December 30, 2004

NY Times slams US over tsunami relief as death toll passes 120,000

120,000 are dead in the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami disaster, and with impending disease and starvation, that toll will rise as the days progress. The New York Times (free registration or go to took the opportunity this morning to spew all sorts of venom over the United States' handling of relief for the disaster.

(President Bush) hurried to put as much distance as possible between himself and America's initial measly aid offer of $15 million, and he took issue with an earlier statement by the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, who had called the overall aid efforts by rich Western nations "stingy."

Mr. Egeland was right on target. We hope Secretary of State Colin Powell was privately embarrassed when, two days into a catastrophic disaster that hit 12 of the world's poorer countries and will cost billions of dollars to meliorate, he held a press conference to say that America, the world's richest nation, would contribute $15 million. That's less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities.

The American aid figure for the current disaster is now $35 million, and we applaud Mr. Bush's turnaround. But $35 million remains a miserly drop in the bucket, and is in keeping with the pitiful amount of the United States budget that we allocate for nonmilitary foreign aid.

Bush administration officials help create that perception gap.

Making things worse, we often pledge more money than we actually deliver.

The remainder of the mainstream media is working overtime to compare and contrast the monies spent by the United States on disaster relief to the amount spent on the War on Terror, as if there was a true comparison.

There's not, no matter how much the MSM tries to create one.

Posted by mhking at December 30, 2004 10:09 AM

War on Terror aside, I think the government is astonishingly nonchalant about all of this. Here are my thoughts:

Posted by: parenthetical at December 30, 2004 11:00 AM

What else would you expect from the times? They can't or won't be journalists, so we might as well be reading the daily worker,whose demise the times attributed to McCarthyism.
This liberal rag, which for a long time has had snob appeal to the pseudo-intellectuals of the left, is well on its way to following the communist party paper.

Posted by: BobG at December 30, 2004 12:27 PM

Not to be cold-hearted or anything, but I would much rather my tax dollars be spent on something to benefit us here at home, and not on disaster victims on the other side of the world.

Why don't they save that money for something more pressing, such as better equipment for our boys overseas?

Posted by: Me at December 30, 2004 12:54 PM

well if touching funding for iraq is verboten, how about taking a hard look at the costs for the inauguration?

"Pres Bush's inauguration will have theme Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service and will focus on American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; cost of four-day celebration, Jan 18-21, is estimated at close to $40 million, and will be most expensive in history"

Posted by: tsaiberia at December 30, 2004 03:07 PM

It is my understanding that the $40 million for the inaugural festivities is being supplied with private donations. So what's the next complaint to be made against the US/President Bush?

Posted by: Samantha at December 30, 2004 04:57 PM

The left and the media are continually looking for issues to jump this President on. The funny thing is everytime they do this it backfires. The American public are generous but if you tell us we must give and must give more than anyone else it tends to irritate us a bit,since we already do.

Posted by: jbrookins at December 31, 2004 03:22 PM

Michael, just a thought. You say that in order to read the article you need to register with the Times and it's free. I know that I have never had the inclination to associate myself and I've heard others that felt the same, and if they can't get customers by offering a free product, I wouldn't want to be someone who worked there.

Posted by: Mike H. at January 1, 2005 02:17 AM

Happy New Year! May 2005 bring you, and yours, nothing but health & happiness.

Posted by: Tony Iovino at January 1, 2005 09:53 AM

That's why I mentioned; it's a free service that has logins and passwords for free news sites like NYT and others that let you read the articles without supplying your name to their databases.

Posted by: Michael at January 1, 2005 02:31 PM

Why should the money come from Bush? Why not take it from Kofi and his spawn who lost it on their watch over oil for food in Iraq? After all, he felt so guilty he couldn't break away from his vacation to address this crisis! Yes, I know he was watching through heavy lenses.

Posted by: BobG at January 1, 2005 07:23 PM

You are right, the US offer of monetary aid is stingy. It is a disgrace that the wealthiest nation in the world offers such a tiny sum. Even our little island has manged £50m (GBP) and, okay, with the poor exchange rate, your sum looks worse than it would have a few years ago but you guys and gals in the US really need to think about your position in the world and think charity. No wonder the world sees you as bullies etc. A bit more humanity from you would really help to balance things out, just once in a while!! And I don't mean to just bash you, here in the UK we admire much of the US culture and your history. And you have a strong army which is capable of a lot of good, but COME ON they need cash and the support of your boats and air power. Love yer, want to see you do what is right!

Posted by: Paul (England UK) at January 2, 2005 07:17 PM

Er, the donation's a lot higher now, get with the times. =P

$350 million is a lot of money.

Not to mention the manpower that was sent, the transportation we're offering over there...

We really cracked open the piggy bank this time.

Posted by: Me at January 3, 2005 12:13 AM

In terms of aid as a percentage of GDP your contribution is pathetic. 0.0034% in fact. Qatar which is 107 places below you in the GDP rankings for 2003 committed 0.058%.

Japan pledged $500 Million. 0.014%

Posted by: Nick Saunders at January 3, 2005 02:28 AM

Good for Japan.

You may speak of GDP all you wish, and perhaps we didn't donate a big chunk of ours, but the dollar total is the second largest donation internationally.

We've also sent 11,000 men and women from our own military to distribute food and otherwise aid the victims.

Though, of course, the government spending has paled in comparison to private donations, as usual.

For the record, I'm glad they didn't spend something like Qatar did. It is, after all, upon the taxpayer's back.

Posted by: Me at January 3, 2005 03:01 AM

I get very disconcerted when someone on a blog has the name "me". I use it on a football (soccer) forum and if a friend from uni who reads these as well sees the comments bit he's gonna think i have gone scizophrenic.

Surely though it is in our interests to give more. People who see we aren't all so horrible are far less likely to consider strapping C4 and looking longingly in the direction of a crowd of westerners.

True about the private donations bit. British people pledged 45 million dollars.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at January 3, 2005 06:59 AM

Nick, I've gotta beg to differ with you.

Our collective donations and support won't do a damned thing to deter some deluded moron who wants to strap on a bomb belt and blow up a bus full of people.

They don't care. Period. We could give ALL of our collective net worth to the survivors of the disaster, and the terrorists would continue to do their level best to kill as many Westerners in general and Americans in particular, that they possibly could.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that they care whether or not we are "nice guys" or not. They just want us dead. Period.

Posted by: Michael at January 3, 2005 10:20 AM

People dont get up in the morning and think "i want to kill americans today" Well excepting us in 1776.

The leaders who recruit them do yes but that is not true of the garden variety arab man. People are rational and a person usually needs to be pretty pissed about something to cause harm to another.

Do American soldiers kill because they all hate afghans? no of course they don't. They do because they have a job to do and believe that OBL is there somewhere being hidden. Your average terrorist is pissed at america rightly or wrongly.

Changing the perception WILL make a difference. Yes there will still be hamas leaders and Al Quaida cell leaders but their support base will ebb away rapidly. Thats why aid is better than bullets.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at January 3, 2005 12:47 PM
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