Saturday, March 04, 2006

The United States doesn't "contribute"?

More UN bureaucrats accuse the United States of being stingy. It never ends.
New U.N. Disaster Relief Fund Hits $243M

A new U.N. disaster relief fund has received $243 million ahead of its launch next week, in the latest effort to improve on lackluster responses to crises like the South Asia earthquake that killed at least 87,000 people.

The U.N. General Assembly approved the $500 million relief fund in December _ a tenfold increase over the existing $50 million fund that proved inadequate for coping with an unprecedented string of natural disasters in 2005.

So far, 21 of the 191 U.N. member states have pledged a total of $193 million to the Central Emergency Response Fund, adding to the existing $50 million, officials said Friday.

The aid group Oxfam International denounced the United States, Japan, Australia, Italy and Canada for failing to contribute so far, noting poorer countries like as Grenada and Sri Lanka have pledged money.

"Governments have committed to responding quickly and effectively to help those in most need, yet now that we have a global emergency fund, governments seem reluctant to actually put money into it," said Oxfam official Sarah Kline....

"Too often, aid resembles a lottery in which a few win but most lose based on considerations other than need," [Jan] Egeland said. "We must move from lottery to predictability, so all those who suffer receive aid." ...

U.N. officials said the fund will provide immediate cash for disasters - a main concern as the world body frequently finds itself struggling to raise money for aid operations, leading to potentially fatal delays. The fund is also meant for emergencies that are often neglected, such as droughts in Africa....

"The problem is that some of the funding has been slow, or uneven," [Stephanie Bunker, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs] said. "We'll keep up the appeals, but we'll have this as a supplement. Rather than wait, we will be able to provide initial money." ...

The U.N. repeatedly complained of a funding shortfall to help hundreds of thousands of homeless quake survivors facing a harsh Himalayan winter....

Britain was the largest contributor with a $70 million pledge. The other donors were Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Finland, France, Greece, Estonia, Croatia, Sri Lanka, Liechtenstein, Grenada, Armenia, Mexico, Egypt, South Korea and Pakistan.
Putting aside the fact that the Constitution gives the federal government no powers to engage in acts of "charity," and putting aside the other fact that much "relief money" gets skimmed by corrupt officials (local and at the UN) and warlords, it's pure bull to accuse the United States of being "stingy." "Lacklustre response? The United States promised $510 million to Pakistan for relief efforts, not to mention 23 million pounds of supplies.

Britain put $70 million into this new UN fund, which will be dispersed for many things. The United States' population is five times greater (300 million versus 60 million), so even proportionately it gave far more than anyone else just for one crisis. And it always does.

I couldn't believe the complaint about "uneven" donations. Is that person at all connected with reality, that she realizes the "uneven" occurrence of natural disasters? Or does she, like a good UN official, worry about "average numbers" of hurricanes, earthquakes and drought-induced crop losses? Were we to follow her example, Americans would

When the December 26, 2004, tsunami left so much devastation around the rim of the Indian Ocean, what nation immmediately dispatched warships to assist? The United States dispatched a powerful aircraft carrier as part of rescue efforts. The Abraham Lincoln was useful not just for its helicopters (invaluable in rescue efforts), but because it had the latest technology anywhere (particularly medical). Were we a truly imperialist nation bent on conquest, we'd have taken advantage of the opportunity to quickly subdue what was left of the people and their governments, then established labor camps to strip-mine any raw materials. But we didn't. Americans even gave $940 million in private funds for tsunami relief in just the first two months. While idiot reporters lament how donations "trickled off," they completely ignored the sheer magnitude of giving at the very start, when money and supplies were needed most desperately.

What nation offered assistance to an avowed enemy? In 1990, a powerful earthquake killed over 40,000 Iranians. Any other nation would have said, "Hey, that's a great start, 40,000 less people who hate us." Any other nation would have taken umbrage at being called "the great Satan," and told Iranians to go to hell, when they threatened to cut off the feet of any American relief workers who went there. We could have easily made the demand for political reforms in exchange for aid, but we did not: The United States still offered immediate and unconditional assistance to the Iranian people. It didn't matter that they stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, holding American citizens hostage for 444 days. It didn't matter that Iran from that moment became a state sponsor of Islamic terrorism.

Here are but three of a myriad examples of how the United States helps the world after every natural disaster. Maybe I've been having a very bad week, but anytime I hear UN bureaucrats, that hypocrite Bono or anyone else accuse the United States of not donating enough, my only response to them is Cheney-esque.

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