20 July 2006

This [too] annoys me!

I saw a photo of an American couple on the cruise ship "Orient Queen" today.

This happy husband and wife, were cheerfully sipping orange juice and grenadine, served from a covered tray by a unformed steward - they were not on vacation. Well, they were not EXACTLY on vacation, even though they were on the cruise ship Orient Queen. This happy couple was being evacuated from war ravaged Lebanon by YOUR and MY tax dollars!!!

Two things about this bother me:

ONE - When you see pictures of the Lebanese civilian evacuees, they are worried looking, disheveled and distraught over the destruction of their homes and country. They're wondering how they'll ever get their lives back to normal after Israel's punishing onslaught. But not these people, these people were sipping juice, laughing and joking without a care in the world. It is this kind of flagrant arrogance that causes people around the world to hate us Americans. I'm not saying we have to pile thousands of people head to foot - side by side on their backs and ship them to America... [that would never happen, would it?] But, it just seems arrogant to me that these people appear to be getting full cruise ship amenities, and on top of that, some photographer has decided to document the whole bash so the whole world can see how the US does "Evacuations." How is this going to look to the people in war torn countries around the world? It's going to look arrogant, that's how its going to look.

TWO - Why are my tax dollars giving Mr. and Mrs. International Traveler an all expenses paid cruise across the Atlantic? Someone please explain this to me. When ever some sh*t pops off in some corner of the world, our Government starts writing the blank checks to rush Americans back home! Why?

Now, I can understand, military people and families, diplomats, Government employees and people contracted by the US to be overseas. But when Mr. and Mrs. International Traveler want to go spend the summer with Great Aunt Jaillia picking grapes in Beirut, and a war suddenly flares up - then to me, they are just SOL (Sh*t Outta' Luck). Getting back home is on them. But in reality it's just not like that. Good old Uncle Sam will rush and bring them home for free. I can't even afford a cruise right now, but these folks are getting a free one - at OUR expense!

I'm like this - today is July 20th 2006, the world is a dangerous place. If you travel outside the CONUS, then God Bless You, you are traveling at your own risk. That is why I stay here for right now, down the road a few years... we'll see. But for now, I'm keeping my @ss in the good old U S of A!!!


Lonnie Bruner said...

Bottle of grenadine costs about $4; it's basically colored sugar water. Glass of orange juice is like $1. I don't see what the issue is.

john of ne said...

I was going to post a comment, but I see that you must approve of any comment before posting. I will not partake in a censored blog!

The Thinking Black Man said...

So uh, "John of NE" you're leaving me a comment telling me that you're NOT going to leave me a comment.

Okay, uh, so, um... the comment you left a few days ago was uh... um... what exactly was that?

Okay, okay, I'm just messing with you. If you don't want to leave a comment, that's cool - this whole blog thing is about exchanging ideas, I'm not mad at'cha.

But I will tell you this, I've only NOT posted one entry. And that was a few months ago when I made an entry on the "N" word and some clown sent me a comment full of mindless cursing and a dozen or more instances of the "N" word. It was clearly NOT a commentary, but some sort of foolish stunt. I have though, posted comments that disagreed with what I had to say.

But, it's a free world.

Peace, Bro (See you at Ben's Chilli Bowl!)

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hey Lonnie-

Thanks for the comment!
I could care less about the drink itself, it's the fact that these people look like the epitome of the "spoiled snobby American." Just a few miles away from this happy couple, Lebanese men and women are getting the shit blown out of them. Meanwhile the American Government has sent lavish first class accomodations to sweep the Americans away. I think people around the world have this image of American's as snooty, arrogant and coddled. And seeing American evacuees from a WAR ZONE casually sipping juicey's only supports this perception. In the same paper, I saw an elderly Lebanese woman, covered in dust and walking alone, crying, through the concrete rubble that was her home. THAT woman needed to be coddled, and put on a free cruise ship and pumped full of cold orange juice and $4 Grenadine, not Mr. and Mrs. "Our $500,000 home is safe and unbombed in the Maryland Suburbs."

Wait a second! Is Grenadine REALLY $4 a bottle?

john of ne said...

Didn't know you posted it thinking black man. I see your point if you have had trouble in the past.

I'm actually a white guy here in ne, but we are all brothers my friend.

The way I look at it, this is not our war and we should stay out of it. Evacuation is a good thing, that is, to get as many out before they are grabbed and we get dragged into this. Cool refreshments, well, is that not the American way?

BTW, I have been to Ben's many times in the past, before it became so famous. Hope to see you there.


The Thinking Black Man said...

Thanks John for the comment - I do appreciate your thoughts and the time you take to leave them!

Yeah, this certainly isn't our war, but it seems like whenever a conflict erupts, the US sends envoys, sternly worded messages and aircraft carrier groups to the the region. It's almost like the US and it's two buddies (England and Israel) are the only countries allowed to use their military against anyone.

I do acknowledge though that these middle eastern countries with their governing body on one side and little radical Islamic group on the other - they do make military responses very unique and tricky. I think this Hezbollah assualt was probably on like, page 9 of the Israeli "Attack Manual". Hamas has been blowing up Israeli civilains en mass for the last 2 - 3 years, only to have Israel respond with some lite shelling or a quick air strike. But Hezbollah kidnaps 2 soldiers (which is CLEARLY wrong!) and the Israelis are conducting precise, tactical strikes within hours! Like I said, this conflict was on page nine of their manual, ready to go!!!

On a lighter note - I tried to be a BIG MAN last time I was at Ben's... I got two chilli dogs and a order of cheese fries. I just couldn't finish it! I'm not the man I used to be!

Thanks again, 'Bro'

Lonnie Bruner said...

Dear Thinking Black Man:

I'm not sure you understand how Diplomatic Services work. The Department of State, just like any other foreign embassy, in a war time situation is responsible to Americans in the country in question. As for the war, DS will deal with it however the Administration sees fit through proper channels.

Take for example Liberia in 1996. A horrible war was raging and the US embassy was the only foreign post to stay in operation. They risked their lives to save Americans stranded there, but have no obligation to save Liberians who were visciously slaughtering one another.

And yes, grenadine is cheap stuff. Sugar + water + food coloring + artificial flavor.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hey there Lonnie-

My point with these evacuations of Americans that, when you travel abroad, [especially to a known and documented hotspot] you should have to personally assume a large portion of the risk. I say large, but I'm actually thinking - "ALL" of the risk.

Now, I'm not speaking about diplomats, US Government employees, military personnel and their families, and contractors working abroad at the US Government's behest. I'm talking mainly about tourists and people visiting family. The State Department even has a section on their website called "Travel Warnings" where they advise Americans to stay away from certain regions. So, if you choose to voluntarily visit a part of the world that is known to be dangerous, you [in my opinion] should put the onus of exodus upon yourself. Our military men and women should not have to risk their lives to save yours if you chose to go a KNOWN danger zone.

Please note that I said CHOSE, I'm all for evacuating those the HAVE to be in danger zones.

I think the whole orange juice and grenadine thing was just the spark that lit my little fuse.

Thanks for the comment too! I think my wife is getting tired of listening to my rantings and ravings!

The Thinking Black Man said...
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