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January 9, 2005

U.N. Army Conquers Virginity

Here's a scary thought: what if moonbats had their own army? And here's a scarier one: they do — it's called the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

You might think that an army of bumbling pacifist bureaucrats would be no threat to anyone. True, they have not been much of a menace to genocidal socialist dictators like Saddam and Milosevic, or mad mullahs chasing nukes in Iran, or the sinister Kewpie doll in North Korea who already has nukes, or al Qaeda, or anybody else who makes the world a dangerous place.

But there is one group with reason to fear the U.N. Army: underage girls.

As reported by CNN and Reuters, U.N. peacekeepers have been indulging in gang rape and using paltry amounts of food to bribe hungry 12- and 13-year-old girls to have sex. Said a U.N. representative, "If they wanted to eat, this was a way to do it."

A civilian staff member from France joined the fun by photographing children performing sex acts.

The U.N.'s own Office of Internal Oversight found this kind of abuse "serious and ongoing" — and also widespread.

Official policy does discourage raping children, even at the U.N. But according to William Lacy Swing, the Secretary-General's Special Representative to Congo, "The feeling of impunity is such that not only have the policies not been enforced, but the command structures have not always given investigators their full cooperation."

Swing admitted that sexual activities continued even during his investigation into them, as "evidenced by the presence of freshly used condoms" where freshly used condoms ought not be present.

The failure of his investigation to act as a deterrent, Swing hypothesized, could be due to U.N. peacekeepers not having seen "any evidence of a negative impact on individual peacekeepers for such behavior."

While Swing sniffs used condoms in hopes of finding a clue, U.N. bureaucrats in the region devastated by the tsunami spend their time exchanging business cards at pointless meetings, in the words of New Zealand's National Business Review, "taking credit where none is due and proving hopeless at actually delivering relief."

For a wealth of information on the U.N.'s utter uselessness in the tsunami's aftermath — including details on their endless ankle-biting and pathetic attempts to steal credit for the good work being done by America and Australia — refer to The Diplomad, a blog run by career Foreign Service officers.

But at least the U.N. is only sending circle-jerking bureaucrats who stay safely sequestered in five-star hotels. At least they aren't putting boots on the ground. The locals don't much need any more of this.

Posted by Van Helsing at January 9, 2005 10:35 AM

Comments

This is of course appalling. But it's also important not to use this simply to make political capital.

Whilst not wanting to legitimise what is truly abhorrent by anyone's standards, it's important to put this into perspective. This isn't something unique to the UN. There have also been allegations of abuse in Kenya by British troops. And also allegations of rape by American soldiers

Of course none of this condones or in any way legitimises the case that you're talking about. However to take some isolated examples and portray them as the norm is unfair on this organisation.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is feeding 750,000 people in Sri Lanka and 150,000 in Indonesia. It says it now has the resources needed to feed 2 million people in affected areas for the next 6 months. The UN is well-placed in the region and has the expertise in dealing with such a disaster. It is for this reason that Bush's childish snub to the UN in setting up his own little "coalition" has been reversed in the dissolution of this group.

Finally a little fact: the US, the largest economy on the planet, is now giving $350 million in aid. The European Union, in total, is giving $2 billion. So for you to start taking *all* the credit with regards to the Tsunami relief effort is really a bit much.

You might also find it useful to know what the European press is thinking

Posted by: mark at January 9, 2005 1:46 PM

Welcome back, Mark.

Regarding the tsunami relief, it's not a matter of buying brownie points for taxpayer cash. It's a matter of actually getting help to the people who need it, when they need it, which is immediately. This job has been accomplished primarily by the American and Australian military. As for the money raised in Europe: I'm glad it helps you to feel morally superior, but how much of it actually gets to the tsunami victims, and when, are open questions -- a point that is reinforced by the article you link to.

Posted by: Van Helsing at January 9, 2005 2:04 PM

Firstly, I agree that the American and Australian militaries have played an important part in the effort. I wasn't disputing that.

However having seen video reports on foxnews.com I think the way it is being portrayed over there is perhaps somewhat misleading - for example, the video report into how much the muslim world is thanking America. While of course America has made a visible contribution in the form of military logistics, the report makes little mention of the fact that the contributions made by other countries.

