

I still don’t get it. Do you mean that people who want to be evacuated might be at additional risk by the Lebanese? I’m just not following. The US Embassy is concerned that Americans will simply show up at the Embassy or the port and try to beg for a ride, potentially putting them at risk of either anti-American protests or collateral damage from dropped bombs, and is therefore urging Americans to stay put and near the phone until they are contacted with specific evacuation plans. Does that answer your question?

According to this article, Greece has evacuated 400, France 800, and Norway 1,000.

Lots of Americans live in Lebanon. Some of them complain. Those are the ones on TV.

On the other hand, we expats pay at least some taxes and get darn few services. The occasional evacuation is no big deal. Besides, while you folks back home are screwing up the balance of payments, we are doing our part to set the situation right.

One other point: law requires the US government to make a “good faith effort” to collect reimbursement from evacuated individuals. However, it is a safe bet that most evacuees will not be sent to collection agencies just because Uncle Sam helped them get out of a war zone.

Don’t worry, sir, you don’t have to. This news has been all over in the last couple of days. SuperFrenchie isn’t making it up. I saw it first on BoingBoing , then several links on metafilter. For the latter, scroll down to July 17, and if you don’t want to, here are the links from the story:

From the Embassy in Beirut :

And, here :

I haven’t heard of any other nationals having to pay for their evacuation, but I’d be interested in knowing. As far as the numbers (someone mentioned whether the US has more people to evacuate), yes and no. It think the numbers I saw were about 25,000 for the us, but several European countries had comparable numbers of citizens Lebanon (France: approx. 20,000 and Britain: approx. 22,000).

To add insult to injury, I’ve heard that even those Americans who are being evacuated to Cyprus are just sort of being dropped off and left to their own devices, having to find some shelter and transportation. I’m not saying they should be babied, but it seems that there should be some more accomadation than that.

Finally, after writing all that, while looking for whatever it was that I read that said the Americans would just be left in Cyprus, I found this NPR conversation with COngressman Ray LaHood who said that the evacuation would be carried out “AT NO CHARGE.”

Though it does appear from the other link above that the State Department had originally planned on making people pay…

Could be worse. They coulda been in New Orleans last year. :rolleyes:

I can’t figure out why people are required to leave laptops and cameras behind! ??


The Canadian governenment is getting a lot of criticism for being slow with their evactuation plans, they expect the first ships to be boarded today at the earliest. The criticism is made worse by the fact that 8 Canadian citizens on vacation have been killed so far (I think all from the same family). A few Canadians have been able to leave, mostly because they had dual citizenships with Italy, Russia or France. They estimate there are as many as 40 000 Canadians in Lebanon, about 30 000 have contacted the embassies to get out. The government has said they will pay for the complete cost of the evacuation. I think the newspaper today said that they should be able to get a couple of thousand people out at a time.

All in all, the evacuations seem to be going well. No shooting or helicopter gunships. All the combatants seem to be willing to let people leave. Could be worse. Much worse.

Preach it, brother!

Why can’t US citizens overseas still expect some level of service from their government on par with what other nations provide?

Not by the Lebanese. I do not think we are on really bad terms with the Lebanese government, or at least in comparison to other governments. But yes, that is my point. The US Embassy is concerned by protests, bombs, etc.

I am not really siding with the government. Forgive me is I made it look that way. Really, I try to be as unbiased as possible.

My whole question was about laws and do people complaining have a legitimate right to complain based on laws and procedures on evacuation? My thinking was that they put themselves in an area that has/had a higher risk, than say, Iceland (example only), so wouldn’t it be understandable that with today’s climate the United States might take a little extra time for an evacuation?

I do agree that maybe the US took a little time compared to other governments and the resources we have.