Friday, December 31, 2004

Good God. They're talking at least 125,000 confirmed dead and as many as 400,000 more in Indonesia. There are maybe millions of refugees all over the place; fortunately, fears of massive epidemics seem to have been exaggerated. This is the worst thing I ever remember happening. The photos of the bodies piled up on the beaches--you've seen them. The aid is beginning to get there. The Americans, Aussies, and New Zealanders have got an airlift going and they're flying supplies into Banda Aceh, by far the worst-hit area, in C-130 transports. Unfortunately, one of the things they're carrying in are 80,000 body bags. The very professional and fairly large Indian Navy is sending out missions all over the Bay of Bengal, and the Americans are sending two battle groups loaded with supplies. International aid is flowing in from all over the world; they're saying they've already collected $500 million. Dozens of countries and millions of individuals are contributing. There's so much stuff coming in it's already piling up at Banda Aceh; they're having transport difficulties, not enough trucks and the roads are all washed out anyway. Sounds to me like helicopters might be a good idea; how about all the traffic helicopters at all the radio stations across America fly over there? They could make it in, say, 500-kilometer jumps by way of Alaska, and the cost of fuel and its availability would of course be no problem. They could be there in two or three days. Or we could stash several dozen of them inside one of those huge transport planes. The British did something similar at Dunkirk, but instead of traffic helicopters it was fishing boats. If the Saudis want to help out, a big old tanker full of gasoline would be nice. I bet they have plenty to spare. InstaPundit says that an easy way to give is through Amazon, which is running an aid campaign; 100% of the money Amazon collects will go directly to the Red Cross. Fox News says that, and I quote, a coalition of "the United States, Australia, Japan, India, and the United Nations" will be coordinating aid. So Clare Short has this to say, from the Scotsman via Matt Drudge.

United States President George Bush was tonight accused of trying to undermine the United Nations by setting up a rival coalition to coordinate relief following the Asian tsunami disaster.

The president has announced that the US, Japan, India and Australia would coordinate the world’s response.

But former International Development Secretary Clare Short said that role should be left to the UN.

“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.

“Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme.

“It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.”

Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters.

She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with.

“I don’t know what that is about but it sounds very much, I am afraid, like the US trying to have a separate operation and not work with the rest of the world through the UN system,” she added.

Fuck you, Clare Short. You're no goddamn help at all, and all you can do is bitch. Besides, if Fox News is right, you're wrong, because they say the UN is part of the coalition. Jesus Christ. This is the clearest case ever of "no matter what you do, it's wrong" anti-Americanism, not to mention a slam at the uppity former colony India, which is of course incapable of doing anything like, say, taking some responsibility and getting some shit done, because it's just got too many problems, you know.

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