I'm sorry I really don't understand what you mean "buying brownie points for taxpayer cash". If you mean buying points with the electorate - then I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you. For starters, Germany has given $674m which is the most of any state. It's next general election is due in 2007, by which time most voters will probably have forgotten about the government's generosity.

With regards to feeling "morally superior" - no I don't, and this is exactly what I was arguing that you were doing in my previous post. You (and your government) disregarded the UN's role in any of this. The UN has a massive amount of experience and know-how immediately available, and I felt such a complete dismissal of any positive impact by the UN was wrong, as indeed was the quotation "taking credit where none is due and proving hopeless at actually delivering relief."

I don't feel "morally superior" because of the money that Europe has given. I consider the UK's donation of $96m to be a paltry sum, especially when ordinary citizens' donations amount to $189m. However I used those statistics not in order to exert a "holier than thou" attitude, but rather to show a contrast between direct government donations.

Posted by: mark at January 9, 2005 3:29 PM

Mark, your figure for the US aid conveniently ignores the money being spent on repositioning 13,900 US troops to Indonesia and Sri Lanka, including 50 helicopters, a super-air-craft carrier, and numerous other vehicles. Do you think repositioning this much equipment is cheap? Who is paying for the fuel for those helicopters, planes and ships? What military aid exactly has Europe sent?

Franco over at BarcePundit says that most of the Spanish tsunami "aid" is really just low-interest development loans that must be spent on Spanish products or services:

http://barcepundit-english.blogspot.com/2005/01/so-us-is-stingy-with-its-tsunami.html

I wonder how much of Europe's other "aid" money follows the Spanish formula?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Irene Adler at January 9, 2005 6:00 PM

In addition, Mark, I fail to see how the "praise" for American tsunami efforts in the EuroPress should make Americans get all warm and fuzzy toward the Euros -- or the UN. Most of it is damn insulting, full of those types of back-handed "compliments" and snidely polite passive-agressive attacks that you Euros are so good at. It actually pissed me off, and made me wish that Bush had sat on his ass and written a few more government checks (like the Euros!) instead of dispatching the supercarrier Abraham Lincoln and 14,000 troops. But then several thousands of people might be dead today from thirst or hunger or lack of medicine, who wouldn't have had to die, if Bush had done that.

Posted by: Irene Adler at January 9, 2005 6:06 PM

Finally a little fact: the US, the largest economy on the planet, is now giving $350 million in aid. The European Union, in total, is giving $2 billion. So for you to start taking *all* the credit with regards to the Tsunami relief effort is really a bit much.

1) that is the amount donated by the US government. In the US, charity is traditionally handled by private organizations, such as the Red Cross, not the government... and private donations have surpassed the amount the government is contributing.

2) The US is also making a substantial non-cash 'donation' involving the use of US military assets to provide disaster relief, which a UN official described as "worth it's weight in gold"- and an aircraft carrier is not light. It should be quite clear to anyone that without it, the bodycount would be much, much higher.

3) the initial response was almost entirely A) local responders, B) Australian, and c) American. The UN's main contribution until almost a week after the tsunami was having 'coordinating meetings' and performing assessments of needs- while the US and Aussies were dropping food out of helicopters.

You tell me which made more of a difference to those affected.

Posted by: rosignol at January 9, 2005 8:21 PM

Allegations of rape by American servicewomen against fellow soldiers is hardly comparable the methodical abuse of the very victims the UN peacekeepers are supposed to aid in Bosnia/Serbia/Congo and Somalia.

In fact you dimish by comparison the efforts of America, 6% of the world, giving 40-60% of the aid in every world-wide rescue effort also ignores the fact that the USA gives 40-60% of every UN budget.

Four hurricanes hit Florida this year... where the eF was the UN or any member then?

Your UNreal comments also ignore the practical aspect of the UN's utter failure to deliver.

All the dollars in the world don't matter when it's being squandered by the "Toyota Taliban" posing instead of the USA/Australia delivering.

