Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bush Compassion II

From Atrios, we find another shining example of Bush compassion. Upwards of 80,000 people have been killed by the tsunami that hit Asia over the weekend. What' Bush doing on behalf of America? His compassionate best:
The Bush administration yesterday pledged $15 million to Asian nations hit by a tsunami that has killed more than 22,500 people, although the United Nations' humanitarian-aid chief called the donation "stingy."
There goes those uppity United Nations people again. $15 million isn't chump change. But I guess the stingy lable hurt. Appearances matter you know. The amount is now up another $20 million. But let's add some perspective on that $35 million, shall we:
The war on terror will take center stage at next month’s second inauguration for President Bush in Washington, D.C.

[...]

There will be a total of nine inaugural balls this year, a youth concert, a parade, a fireworks display and, the official swearing in ceremony at noon on Jan. 20.

[...]

The estimated budget for the event is $30-40 million, but that will not cover security costs.
Bush compassion. 80,000 people die, and the US offers $35 million in aide. But to inaugurate Bush, the US will spend at least as much, not counting security costs to the tax payers.

But speaking of Bush, where is he?:
The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

[...]

Some foreign policy specialists said Bush's actions and words both communicated a lack of urgency about an event that will loom as large in the collective memories of several countries as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do in the United States. "When that many human beings die -- at the hands of terrorists or nature -- you've got to show that this matters to you, that you care," said Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.
So we're spending more on a party than we are on relief for a natural disaster that killed over 80,000 people. So what if our president has yet to make any public statement about this tragedy. So what if Bush thinks clearing brush and staying on vacation is more important than world relations. This is America, the greatest, most generous and caring nation on the planet. Um, about that:
Among the world's two dozen wealthiest countries, the United States often is among the lowest in donors per capita for official development assistance worldwide, even though the totals are larger. According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of 30 wealthy nations, the United States gives the least -- at 0.14 percent of its gross national product, compared with Norway, which gives the most at 0.92 percent.
As Carter notes in his post, if the US is a leader, then let's lead.