For appearance's sake

Garance Franke-Ruta over at The American Prospect lays out a likely contributing cause (beyond incompetence) for the sluggish evacuation of Americans in Lebanon by their government: it's all about staying on message. Not a huge surprise, but it sure is interesting to see it spelled out:
A reliable source tells me that the reason the United States has been so slow in evacuating its citizens from Lebanon is that the public diplomacy (i.e., P.R.) issues raised by evacuating under Israeli assault are so complicated. Individuals within the State Department, I am told, have been reluctant to create an impression that the Israeli assault on Lebanon is as bad as it is or that civilian U.S. citizens are being threatened by U.S. ally Israel. If a conflict this severe had broken out in, say, Indonesia, the American embassy would have been shut down the next day and its personnel and families rapidly brought to safety. That's how things normally work.

Yeah, normally.

I would pay good money to see an Anderson Cooper-type suggest to evacuees that part of the reason for the delay in getting them out had to do with "diplomacy" and appearance. I'm thinking the evacuees would respond with some pretty choice messages of their own.

But not to worry, would-be evacuees! The US will apparently give Israel just one more week of using Lebanon for target practice, then all should be clear. We hope. Just keep your head down until then.

NOTE: CNN has posted a list of aid agencies assisting civilians in what it euphemistically calls "the Mideast crisis." That list is duplicated below. Site performance may be slow, for reasons you can well imagine.

AGA Khan Development Network
Direct Relief International
Episcopal Relief Development
Habitat For Humanity
ICRC -- International Committee of the Red Cross
Islamic Relief
Refugees International
Save the Children
UJA Federation of New York
UNDP -- United Nations Development Program
UNHCR -- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
World Food Program
World Vision


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