While We Wait

The people in Burma are dying.  So who will intervene?

We stood by while Saddaam Hussein used gas on his own people, then cried “horror” at the atrocities a decade later, with photospreads of mass graves in magazines as testament to “Big Bad Saddaam.”  No, we waited until it was again politically expedient to use that mass murder as an excuse in our reasoning for attacking Iraq after 9/11. 

Not to Godwin the argument, but we waited until directly attacked to intervene in the atrocities by Nazi Germany in WWII.  Whatever happened to the “never again” mantra?

Make no mistake about it.  The government of Myanmar, aka Burma, is willfully contributing to the deaths of thousands more of its own people by not allowing aid to reach the citizenry. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have no food, water or shelter. International aid agencies on the ground say they have reached only 10% of those that need help.

Despite this, Burma’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Friday saying it was not ready to allow foreign aid workers to enter the country.

The junta said it was happy to accept aid, but insisted it would control the distribution itself.

This will probably garner me a lot of harassment, but it is high time the UN used those troops they’ve got.  Soveriegnty be damned.  I’m no globalist.  I think nations should certainly maintain their independence and trade agreements.  But when thousands of people are dying of starvation and infection because the government involved, which is in way over its head in dealing with this catastrophe, wants to decide who lives and who dies just as a power trip, then that government can go straight to hell for all I care.  Send in UN workers with the food and supplies over the objections of the Myanmar government.  If they fire on the UN workers (which is fairly analogous to kneecapping a nun), then send in the goddamned UN troops and protect the aid workers.  If people are going to die, they deserve to know that they didn’t die because, once again, the world was afraid to offend a government and offered only apathy. 

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5 thoughts on “While We Wait

  1. As an added little aside to your comments…(with which I agree for the most part)…you will note that there is irony in this current situation.

    Almost immediately, the US moved Naval ships into the area and geared up for another of our endless humanitarian efforts (as we did with the Tsunami in an around Indonesia). The US, immediately, bumped the $250,000 minimum on disaster relief up to $3 Million before the storm had even passed and released those funds (even less than a week after we froze Myanmar assets in the US to punish the Junta there…before the cyclone hit).

    The UN, who had the proverbial thumb up their posterior as usual were still gearing up to arrive in Myanmar with their first aid packages while the Junta of depotic Generals outright refused axis to US Naval personnel into their country to assess damages, and plan the relief effort. The Naval and Marine forces off the coast have been in a constant readiness state ever since.

    Here’s the irony. The UN released a press release chastising the US for not doing anything even before they, themselves arrived with any aid. They stated that the US should hand off all financial aid and goods to them for distribution. The US, of course, did nothing of the sort due to the track record of the UN taking their cut and maybe distributing the booty to the rightful parties in good time.

    Now, the UN has suspended relief efforts because they are taking the same stance with the Myanmar Junta.

    The people of Myanmar, of course, suffer the consequences of their depotic “leaders.” The UN, again, looks like a bunch of powerless ninnies (which they are)…and the US (eventually George Bush) will get the blame.

    And the world turns.

  2. Which is very much why I said the UN needs to do this, not just the US. People don’t want us to be the “world police”–fine. Then we take the most recognized international body and make it do what it should do–protect human rights. In a tangible way.

  3. Jamie,

    That would be wonderful…except the United Nations is, quite frankly, just as corrupt as the Myanmar Junta if not more so. The Junta of “Burma” is out front with their position. The United Nations, on the other hand, seems to fancy themselves a positive influence that actually accomplish something other than personal profit, redistrubution of wealth, and anti-semetic rhetoric.

    They are a lost cause. John Bolten had it right when he said the top ten floors of the UN building in NY could disappear, and no one would notice.

    Cheers,
    JR

  4. Jamie, I agree with JR… we will have trouble getting supplies into the areas where it is needed. I feel for the people of the country -it’s a shame we longer help insurrection groups over throw despots and dictators.

    I’m waiting for the Democrats to start turning the heat and light away from the corrupt govt in Burma and to W for not doing enough… it’s gotta be coming… shades of Katrina and all.

  5. Once again the US is standing at the ready, ships in port, money ready to go. In 10 years the world will turn around and accuse us of doing nothing.

    The UN is useless as ever. I used to think they were good at humanitarian aid. But now they are controlled by thugs like the Junta – so why would they do anything to oppose them.

    I was in Burma last summer, of course I only saw what the government wanted me to see. Here is an interesting observation about that country. It is probably the most Buddhist country in the world. The level of religiosity is probably similar to what Italy was like 200 years ago. But here’s a big difference, for all complaints people have about Catholicism – there has always been an element of personal responsibility and looking to improve the future.

    Buddhism is very different, there is a real sense that one gets what one deserves in life. If things are going bad – it’s meant to be that way. I really got the feeling that as much as people hate the Junta there – and they do. There is also a sense that this is their lot in life at this time, and nothing will change that.

    Which is why I was thrilled when it was the Buddhist monks the finally rose up and said – enough. I’m sure many more of them were murdered than we know.
    Now this natural disaster, and the world sits back and lets people die. I don’t think America should overthrow the government, but there is enough power and clout between China and Asean to do something, but other than words, they won’t do anything.

    And you wonder why, with all it’s faults, I am grateful for our Western culture, with Church, and guns and really standing for the little guy.

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