Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yes, but I'm a millionaire-- can't you just take it out of my tax cut?


From today's cursor:

Americans stranded in Lebanon are reportedly told that "they can't board a ship unless they've signed a contract agreeing to repay the U.S. government for the price of their evacuation," and one U.S. citizen left behind gets a whiff of "the same smell that haunted NYC in the months after 9/11."

As a point of reference, here's a nice BBC story about Britain evacuating her own. The photo is of a Maya Kaaki, a UK citizen in Beirut, who is critical of Tony Blair for having shoved himself up Junior's... ok,ok, she really said:

"I'm appalled by our treatment from the British government," said Maya Kaaki, 30, cradling her 13-month-old baby in her arms.

"I thought we deserved a lot better as British citizens. The bombing has being going on for days and we've been under siege. I'm happy to be going for the safety of my child."

However you will note the UK warship HMS Gloucester behind her, and if you read the article it says nothing about Brits getting charged by their government. By contrast, the US chartered a local ship. Maybe Bush was afraid of sending a US warship because if the Israelis accidentally lobbed some armaments at a US Navy ship that would serve to underscore how much of an Israeli puppet he is. Yes, I suppose it could also be because he's afraid of needlessly sending US troops into harm's way. Right?

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall writes about some of his email, quoting thusly:

email: Since Israel decided to bomb Lebanon’s Airport and Ports without warning, forcing these emergency evacuations, why don’t we withhold the cost of the evacuations from our generous financial aid to Israel. I’m sure the Israel’s[sic] would approve; they supported reparations be paid by the Swiss and Germans from their actions during WWII.

Furthermore, why not deduct reparations to innocent foreign national civilians killed as a result of their air assaults as well?

JMM:No end of sickos.

Late Update: This post occasioned some comment on what the meaning behind my comment was. My meaning is this: I don't believe the question of 'deductions' from foreign aid for the cost of these evacuations or for the loss of innocent lives (though who exactly would we pay that money too, and on whose behalf?) is comparable to the reparations Germany paid for the Holocaust. Call me old-fashioned.
JV:I don't understand why suggesting that monies be withheld from Israel on account of attacking Lebanon makes someone a "sicko," and it's not entirely clear to me that the e-mail writer was in fact suggesting moral equivelancy, as opposed to pointing out the irony that the modern concept of reparations is drawn in part from reparations paid to the Jews. It seems that Marshall is operating under the assumption that the holocaust simply can't be invoked in any argument that is critical of the state of Israel. Why?

The holocaust was a terrible event, and yes it really happened, but how is it unparalleled and somehow deserving of privileged status in a way that say, the victims of Pol Pot's killing fields or Stalin's Gulags are not? How much mileage should Israel expect from the idea that the world should be a little more indulgent with her because of how her people have suffered for centuries?