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Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 08:14 am
Colin Powell mentioned a few days ago that the US will probably end up spending billions on tsunami aid. Since then, completely in line with Powell’s remark, we’ve learned that funding has increased to $350 million; yet CNN persists with the view that this was prompted by baiting from the press and UN:
The increase followed criticism that the initial amount was far from enough.
As contributor Alan R.M. Jones writes: “Yeah, that’s it. The US only gives substantial aid when middle ranking UN bureaucrats make ill-considered remarks. If that were true, the US Treasury would have gone bust a long time ago.”
Maybe those who are eager to blame modern man should stop and consider how much worse it would be without modern technology.
The U.S. is sending two naval groups. One of the functions of these ships will be to generate fresh drinking water in large quantities. The ships can also generate power to aid relief work and provide manpower to distribute aid, and security to protect it. Also, FedEx and the U.S. Air Force are providing numerous cargo planes to carry aid to the afflicted countries. And of course, many of the millions being donated are available only because of technolgy and capitalism. Clearly, many lives will be saved because of quick action, rapid transportation and medical advancements—the fruits of capitalism that didn’t exist 100 years ago.
One of the two naval groups sent by the stingy US Navy includes the USS Bonhomme Richard, currently headed for Sri Lanka. Reader Jeremy Garrett forwards some details on the vessel, gleaned from Tom Clancy’s non-fiction Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit:
According to Clancy, the USS Bonhomme Richard’s sister ship the USS Wasp is listed in Virginia’s disaster preparedness plans as the fourth-largest hospital in the state when it is docked at the Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia.
The USS Wasp and her sister ships have 600+ beds, six operating theaters, eighteen post-operative/intensive care beds, six isolation ward beds, 36 primary care beds, and extensive radiology dental facilities onboard. In addition, they can use some of the bunks for the Marines as hospital beds when they are on shore. The only larger hospital facilities on board ships are those of the US Navy’s Mercy and Comfort, which are hospital ships based on the hulls of oil tankers.
The Marines will also be carrying a significant number of helicopters and various kinds of landing craft. That will be a big help in reaching areas that have been cut off by the tsunami damage. The Marines also have a large capability to make potable water and often end up helping to supply water to other military units during missions. The book was published in the 1990s, but it should still be accurate. Clancy even toured the Bonhomme Richard while it was under construction.
Sounds to me like Bush was busy getting support that could provide immediate help to the area while the critics were bashing the US contributions. I live in Alabama and I can tell you from personal experiences with hurricanes that money is helpful in the medium and long term, but it’s people and resources at the site of the disaster in the first few days and weeks that do the most to lessen suffering for the victims. This is especially true in this case where the large scale of the disaster is overwhelming local resources.
Bush should know what he’s doing when it comes to disaster relief since he was the Governor of Texas through hurricanes, floods, and tornados. His advisors are no novices at disaster relief efforts either. Bush’s Chief of Staff, Andrew H. Card, coordinated relief efforts for Hurricane Andrew while serving in the elder Bush’s administration.
Personally, I think I’ll trust the judgment of the President who actually has experience in dealing with natural disasters over UN officials and reporters who have never lifted anything heavier than a pen to help out.