Posted by: DANEgerus at January 9, 2005 11:43 PM

Thanks, DANEgerus, for setting rosignol and other anti-American moon bats straight. You also reiterate the obvious, elephant-in-the-room point: what the HELL are we doing in the UN anyway? Given not only the opening salacious and sickening sins that launched this thread but also (a) the Rwanda fiasco (even more died than from the tsunami, Kofi, and you were in charge?) and (b) the unforgivable UN Oil for Food scandal (benefiting, of course, our chief UN antagonists pre-Iraq), more than a serious rethink is needed. Back to the Reagan days of withholding UN fund payments, at least?

The MaryHunter

Posted by: The MaryHunter at January 10, 2005 7:33 AM

Hi Everybody

Firstly, thanks for your comments and I'm glad that I've stimulated some debate, whatever form that debate may take. However, I think the debate would be easier if we could all avoid inflammatory and unnecessarily insulting language.

This BBC News website has some details on who's giving what. Irene - with regards to Spain - I have no idea about Spain, and it isn't even included on that BBC News website. The $2bn figure is the total amount of donation pledges made by the European Union and its member states, and only takes into account grants, not loans. Thus the Spanish loan figure isn't included in this.

With regards to European Press coverage of events: of course there will still be some anti-American sentiment there, as a result of the deep injuries that the differences in the run up to the Iraq war caused (I'm not saying that's America's fault - I'm just saying that the differences caused a deep split). However - do you speak French? Or German? Well I do, and having read articles in both France's Le Monde and Germany's Die Welt, I can assure you that there is some sincere praise in the European press for what America is doing. However my argument is that the American press has not been mutually supportive of Europe's contributions.

I'd also like to draw your attention to the rest of my first post, most of which was with regards to the negative comments from this site's author. Most of what I said was that the UN's contribution to the aid effort shouldn't be completely disregarded, and I think the US's commentary on the independent UN is a lot snider than Europe's commentary on America, even given the contempt shown towards Europe within the USA.

I understand that the US traditionally gives more money through private donations than government donations, and that's all well and good. But this is a unique crisis, and the US's budget is $521bn in deficit this year. When you consider the $350mn to that $521bn - it amounts to 0.0007% of your deficit - it really doesn't seem like a lot. You may disagree, but that's just my personal opinion.

With regards to the military - yes, America is doing a good job (check my post above, I did say that). But it's not really reasonable to expect Europe to come out with the same military response, as America's military budget is more than the next 20 countries combined. In any case, the BBC News website (link provided above) details some of the military aid being sent by countries around the world.

With regards to the UN not delivering... Coordination meetings are important. They ensure that there is not a surplus of supplies in one area and a shortage in another. I therefore don't see how they're a bad thing. In any case, that's not the only thing the UN has done. I would regard feeding 750,000 Sri Lankans and 150,000 Indonesians as a sizeable effort.

With regards to the US giving 40-60% of every UN budget... well I'm not sure where you got that "UNreal" (oh you are funny) statistic from (if you've got a link to the source of that claim I'd be interested). I have another statistic - 22%. This website shows that while the USA does make a sizeable contribution, it's nowhere near 40% and certainly not 60%! The budget contributions are based on the GDP of member states.

Finally, Mary do you actually know anything about Rwanda? Honestly? Because your comments about Rwanda are frankly ridiculous. The UN is only as powerful as its members let it be. If its members do not confer on it any power, then it is powerless. This was the case in Rwanda. It was the Security Council that refused to recognise the situation in Rwanda as genocide. That's not the UN's fault - it's the states on the security council who are to blame for that. And Kofi Annan wasn't in charge then, it was Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Regards

Mark

Posted by: mark at January 10, 2005 8:36 AM

and I think the US's commentary on the independent UN is a lot snider

What independent UN?

As you say, the US pays over a fifth (22% currently, used to be more) of the UN's "Regular Budget" (there are other UN budgets), and I'm pretty sure that the US pays around two-fifths of the humanitarian/disaster relief budgets, too (don't have a cite handy, sorry. Yes, DANEgerous is overstating things a bit, but not nearly as much as you think).

But to return to the original point, exactly what 'independent' UN are we talking about? And if the UN *is* doing such a great job, why isn't any of the credit for the UN doing such a good job going to the people who pay 22% of the UN's budget? Why the hell are we getting dumped on for not doing more when somewhere between a fifth and two-fifths of what the UN is doing IS BEING PAID FOR BY THE US???

That's the kind of crap that makes Americans want to burn the UN to the ground. If we work through the UN, we get no credit for it, if we work independently of the UN, we get criticized for not going through the UN. It's a no-win situation for us, and a lot of Americans are sick of it.

As far as the US budget defecit is concerned- it is utterly irrelevant to the discussion. To criticize donations to disaster relief on the grounds that "the US is already half a trillion dollars in the hole, what difference would another billion or two make" is quite distasteful. Spend your own money as you see fit, telling us how to spend ours doesn't deserve any response other than "F--- off".

ps: Re Kofi Annan/Rwanda. No, he wasn't Secretary-General at the time, but you really should check his bio before asserting that he is blameless. Personally, I think it is reasonable to hold the head of U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations--Rwanda and Bosnia accountable for that mess.

pps: MaryHunter- if you think I'm an anti-american moonbat, you may want to read my post again. It might save you some embarassment.

Posted by: rosignol at January 10, 2005 4:58 PM

Rosignol, thanks for your response.

Apologies, this is fairly long but I believe there's a lot of innacuracy in your argument which I feel needs to be addressed. You can make your own mind up based on the evidence I provide.

CORE UN FUNDING
I did a little research. It turns out that while UN contributions are worked out on the basis of GDP, there is a 25% ceiling fixed for the core budget contribution from any member state, although the only country that qualifies for this ceiling is the USA. The fact that the USA accounts for around 29% of world GDP means that your real contribution is significantly offset from what it would otherwise be.

With the addition of the new member states on 1st May 2004, EU now has the largest GDP in the world if counted as a single unit, at €11,105 trillion, the US €9,937 trillion. The EU25's UN contributions amount to 38.5% against the USA's 22%. Apologies for my mistake.

OTHER UN FUNDING
The USA does NOT contribute anywhere near 40% of the rest of the UN budget. This article, extracted from the New York Times, quotes the statistic that the US was charged, in 2000, with 30% of the total peacekeeping costs, although "Congress has already lowered peacekeeping payments to 25%". With regards to actual military and civilian police contributions to UN peacekeeping operations, the US ranks 31st.

So the US's peacekeeping budget contributions are really not that much different from the core budget ones.

It would be ridiculous and unpractical for the UN to operate under a system whereby it had to give precise credit for what was given by which country. In any case, as I've shown above, there are other people who should be taking far more credit than the US. Japan should be the one screaming that it isn't being given any credit as it gives over 19% yet its GDP is 1/3 of the USA's! Incidentally, when was the last time you heard Europeans either receiving credit for giving 38.5% of the UN's budget or else complaining that they do so! I personally had no idea about these figures until I did a calculation from the table on this website.

I'm not sure why you would think the UN is not independent. The only countries it is truly dependent on is countries with vote-wielding power at the UN and countries that withhold their dues (last month the USA owed $530 million to the UN, which amounted to 76% of total arrears). What instance of lack of independence are you referring to?

It's true that the USA receives little thanks for working through the UN. However what thanks does Europe get? Or Japan? Australia? The answer is - none. The USA hasn't been singled out to receive no credit, it's just not in the nature of the organisation to give credit to member states for paying their dues - it's expected. Besides - do you give to charity in order to gain credit or to compassionately help other people?

I used the example of the US budget deficit to give a sense of proportion. How was that distasteful?

Kofi Annan
YES I do know about Kofi Annan and thus I know that he was the head of Peacekeeping Operations. Do YOU know when? Obviously not.

Kofi Annan was head of Peacekeeping Operations from March 1993 to February 1994.
The main outbreak of violence occurred as a result of the death of President Habyarimana in a plane crash. This happened in April 1994.

With regards to the civil war in Yugoslavia - you may want to read the article on the UN peacekeeping mission in Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). This article draws attention to the fact that the UN force was both poorly equipped, and restrictively mandated. Kofi doesn't decide the mandate. The security council does that. As I said above, UN missions are only as powerful as their mandates allow.

