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Thursday, July 20, 2006

How About a Little Thanks and Praise?

The past week has been an exasperating experience as I watch the coverage of the Lebanon evacuations.

Gee, I wonder where people get the idea that Americans are pampered, whiny and arrogant?

I see people whining and complaining that the mass evacuation of people out of a war zone is not neat and orderly. I see people complaining that the accommodations on ships which are taking them out said war zone were not comfortable. I see complaining from many quarters that the government would have liked to be reimbursed later for getting their asses to safety.

Some news organizations complained of cramped conditions on a Norwegian cargo ship which took 1,000 people. Video of said ships showed that while people were lined up along the side walkways, there were not on top of one another. In addition, on the central part of the deck there was apparently enough room for guys to play basketball!

Apparently, the only way to evacuate for some is to take a cruise ship, or you shouldn’t leave at all.

Of course, a lot of this could be the media’s doing, which cannot go without somehow finding fault with how the government, particularly this administration, does things. The question I have is; what is the yardstick for performance? Where is it, what does it look like, and what is needed for a “good” rating?

I mean, is there ANY chance we would see a headline or chyron say “Government Does Kick Ass Job on Evacuations!” What would the government (State Department, Military, White House, etc) need to do to get such praise. We are never told.

Look, I am not a big fan of government beauracracy and I have plenty to complain about in regards to their inefficiency. My point is, if the media or anyone is going to set themselves as constant critics, shouldn’t they A) reveal their grading methods, B) sometimes be able to give a positive review?

**Update** To be fair, I have seen some people praising the efforts of the State Departement and others in facilitating the evacuation, so at least there is some attempt at balance. However, you still see the media's tendency to emphasize the negative and to ask why it wasn't done better without revealing what they view as acceptable performance. Should 24 hours been enough time to get everyone out? 36? 48?

If they had sent this ship, what would have been the reaction, I wonder. These people had a much rougher time on their vacation than any of these people have had during the evacuation.

I also noticed some statistics that indicated that the French and Canadians have gotten far fewer people out so far. If accurate, does that mean we are doing all that badly? Again, the question is not even asked from what I've seen.

Update : Blackfive puts it very nicely regarding what people should expect from the evacuation:

In my mind, if you voluntarily decide to go to a country whose southern half is controlled by a 25 year old terrorist organization that until 9/11 had killed more Americans than any other you ought to take some responsibility for your own predicament when things go sideways. I mean if you are pregnant and decide to go to Beirut on your Mediterranean vacation with 5 kids (instead of France, Italy, Greece, etc.) then perhaps you should either blame your travel agent or have a nice tall glass of shut the hell up when you suddenly are operating outside your itinerary. Should these Americans pay for their evacuation from their terrorist occupied vacation spot? Let me ask another question; why should I pay for it?


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