Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I'm pissed

When someone gives a gift, the last thing they should expect is ridicule from some dingbat way out in left field that it's not enough. But that's exactly what Jan Egeland, UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, did.

After a pledge by the U.S. of an initial $15 million in disaster aid to those affected by the earthquake in the Indian Ocean and resulting tsunamis, Egeland responded in typical U.N. manner:

"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."
(Doncha like the word, "donors"?)

Thanks for the slam, Mr. Egeland. Neither the United States nor its taxpayers have ever been "stingy" when it comes to helping those in need. And I sure as heck don't appreciate your idea that you feel that you have the right to reach into my pocket and take what you want. That's what you're really saying. You want my government to confiscate more of my hard-earned money, in order to hand it over to you upon your demand.

I don't think so.

"If, actually, the foreign assistance of many countries now is 0.1 or 0.2 percent of the gross national income, I think that is stingy, really," he said. "I don't think that is very generous."
Generous? Who the heck do you think you are, you bloated bureaucrat, to decide whether or not someone else is being generous enough?

"It bothers me that we -- the rich nations -- are not becoming more generous the more rich we become."

The average rich country gives just 0.2 percent of its national income to international solidarity and international assistance, he said.

"We keep 99.8 percent to ourselves, on average. I don't think that's very generous," he said

It bothers you? That's just so speshul.

You know what's really hysterical? (A quick disclaimer: I'm not minimizing the horrendous nature of the Asian disaster.) We had a couple of problems here in the U.S. this year, Mr. Egeland. Definitely not the massive loss of life, thank God, but we still have tens of thousands of our own that still need help after the hurricanes and wildfires.

I can't speak for any other part of the United States, but the only member state nation I know of that came to our aid down here in Florida was Canada, sending truckloads of power crews and equipment that traveled from up there to even farther south than I am, to help restore electrical services when millions were out.

Perhaps I missed it, but I don't remember the U.N. doing a darned thing.

Well, now the U.S. has just pledged another $20 million with assurances that more will come. That doesn't include the military flights filled with relief supplies that are already on their way . . .

(But that's the U.S. government, not the non-governmental organizations that American citizens are donating to strictly on their own, without hesititation. You didn't mention that, Mr. Egeland. Did you. Of course you didn't. Why?)

Then again, this isn't the first time the U.S. has been called "stingy" and it won't be the last.

"In one of the first signs of the effects of the ever tightening federal budget, in the past two months the Bush administration has reduced its contributions to global food aid programs aimed at helping millions of people climb out of poverty." Nowhere in this page 3 article does the New York Times reporter Elizabeth Becker place these cutbacks in context.

The Times does not tell readers that the United States is the world's largest food aid donor by far. In 2004, the United States provided $826,469,172 -- almost a billion dollars -- to the United Nations World Food Program.
We here in the U.S. have kind of gotten used to it, Mr. Egeland, when it comes to the U.N.

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