Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I hate to sound flip in light of the tremendous disaster that has just befallen us, but the question begs to be asked: Where is the international community, particularly the UN?

We just took a tremendous hit. In terms of loss of life, it appears estimates have ballooned from approximately 80 to at least 1000. In terms of economic impact, we've lost access for an unknown period of time to the fifth-largest port in the world, we've lost (again for an unknown period of time) 25% of our oil refining capacity, and we've frankly all but lost a major city: New Orleans. It could be months before any of these issues are resolved, and New Orleans will never be the same city, no matter what. The flooding won't receed tomorrow or the next day. Katrina headed north and swelled every river and tributory heading south. It will be days before the flooding even begins to receed. We can't even comtemplate how to start cleaning up until the waters receed. Meanwhile, countless bodies will head out to sea--people forever unaccounted for.

Yes, the tsunami was far worse in terms of loss of life and a far greater humanitarian disaster. But we're past that. Yes, I'm sure they're still struggling, but since they tossed the non-Muslims out of the relief effort I've sort of lost sympathy for them, and with that, the UN now has troops and money to spare.

So where is the UN for us now? Where is Jan Egelund, who accused the US of being "stingy" even while we sent a naval armada to the relief effort and ramped up our monetary committment with every following day? Where are the UN types who accused Bush of sitting on his hands, even though he immediately ordered said armada to the scene then waited for reports from the scene to tell him whether it was enough or more was required--and meanwhile Koffie Annan was skiing in Colorado?

I don't mean to be flip--I know that these are all rhetorical questions. The UN will never, ever come to the aid of this country no matter what happens. And I don't know that I'd want them anyway. Jan Egelund will never, ever back down from his "stingy" statement even though we gave far more than any other country, and he won't give us a single Euro in the wake of this disaster.

But the questions beg to be asked, particularly in light of the criticism we suffered. The Australians and the New Zealanders really took the bull by the horns in the wake of the tsunami. They deserve tremendous credit. But we also responded in force to an event half the world away, eventually shouldering the brunt of the relief--until we were all chased away for not being of the appropriate religion, that is.

So where's our relief? Jan Egelund???

No comments: