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  • Burma

    The death toll from a typhoon in Burma is estimated to have climed past 20,000. This is a disaster whose scale has even forced one of the world's most evil military dictatorships to overcome its deep distrust of foreign influence. Much of the country's infrastructure has been destroyed with little hope of repair in a badly crippled political climate in which the government abuses its own people - there is evidence that Burmese officials failed to warn villages that were known to be in the path of the storm.

    It's even brought Laura Bush to the White House podium in one of the most memorable moments of her tenure as first lady (although the White House itself delivered a highly questionable ultimatum regarding American aid).

    Pay attention folks. Give if you can. The aftermath of this storm may exceed the damage of the storm itself.

  • #2
    Re: Burma

    If you're not going to link to it, could you at least quote the "questionable ultimatum regarding American aid," and perhaps one of your questions about it?
    ---
    Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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    • #3
      Re: Burma

      Now CNN is carrying a story that claims the estimated death toll may be over 100,000.

      Have been searching for our "highly questionable ultimatum," but to no avail.
      ---
      Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Burma

        As bad as it is now, it's going to get worse. Much worse. It's reported that they are dumping the dead in rivers. That is going to lead to extreme breakouts of disease. We could be looking at an additional 20-30 thousand dead if its not contained.

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        • #5
          Re: Burma

          Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
          If you're not going to link to it, could you at least quote the "questionable ultimatum regarding American aid," and perhaps one of your questions about it?
          When the Bush administration first annouced its offer of $250,000 in aid on Monday, it came with significant strings attached - significant in that there was no chance of the aid ever being accepted by Burmese military rule. I (as well as just about every diplomat) questioned the purpose of a disaster aid offer whose failure was a foregone conclusion. Fortunately, the conditions quietly changed when a new offer of $3 million was announced less than 24 hours later.

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          • #6
            Re: Burma

            Originally posted by AMosely View Post
            When the Bush administration first annouced its offer of $250,000 in aid on Monday, it came with significant strings attached - significant in that there was no chance of the aid ever being accepted by Burmese military rule. I (as well as just about every diplomat) questioned the purpose of a disaster aid offer whose failure was a foregone conclusion. Fortunately, the conditions quietly changed when a new offer of $3 million was announced less than 24 hours later.
            I'm not exactly trying to accuse you of making things up, but you didn't answer my question at all, and I'm sure that if such a thing had actually happened you would easily be able to point to a single news article or link explaining what got "just about every diplomat" to question the offer of aid. Please post a link, or actually say something substantive about what you're talking about so we can actually discuss actual details. Which diplomats? All of them in the world? In our country? Names and quotes please.

            In the mean time, the initial amount of 250,000 that was available for the embassy has not been rescinded, and some of that money has already been released. The amount of 3 million is a completely separate amount, and you should not confuse the two. They're from different entities entirely.
            ---
            Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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            • #7
              Re: Burma

              Originally posted by Ferris Bueller View Post
              As bad as it is now, it's going to get worse. Much worse. It's reported that they are dumping the dead in rivers. That is going to lead to extreme breakouts of disease. We could be looking at an additional 20-30 thousand dead if its not contained.
              Yea, as soon as I read that bodies were going into rivers, my first thought was, "they're screwed." That whole situation over there is all sorts of bad.
              [squadl]
              "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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              • #8
                Re: Burma

                We need a "citation needed" BBCode. Kinda like these physical stickers you can put on signs making questionable claims:

                http://biphenyl.org/blog/2008/01/01/citation-needed/
                Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                • #9
                  Re: Burma

                  Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
                  I'm not exactly trying to accuse you of making things up
                  Not exacltly. I honestly don't even care that much about Bush's approach to this and regret having even commented on it, that's not what this is about.

                  Regardless, my second post was innacurate and you are correct that the initial $250,000 was without strings attached. It came out of an already established diplomatic disaster relief fund. The strings were attached to any future aid, which although not on the table was to require the allowance of American aid workers. On Monday, several members of the Bush administration alluded to this without specifics, including Bush, Laura Bush and Dana Perino. This approach was criticized by many diplomats, including Australia and the E.U., as well as representatives of the U.N. The following articles include these refrences as well as later mention of the money being attached to the USAID organization, which (at least earlier in the week) was not approved to enter the country while other international groups were.

                  http://www.reuters.com/article/lates.../idUSN06469115
                  http://www.ocala.com/article/2008050...319/0/sports01
                  http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/.../07myanmar.php

                  So, to again answer your question about why I find the strings (and the rhetoric) attached questionable - why play politics? The U.S. is the only country to have attached strings and/or stipulations to its pledge beyond the initial $250K, and as far as I can tell the only one specifying the organization that will distribute the funds. Why not funnel the money through the International Red Cross instead of only through USAID? It seems that the situation is rapidly changing, but these were the questions I had in mind on Monday.
                  Last edited by Mosely; 05-07-2008, 05:26 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Burma

                    Gents, how about we focus on the issue being the fact that these people need help. Not the egotistical political maneuvering that has been going on in the wake of such a horrible tragedy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Burma

                      It's difficult to say which aid organizations are being permitted into Burma, but the International Red Cross and UNICEF were already there, so I assume it's safe to say that relief through these organizations are being allowed in by the government.

                      http://www.google.com/myanmarcyclone/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Burma

                        Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                        So, to again answer your question about why I find the strings (and the rhetoric) attached questionable - why play politics? The U.S. is the only country to have attached strings and/or stipulations to its pledge beyond the initial $250K, and as far as I can tell the only one specifying the organization that will distribute the funds.
                        I would be interested to know which governments have given more than that without any "strings" attached.

                        I also don't think it's irresponsible to want to ensure that money donated for disaster relief is used for disaster relief. I see nothing unreasonable about tying monetary help to a requirement to accept other help. Sure, we have millions available for this disaster, but the amount of help that the US Navy and other US resources could provide is quite probably invaluable. Time is of the essence and there are some things that money can't buy in a situation like this. Stopping certain things from happening right now could save millions of dollars and thousands of lives...
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                        • #13
                          Re: Burma

                          And if the "strings" are that the local government must stop killing its own citizens, why are such strings wrong? What's the point of saving people if the local bullies are just gonna turn around and kill them anyway?
                          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                          snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                          Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Burma

                            Burma doesn't exist. That name was eliminated by the military junta that rules the nation formerly known as Burma.

                            This same government is pissing off a lot of people too. Today's WSJ has an article titled "Myanman Frustrates Would-Be Aid Suppliers". Apparently U.N. workers visas are being blocked. France is complaining to the U.N. Etc.

                            I'd like you but it's the print edition and I don't have a subscription to the online version. Still a quick search should get some interesting results.

                            So my question is this: Do you still wish to assign blame to the Bush administration for attaching "strings", and if so, is there no government on earth so odious that you would not instinctively side with it in any disagreement with the Bush administration? I don't recall an example of that.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Burma

                              On another note, the province in Myanmar that was hit the worst is it's main rice-production area. Apparently they were expecting to export rice this year, but that's almost certainly not going to happen now. This places even greater demand on the world's food supplies, and I think increases the likelihood of a honest-to-God world war in the foreseeable future as the great scramble for energy and food supplies continues to play out.

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