Tuesday, January 04, 2005

W Action

The only people complaining about the "slowness" of response by the US are the media and The Left.

Well, we have interesting comments from the front line on how the Americans are, can you imagine, leading the way.

The US military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They completely have taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but is now completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operation room, teams of doctors, water and food. Most of the patients who were lying in the hospital untreated for a week have undergone medical treatment by the US teams by this afternoon. US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organize the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport. A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven't been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground. IOM staff (note: this is a USAID-funded organization) is very busy briefing the incoming Americans and Australians about the situation.

There are two blogs of interest monitoring the tsunami recovery efforts.

The first is The Diplomad (source of quote above). This blog written by US foreign service officers is an excellent resource to keep an eye on what the UN is up to (or more accurately, not doing).

Well, dear friends, we're now into the tenth day of the tsunami crisis and in this battered corner of Asia, the UN is nowhere to be seen -- unless you count at meetings, in five-star hotels, and holding press conferences.

Aussies and Yanks continue to carry the overwhelming bulk of the burden, but some other fine folks also have jumped in: e.g., the New Zealanders have provided C-130 lift and an excellent and much-needed potable water distribution system; the Singaporeans have provided great helo support; the Indians have a hospital ship taking position off Sumatra. Spain and Netherlands have sent aircraft with supplies.

The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats. Just today the city's Embassies got a letter from the local UN representative requesting a meeting for "Ms. Margareeta Wahlstrom, United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance in Tsunami-afected countries." Wow! Put that on a business card! And she must be really, really special because she has the word "coordinator" twice in her title!

I'd say this is healthy and deserved ridicule.

More here.

Day 9 of the tsunami crisis.

I know I had promised to lay off the UN for a bit . . . but I can't. As one reader commented on a previous Diplomad posting on the UN, "it's like watching a train wreck" -- you know it's horrible, but you've just got to look at it.

In this part of the tsunami-wrecked Far Abroad, the UN is still nowhere to be seen where it counts, i.e., feeding and helping victims. The relief effort continues to be a US-Australia effort, with Singapore now in and coordinating closely with the US and Australia. Other countries are also signing up to be part of the US-Australia effort. Nobody wants to be "coordinated" by the UN. The local UN reps are getting desperate. . . .

I don't watch Legacy Media anymore, but I'll bet you won't be hearing this on The Nightly News. . . .

The second blog is Chrenkoff. Based Down Under, Chrenkoff is an excellent tsunami recovery news resource interlaced with understated commentary.

Your friendly Agence France Presse reporting: . . . .

"US Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived here [in South Asia] to show the US flag and assess needs in the unprecedented international relief effort under way after last week's Asia tsunami catastrophe...

"Their trip came with the Bush administration still on the defensive over criticism it was slow to react to the December 26 tsunami that battered a dozen countries across the Indian Ocean and killed more than 145,000 people."
How come when Kofi Annan visits the disaster areas he's not reported as "showing the UN flag?" Beats me.

Me too. But hey, I'm just a stupid Conservative.

Seriously, it is refeshing to have a President who doesn't make a point to go on television and bite his lower lip, but takes action.

But, then we have more lazy Legacy Media here wishing for those photo op moments.

Like it or not, Bush fostered the impression that he was painfully slow to react to the post-Christmas disaster while at the ranch. Three full days with no appearance before the cameras? What else did he have to do that was more important?

Well, as Hindrocket points out:

Oh, I don't know. I supposed he could have ordered an aircraft carrier and a Marine strike group to the disaster scene. That would be more important than giving a useless press conference, which would have done nothing at all to help anyone. These press complaints are typical of the elevation of symbolism over substance that permeates newspaper coverage of many issues.

There is, of course, a subtext to press complaints that President Bush was slow to give a press conference. As Kurtz notes, the Los Angeles Times, one of the country's most left-wing newspapers, made the subtext explicit:

President Bush's initial, halting response to the Indian Ocean tsunami catastrophe, followed within days by strong expressions of concern and decisive action, spotlighted a governing style that sometimes finds its stride only after stumbling at the gate. This seems especially true when Bush is confronted with a cataclysmic event and must improvise quickly -- as with the Dec. 26 tsunami or the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. . . .

Michael Moore remains a powerful influence on the Democratic Party.


And shameless.