Now, this is a natural disaster event that took place only but two days ago. The momentum will gather in giving more aid to the countries, mostly Muslims, affected by the 15 to 30 foot high tsunami killer waves. This has always been the case for the United States, even during the Clinton (gasp!), Carter, and JFK (no, not John F. Kerry, he lost, remember?) administrations to give aid and comfort to countries in times of need.
The chief of U.S. Agency for International Development, which distributes foreign aid, was quick to point out Tuesday that foreign assistance for development and emergency relief rose from $10 billion in President Clinton's last year ( in office) to $24 billion under President Bush in 2003. Secretary of State Colin Powell said assistance for this week's earthquake and tsunamis alone will eventually exceed $1 billion.
And yet, we will need permission to get more money and this will require more time to ask Congress to allocate monies for this emergency need. How ironic when some Liberals make the claim of "stinginess" when they should be looking at Clinton's administration. If some of the Democrats insist on putting their feet in their mouths, be my guest.
The “stingy” comment came from Jan Egeland, a Norwegian U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, who suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.
"The United States, at the president's direction, will be a leading partner in one of the most significant relief, rescue and recovery challenges that the world has ever known," said White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy. But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.
"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really," the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. "Christmas time should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become."
"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."
But even now, Jan Egeland, is desperately back-peddling his prior comments:
Egeland said on Tuesday, however, that his remarks had been misinterpreted. "It has nothing to do with any particular country or any particular disaster," he told reporters.
How typical of some of these Euro-trash who like nothing better than to berate other countries on what they should or should not do with their monies when it comes to helping other countries in times of emergency need. And when they get caught in the cross-fire they back peddle saying they never meant it that way.
Even before the announcement of the $15 million dollar installment (which means more will come and has increased to $35 million to date, and growing) was made Colin Powell ordered a dozen C-130 planes from the Pacific Command which are now hauling in food, water, blankets, emergency shelter and other relief supplies. The Thailand government has offered the United States a base to use as a regional support center in the recovery effort for those planes. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is sending a 21-member disaster-relief team to the region to help organize relief efforts. Also, the Pentagon ordered the Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which had been in port at Hong Kong, to sail for the stricken area to provide assistance. A five-ship fleet headed by the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard will skip a port call in Guam to sail for the region. So much for a “stingy” United States government, which is just beginning on their third day of humanitarian aid of epic proportion in the tsunami crisis.
As always, any initial emergency response will be a bit chaotic while relief organizations and government scramble to assess needs and deploy resources. If planning calls for significant food aid, the United States will need to scramble because of other prior crisis’s in Sudan, West Africa and other areas hit by drought and fighting. But the tsunami killer waves crisis will undoubtedly produce more deaths through diseases such as cholera, malaria, and diarrhea due to unsanitary waters, fecal matters, dead rodents, and rotting bodies.
In an interview on NBC's "Today," Powell said Tuesday:
"Clearly, the United States will be a major contributor to this international effort. And, yes, it will run into the billions of dollars."
Anyone who has enough brain power can figure out that by sending out aircraft carriers, large cargo planes and ships loaded with supplies, thousands of personnel help, armed military forces, expertise and the likes will go into the billions…easily. Lt. Col Bill Bigalow, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command put it quite succinctly that
"It is still very much an emerging crisis, and the important aspect is to take the finite amount of resources we have and apply them where they can best be allocated."
It’s all about making efficient use of money, time and resources. Not about throwing money around haphazardly because time is of essence! It must be done with quick planning. Without proper planning more needless deaths can arise through carelessness and greed such as the United Nations’ Oil for Food scandal causing hundred of thousands of Iraqis deaths, most of them children, when medicine, food, and clean water could have saved them over several years time while under Saddam’s rule and while the United Nation looked the other way as they collected the kickbacks and bribes. If you want to condemn an organized body, be it that of the United Nations.
Not only will the U.S. Government contribute (per your tax dollars at work) also private and philanthropic organizations will gather their wills to collect monies, clothing, food, medicine, and even tents. Such important organizations jumping in are the Salvation Army, Network for Good, and Feed the Children responding to the biggest tsunami disaster in recent memory.
More of these types of organizations, many of them Christian organizations, will grow since the United States is a nation about giving and helping those who are in need. We want to give because that is our nature, unlike the United Nations and other countries. And yet the United States is the biggest contributor already! What happened to Saudi Arabia? Should not they be the biggest contributor? With all that profits from oil they ought to be the most overly concerned and most generous contributor as a Muslim country. Most of the victims are from Muslim countries. Saudi Arabia pledged $10 million cash and assistance. Talk about irony here.
What these other countries taking pride of their government foreign aid contribution, notably Norway at .92 percent of the GNP (being the higest of all countries while U.S. is near the bottom), do not consider other contributions such as philanthropic and private organizations in the United States as being one of the biggest (if not the biggest) in the world when it comes to dollars spent of foreign aids. The amount spent is stagering and the usual rule of thumb is more than three times what the U.S. government spends.
Americans privately give at least $34 billion overseas -- more than three times U.S. official foreign aid of $10 billion (2001 figure):But looking at the U.S. and Foreign Aid link you will note the irony of some of the figures (and remarks like Kofi Annan's) given out when you think about all what the United States has done over the years when it comes to international aid...private and government. And the biggest irony came from our former President Jimmy Carter who remarked:
International giving by U.S. foundations totals $1.5 billion per year
Charitable giving by U.S. businesses now comes to at least $2.8 billion annually
American NGOs gave over $6.6 billion in grants, goods and volunteers.
Religious overseas ministries contribute $3.4 billion, including health care, literacy training, relief and development.
$1.3 billion by U.S. colleges are given in scholarships to foreign students
Personal remittances from the U.S. to developing countries came to $18 billion in 2000
“We are the stingiest nation of all,” former President Jimmy Carter said recently in an address at Principia College in Elsah, Ill. Dec 29, 1999.
There’s more to it than dumping monies on a nation in need. There are other resources that are much more valuable than just money alone. Money alone cannot take the place of human dignity and respect. We must remember that as a nation that cares we must help our neighbors in times of need. Sadly, there are those who want nothing more than to falsely accuse the United States just for the sake to make political (but worthless) points. A good example of this can be seen how an overly-zealous person bent on making political points so soon after a disaster which the United States government and other private groups are still organizing and planning:
They were quick enough to spend billions of dollars on the War on Iraq, terrorism but only $15 million for the devastated places?
Again, again and again -- what a typical Republican administration.
The United States will always be there to help countries in times of need, even if it means being back-stabbed by politically driven and jealous idiots here and abroad knowing that an emerging crisis takes time to organize, collect and dispatch the needed resources to the affected areas.
Please visit your favorite charity or philanthropic organization to help the tsunami victims by donating money, time or supplies. Time is of essence. My thoughts and prayers go to the tsunami victims.