Wednesday, December 29, 2004
In the aftermath of the devastation left behind by multiple tsunamis in East Africa, India and Southeast Asia on Sunday, President Bush quickly sprung into action today and pledged $35 million to aid in the relief efforts. Earlier in the week, when issuing a statement from his Mission Control Ranch in Crawford, Texas, the President had initially only promised $15 million. UN Humanitarian Aid Chief, Jan Egeland, was criticized for saying publicly that many rich western nations, presumably including the US, were being stingy with their aid. When one considers the degree of devastation, number of people killed, and from a purely US-centric viewpoint, the hundreds of Americans who are still missing, $35 million is chump change, in my opinion.
Our country is spending billions of dollars and thousands of soldiers' lives trying to rebuild Iraq with no plan in sight to end our occupation, short of "Let's make them have elections." The tsunami affected 11 countries and estimates of the number of dead from the Red Cross indicate initial casualties of approximately 100,000, a third of which are children. International Relief Organizations like the Red Cross and UN are also predicting that the number of deaths could double during the aftermath because of disease from ruined sewage and sanitation systems and to be blunt in the words of Jonathan Davis: dead bodies everywhere.
Need more data? This was sent to me by a friend today:
US Tsunami Relief Pledge
2004 Florida Hurricane Relief
$3.17 Billion Source
Cost of Bush's 2005 Inauguration
$40 Million+ Source
US per capita Tsunami Relief Pledge
$35 million/295 million = $0.12 Source
Australian per capita Relief Pledge
$27.6 million/19 million = $1.45 Source
(in US dollars)
To me it's ironic to claim that you're pro-life, as the President tends to be when it works out for him politically, and then when an opportunity to prove it comes along, the President takes the foreign aid equivalent of a check swing after the ball has been thrown back to the pitcher. We're spending about $35 million every few days in Iraq, resulting in the deaths of our soldiers and innocent Iraqis. A great example of our priorities. And we only offerred more aid, after the international community thought our initial $15 million commitment was a sick joke. If ever you need evidence that Republicans are greedy, selfish dicks, look no further. Can't wait until they tackle the domestic agenda that Bush keeps talking about.