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Visiting the USA

By neilb@uk ·
or, rather, not visiting the USA.

I've been to the USA on vacation a dozen or more times. Love it and love you all. Although, on every flight I've filled in that silly green card with its stupid questions: "Were you ever a member of the Nazi party?".

Last time, I filled in my details on the new Electronic System for Travel Authorization, ESTA, a couple of weeks prior and although I have to reckon it the crappiest website ever invented, it was probably easier than trying to fill the card in on an economy flight table. The questions aren't any better: "Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?". Ah, well... That would be telling.

Now, it would seem, we have to comply with the ESTA and pay for the privilege, starting on 8th September. OK, so it's only 14 USD but - and this is where I get slightly ticked off - the charge is not to pay for the service but is intended to be used to promote US tourism.

You want ME to pay for YOUR tourist promotion? Nope. Don't we Brits (and others) contribute enough to you tourism?

Now, I could fill it in now while it's free and it's good for the next two years but my passport needs renewing and the ESTA goes with it. And so does next year's trip.

It's the principle. The USA is a rich country and I go there to spend money - lots of it - on travel, accommodation, food and entertainment. I already pay US customs $2.70, a US immigration fee of $3.50 and a US animal and plant health inspection services user fee of about $2.50 every time I travel (and I don't get anything from that).

This year, I'm driving to Rimini, in Italy, and I'll pass through seven countries and not only will it not cost me anything when I cross the borders, I won't even have to show my passport.

Neil

My erstwhile membership of the Waffen SS will probably be quite useful in Switzerland.

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Caterpillar Marine Diesel

by oldbaritone In reply to I'm probably not the righ ...

<i>"But did you know who is one of the biggest maker of Marine Engines?"</i>

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Cat is big in the US

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Caterpillar Marine Diesel

But it's not the best known outside the US.

Volvo Penta is the expected one here by most Boaties but the Ducati Marine Diesel's are also very common.

When it comes to numbers produced Ducati is still one of the big guys in this field.

Col

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War Criminals

by CharlieSpencer In reply to But I love SS's

No one is still looking for Japanese war criminals in connection with the Holocaust.

Why they think anyone they're looking for would answer 'Yes' is beyond me. "Hey, that's right, I was a guard at Auschwitz! I better put that down!"

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Exactly.

by seanferd In reply to War Criminals

Why would they self-identify?

And no, no one is looking for Japanese involved with the Holocaust. That was in Europe. The Japanese did their own thing in Asia/Pacific, which doesn't have a name like the Holocaust does. The Rape of Nanking is about as close as it gets to the Asian atrocities having some sort of identity, and it certainly doesn't cover all of them.

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What about the Japanese

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Exactly.

Prisoner of War Camps.

Not at all nice places to be an inmate.

Col

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Nope, not nice at all.

by seanferd In reply to What about the Japanese

And remember how freaked out the U.S. was about American citizens of Japanese descent? Put them in camps, took everything away from them. Americans of German descent weren't treated like that, but who are we looking for with the $14 are-you-a-war-criminal card?

It's all theater.

But we do have the wonderfully romanticized <i>The Bridge on the River Kwai</i>.

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Well, the argument could be made

by CharlieSpencer In reply to What about the Japanese

That POW atrocities are in a different category from those inflicted on civilians. Or that the number of Holocaust victims was much larger. Or maybe the WWII victors tried all the Japanese war criminals they were interested in.

Or maybe the Western powers didn't give a rat's about war crimes outside Europe? Nah...

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War Criminals ... on their Walking Frames

by oldbaritone In reply to War Criminals

There are no youngsters who served in WWII any more, from ANY side of the conflict.

Oh, sorry - we're not allowed to profile so we mustn't look at the wrinkles or gray hair.

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A better question to ask

by Ed Woychowsky In reply to War Criminals ... on thei ...

Want is your response to the phrase; "There can be only one?"
A. Huh?
B. One want?
C. Draw your ceremonial Waffen-issue sword and take a head.
D. None of the above.

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That could

by seanferd In reply to A better question to ask

seriously cut down on the number of customs and immigrations agents asking any questions at all. It wouldn't surprise me that they would allow you to walk around with a 30-odd inch blade as long as you weren't crazy enough to have a 30 ounce bottle of shampoo as well.

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