Okay, a couple of the points I made about American Greatness in a previous chapter went like this:
"The United States of America feeds more people worldwide than all the people who blame us for other countries' poverty could even dream of feeding."
"The American Medical Profession and Pharmaceutical Industry should be lauded for the role they play as the premier lifesavers of the world."
Nowhere has this been better demonstrated than in the American response to the devastation in Southern Asia left in the wake of a tsunami strike, a response that some useless United Nations official - I could type his name but I'd rather not waste the effort on such a true fool - categorized as "Stingy". Stingy? You wanna know this idiot's concept of "Stingy" is? It was spelled out by a host of sources over the past couple of weeks. Michael Graham laid it out the most succinctly with his column of January 5th:
"The American taxpayers are on the hook for at least $350 million in direct aid to the victims of the Christmas tsunami, and the final tally will be closer to $1 billion. American warships have arrived in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, bringing food, medicine and expertise to help the hurting and recover the dead. American citizens have spontaneously donated millions in cash to help the victims of this disaster--$3 million at an website in just 48 hours. And to top it off, President Bush has sent two former presidents to panhandle across the country for millions more in donations."
Columnist Jack Kelly includes a few telling quotes in his column, like this from a Dutch diplomatic sitrep from Jan. 2:
"The U.S. military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They have completely taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but now is completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operations rooms, teams of doctors, water and food...U.S. helicopters fly to places which haven't been reached for the whole week and drop food... No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground."
And this from the Jan. 3 Der Spiegel:
"U.S. Navy flying aid missions, Bundeswehr still looking things over" (Headline)
"While advance teams of the Bundeswehr (German army) are still camping in three tents at the Banda Aceh airport, Americans, Australians and New Zealanders have already flown tons of aid packages into disaster areas."
And then he uses another quote from the CBC to highlight more international shortcomings: "On Jan 3rd, Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team was still in Canada. Apparently unaware of the irony, the Canadian Broadcasting Company reported that 'the (Canadian) military created DART in 1996 because of its experience in Rwanda two years earlier, when international relief organizations arrived too late to save thousands of people from a cholera epidemic. That convinced the federal government it needed to be able to respond more quickly.' Maybe next tsunami."
And in highlighting the absolutely moral bankruptcy of the United Nations, Kelly uses another quote from a foreign service officer to debunk something else said about the UN's efforts by that same aforementioned fool:
"The UN is taking credit for things that hard-working, street savvy USAID folks have done. It was USAID working with their amazing network of local contacts who scrounged up trucks, drivers and fuel; organized the convoy and sent it off to deliver critical supplies.
"A UN air-freight handling centre in Aceh? Bull! It's the Aussies and the Yanks who are running the air ops into Aceh. We have people working and sleeping on the tarmac, surrounded by bugs, mud, stench and death, who every day bring in U.S. and Aussie C-130s and the U.S. choppers...We have no fancy aid workers' retreat... People are dying and what's the first thing the UN wants to do? Set up a camp for relief workers, one that would be 'fully self contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything."
Is such American generosity unusual? No! Larry Elder spells it out beautifully:
"Last year, American government provided 35 percent of worldwide relief aid. In private contributions, American individuals, estates, foundations and corporations gave over $240 billion to charitable causes in 2003, according to Giving USA Foundation. Privately, Americans give at least $34 billion overseas.
"Josette Shiner, former Empower America president, points out that more than 80 percent of Americans belong to a 'voluntary association,' and 75 percent of households report charitable contributions. Shiner wrote in 1999, 'Americans look even better compared to other leading nations. According to recent surveys, 73 percent of Americans made a charitable contribution in the previous 12 months, as compared to 44 percent of Germans, and 43 percent of French citizens. The average sum of donations over 12 months was $851 for Americans, $120 for Germans, and $96 for the French. In addition, 49 percent of Americans volunteered over the previous 12 months, as compared to 13 percent of Germans and 19 percent of the French.'
