I have really had it with the United Nations. In the worst-case scenario, the neglect towards and/or the corruption in the Oil-for-Food program led to over $23 billion in kickbacks and payoffs from Saddam Hussein’s immoral regime to European nations, their leaders, and corporations. Conspiratorially, some of the nations that are purported to be the beneficiaries of these monies – France, Germany, Russia – were the same actors who, almost two years ago, spearheaded the fight against the U.S.-led action against the Baathist regime in Iraq. Save for the diligent work by William Safire in The New York Times and the occasional report on Fox News however, Oil-for-Food has been ignored. But that’s O.K, your leftist media professor may tell you, because William Safire is not really a journalist, he’s just a token (and thank the secular god he’s retiring!), and Fox News, of course, is produced deep under Pennsylvania Avenue where the bowels of the White House meet the gates of Hell.
These days, of course, the tragedy that has befallen the Pacific Ocean basin has refocused much of the world’s attention, and has allowed many in the international community to selfishly redirect criticism towards the United States. As most of you already know, it was suggested by one international bureaucrat soon after the tsunami that the United States and other wealthy nations had been “stingy” with their aid pledges. In under a week, the United States had pledged $350 million to the relief efforts, but because the administration took some time to analyze the situation as to decide the best procedure they were berated with criticism. They were called stingy because the initial offering $15 million, followed by a raise to $35 million the next day, was apparently insufficient in the minds of some paper-pushing bureaucrats from Scandinavia. The United States, along with the rest of the “wealthy” nations of the world, have offered a tremendous amount of money for the relief effort, with the bulk of the pledged funds coming after the comments in question. It’s a shame that these funds may be interpreted by some as the result of a submission to the international community rather than the natural course of American generosity.
Domestically, the left made sure not to miss an opportunity to criticize the President, suggesting that he missed an opportunity to show good will to the nations of the world by coming out in public and speaking about the tragedy. Instead, the President and his administration were monitoring the situation, assessing information such as casualty counts and what sort of assistance was needed in the region, waiting to act at the proper time. Colin Powell explained it well in the week following the tsunami, reminding those who criticized the president for not “speaking” sooner as well as those who called the United States stingy exactly why they are wrong. First, it would be purposeless for the president to come out and say “I feel your pain” into the camera while biting his lip (Clinton was too busy doing it himself in Britain right away, never too late to snag attention for himself even under the circumstances). That is nothing more than stupid politics, and personally, I would rather have my president receiving information in those anxious hours after the attack instead of sitting in a makeup chair preparing to go on television. Second, the initial aid offerings were directed towards groups like the International Red Cross, who were on the ground providing emergency assistance to victims, and the sums were quite satisfactory. About five days after the disaster, the big money was finally promised, $350 million, because the proper network had been set up in the region to bring in the desperately needed supplies. Most of this network, not coincidentally, was facilitated through the Defense Department through the use of military transport and the manpower of American troops. To announce an enormous sum ten minutes after the tsunami would have been worthless; the infrastructure of the countries would have been unable to handle that large a supply of goods. Plus, the magnitude of the destruction increased daily, and all nations were adjusting their responses accordingly. Finally, the nations of the region were extremely grateful to the world community who had offered them assistance, especially the United States.
It’s a stressful thing to have to listen to bureaucrats complain that not “enough” money is going to international causes from Mr. and Mrs. American Taxpayer, especially when you know, deep down, that he might be saying it because the more aid his organization gets, the more he can kickback into his own coffer. It’s stressful when you can go onto amazon.com and see what Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer do with the money the government so graciously lets them keep, and how quickly that sum reached eight digits. Finally, it’s especially stressful when, during all this criticism about your country and their (at the time) $35 million donation, you can turn on the television and see on a graphic that France, the international darling, had only pledged $160,000. But hey, blame America first!