It's like saying that Gen. John Abizaid, commander, U.S. Central Command in Iraq would be responsible for troops not having enough equipment, or not invading Iraq sooner. Utterly preposterous.

Posted by: mark at January 10, 2005 7:37 PM

If you're going to say someone else is inaccurate, the first thing to do is make sure your own facts are accurate. With regards to UN funding: you didn't do enough research. That PDF you cite has nothing to do with funding, it's a list of what nations contribute how many bodies to the peacekeeping forces- among which there are 343 US citizens. You are comparing apples to helicopters.

UN budgetary matters are complex and murky. The US is assessed 22% of the Regular Budget, 30% of the Peacekeeping Budget, and varying amounts to the many UN-affiliated organizations such as UNICEF and the like (which do not seem to be part of the Regular Budget, and I'm sure there are UN budgets besides the 'Regular' and 'Peackeeping' budgets).

As far as the EU paying ~38.5% is concerned, I would appreciate a cite on the math, and some clarification as to why you think the EU does this, as the various member governments are assessed, not the EU as such.

http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/www/en/aussenpolitik/vn/vereinte_nationen/finanzen_html#1

lists the top 15 contributors to the Regular Budget in 2001, and my back-of-the-envelope addition comes to 28-30% for EU members before dropping to "we pay less than 1% of the UN budget" levels.

As far as getting credit, it would be sufficient if the US merely recieved recognition as being a major contributor to the UN, along the lines of "when the UN does good, it reflects well on all it's members"... but no, we don't even get that.

Posted by: rosignol at January 10, 2005 8:10 PM

Dear rosignol,

thanks not only for setting me straight (mea culpa, I mistyped), but more so, for trying heroically to counter some very interesting commentary from Mark. Clear from this exchange is the following: that the end, we (the USA) should not be doing humanitarian outreach with any expectation of a little thanks (at very least) or increased international or even Muslim respect (at best). We should do it because it's the right thing. VanHelsing and many others have said as much already. In this new century our country we'll be The Superpower, the world's policeman, and the Third World's primary benefactor. And we will always be hated by others for our power and wealth, and ultimately resented for our generosity.

The MaryHunter

Posted by: The MaryHunter at January 10, 2005 10:18 PM

Mark wrote:

"With regards to the military - yes, America is doing a good job (check my post above, I did say that). But it's not really reasonable to expect Europe to come out with the same military response, as America's military budget is more than the next 20 countries combined. In any case, the BBC News website (link provided above) details some of the military aid being sent by countries around the world."


So our substantial military aid (up to 90 helicopters and twenty ships now doesn't count because we have a large military budget? WTF kind of "reasoning" is that? How come the EU's check writing "counts" but US servicemen actually on the ground risking their lives to deliver food and water don't count? Only in the brain of some jealousy-addled, US-obsessed Euroweenie.

Face it dude: we delivered while you sat on your butt and wrote checks. And yeah, no one expects Europe to contribute any valuable military assistance -- you don't have any because you've been sponging off ours for 60 years.

I guess the trillions of dollars in military welfare we've provided to Europe for the past 60 years doesn't really count, either, eh Mark?

And my New Year's resolution was to stop hating Euroweenies! Well, hope I do better with the weight loss thing.


Posted by: Irene Adler at January 10, 2005 10:18 PM

Again, thanks for the responses
Rosignol

Yes, I did quote some figures on actual peacekeeping troops, which is what you picked up in your first paragraph. I explained exactly what it the link referred to with the text "With regards to actual military and civilian police contributions to UN peacekeeping operations, the US ranks 31st."

Helicopters, etc, are included in that 25% of the peacekeeping budget that the US pays. 25%, remember, and not 30%, because the US congress unilaterally decided that they didn't want to pay that much.

The regular and peacekeeping budgets account for the vast majority of UN expenditures. UN budgetary matters aren't particularly complex or murky, you just have to look for the figures.

Regarding the EU25 paying 38.5%: the site you linked to gave a total of 32.31% contributions for EU member states. Why did you discount those under 1%? What sense does that make? Including all those states there above 1%, there's still another 19% of the UN budget which has to be paid for! This is paid by lots of smaller states.