"Of the 184 subscriber nations of the World Bank — which provides financial assistance and debt relief to developing countries for particular sectors or projects with low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants — contributions paid in by America make up over 17 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) focuses on providing financing for general support of a country's balance of payments and international reserves. Again, of the IMF's 184 nations, the U.S. does the heavy lifting, providing 17.5 percent of contributions.
"What about debt forgiveness? The United States forgave about $14 billion in foreign debt from the late '80s through 1995. Since 1994, the U.S. has worked with the Paris Club — an informal forum of creditor countries — to review, negotiate and adopt debt relief programs for poor countries, recently badgering France and Germany into agreeing to forgive 80 percent of the $39 billion owed by Iraq.
America twice assisted Europe in World Wars I and II. America took the lead in defeating the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and continues to provide troops and military assistance to European nations and Southeast Asia."
As for all the criticism against America from The Fool and others, Thomas Sowell has two questions:
"First, what country has done the most to help the victims of this natural disaster? Second, what country has been criticized most for not doing enough?
"The answer to both questions is the United States of America.
"Even the $350 million officially announced as American aid to help the tsunami victims does not count the cost of sending American military planes and naval ships, including an aircraft carrier with a crew of thousands, to aid in the rescues and provide medical treatment.
"As with many other natural disasters, aid pouring into the stricken areas tends to pile up at transit points — ports or airfields, for example — while the victims suffer and die elsewhere.
"American aid has been particularly important in this regard because it includes not only the supplies of food, water, and medicine which are arriving in the region from various countries around the world, but the logistical support to get those supplies to the people needing them, as fast as possible under the chaotic conditions in the aftermath of widespread destruction.
"It is American planes and helicopters that are doing much of the heavy lifting, rushing food and medical supplies to people and rushing stricken people to medical treatment centers."
In her latest column Michelle Malkin paid tribute to one of the biggest contributors to the American relief effort, the United States Ship Abraham Lincoln:
"Too much of the world, and too many here at home, take the amazing capabilities of ships like the Abraham Lincoln for granted. The carrier's 1,092-foot flight deck outperforms some of the best commercial airports, launching and recovering up to 90 aircraft on hundreds of flights every day, according to the Navy. Eight steam turbine generators produce enough electrical power to serve a small city. The ship carries approximately 3 million gallons of fuel, and can stock food and supplies for 90 days.
"Oh, and those much-maligned by environmentalists nuclear reactors help turn seawater into more than 400,000 gallons of fresh water daily — clean, safe water desperately needed by survivors. Sailors aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln have reportedly even stopped taking showers to make every last drop of fresh water available to tsunami survivors for drinking.
"One of the most touching series of photos available at the Navy's website features Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Savoy and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Davy Nugent preparing loaves of bread in the aircraft carrier's bakery for tsunami victims. The bakery produces between 600-800 loaves a day. Here are two fine, young American sailors — representative of thousands of Americans in uniform like them — lending their skills to help the suffering.
"Aboard the carrier, every last crew member — from medical personnel to engineers to bakers — is pitching in to help with the relief effort. The crew of about 6,000 has deployed at least 10 of its 17 helicopters to deliver them to tsunami victims on the coast. Surgical teams from the carrier have set up triage sites on Sultan Iskandar Muda Air Force Base in Banda Aceh, and are working with teams from Carrier Air Wing Two and the International Organization for Migration."
And might I take this moment to remind every one of the Lincoln's original purpose. The ship, the planes and the people are all built and trained to kill people and break things, and yet the American Supercarrier is the biggest life-saving asset currently in the region!
The American effort is even visible on the local level. This was the headline of the New York Daily News:
"$103,474 IN ONE DAY!"
The News's readers contributed a total of "nearly a quarter-million dollars, all of which will go to AmeriCares for humanitarian aid in South Asia." And just yesterday the paper reported that a winner of its weekly cash contest donated his prize to the effort as well.
And finally, President George W. Bush - that evil, misleading, warmongering, insensitive bastard - contributed $10,000 out of his own pocket.
This, readers, is what That Fool quantifies as "stingy". If you agree with him, then I have this quote for you from Michael Graham:
"…I have a message from my fellow Americans to all the corrupt, useless Euroweenies at the United Nations, and it involves your lips and our behinds."