We’re going to a dinner party tonight, but given recent events in SE Asia, I suspect the mood will be rather somber. The number of Swedes missing in Thailand is now up to 3,500…most of whom are now being presumed dead. The country’s flags will be flying at half mast all day tomorrow…what a way to start the New Year.
In the meantime…the U.S, is being roundly (and deservedly) criticized from all sides for it’s "too little and way late" response to the disaster. The $35 million pledge to the relief effort is a pittance. (And that figure was upped from the original amount of $15 million.) Senator Patrick Leahy has been quoted on CNN saying that the U.S. spends $35 million before breakfast EVERY DAY in Iraq. In contrast, the government of Sweden (a country of 9 million people) has already released twice that much in aid as an INITIAL contribution to the recovery efforts.
This was a MAJOR screw-up on the Administration’s part…another missed opportunity to show humane world leadership and help improve our image abroad…especially in a part of the world heavily populated by Muslims. No matter what the U.S. does from here on out, we’re never going to live down the appearance that we had to be dragged into the relief effort for the most catastrophic and far-reaching natural disaster of the last century.
So just when I start thinking the Bush Administration couldn’t possibly be any more incompetent, it comes through again with flying colors. I suppose at this point I should at least be admiring the consistency…but this situation is even too sad for sarcasm.