The Following countries are in the European Union:
Andorra
Austria
Belgium
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Their membership contributions, when added up on this site which has a list of all members contributions, gives a total of 38.51%.

The reason why us Europeans pay so much is this. UN member contributions are decided as a certain % of every member nation's GDP. A 25% maximum payment ceiling was pushed through the UN by the USA. The US congress subsequently reduced that to 22%. EU member states are assessed individually, and as this is the case, no EU member state can reach the 25% figure on its own.

Basically, the reason we pay so much more than the US is because we pay what we're supposed to, rather than just not paying, as the US does.

And I think your last paragraph is an indication that you've lost the argument and are clutching at straws... In fact you get more recognition than any other member of the UN - Kofi Annan said so himself last week.

Mary
If you don't agree with my arguments then argue against them, instead of just making snide little sideswipes with "some very interesting commentary from Mark". If you prove me wrong I will (as I have previously) accept your argument. But if I prove you wrong, you write a pathetic, dismissive little comment about my commentary being "interesting".

Irene

I DID NOT SAY THE US'S MILITARY ASSISTANCE DIDN'T COUNT.

My inference was that the US can afford to give military aid because, basically, its ships etc. were in the region at the time, so it's natural for it to help out there. They would presumably be doing training missions anyway so the costs will be there whether or not they help. Europeans, however, have their much smaller fleets scattered across the globe, most of the UK's being used to help deal with Iraq and Sierra Leone at the moment, France is involved in Ivory Coast trying to prevent a civil war there, Germany has large numbers of peacekeepers in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

Yes, the US provides a massive amount of military aid to most countries. The UK also provides a vast amount of valuable intelligence to the US under our "special relationship". And don't try and kid yourself that your forces in Europe were "for Europe's protection" - thanks anyway - but in reality it was part of America's doctrine of preventing the spread of communism.

I fail to see how US servicement are currently risking their lives in this context. If we hadn't been sitting on our butts writing cheques what would you have had to deliver? And seriously - I'm neither jealous nor obsessed with the US. I've visited before, but if I were either of those things then I would move over there. Which I'm not. So I haven't.

Look, I'm not going to get into a slagging match with you if you think "Euroweenie" is an insult. Good luck with your weight loss thing anyway.

Posted by: mark at January 11, 2005 7:04 AM

"I fail to see how US servicement are currently risking their lives in this context."

You don't think that flying helicopters and planes into remote areas of the tropics (where there are no landing strips) is a dangerous job? Dude, helicopters and military planes crash under those circumstances all the time. Not to mention the prospect of catching all kinds of nasty diseases from the rotting corpses our troops are helping to move and bury. Yeah, that's rich -- making light of people doing dangerous and dirty jobs while sitting on your cushy, snobby Euro-butt bragging about your superior "generosity." Ah, that's rich.

Oh, and we would be paying military training costs anyways? Yeah, right, like repositioning an entire aircraft super-carrier battlegroup thousands of miles out of its way is cheap. What planet did you grow up on anyways? Oh right, Planet EUro-Ignoramous, land of the permanent chip on the shoulder just begging to be knocked off by the evil Amerikkkans.

I take it back; you are not a Euroweenie Mark, you're an ass -- a jealous, snobbish, condescending, insufferably smug Euro-ass. Like 90 percent of your compatriots.

Posted by: Irene Adler at January 18, 2005 11:41 PM

Irene

Thanks for your enlightening post.

Compared with peackeeping in instable countries such as Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Bosnia, no, it's not a particularly dangerous job - nobody's firing at American troops there.

Army/Air Force pilots are trained to land in remote areas. Most battlegrounds don't have landing strips, so they should be used to landing wherever there's space. In this situation, most helicopters aren't landing anyway, they quite rightly drop the food out of the helicopter so that they're not overrun by refugees. If the pilots can't land their helicopters or planes in remote areas then frankly they shouldn't be allowed to fly them!

The aircraft carrier was already patrolling the Indian Ocean, so it didn't have so far to travel to. The defence budget had already been assigned, so America's contribution, although valuable, was not new money - just money diverted from the rest of the defence fund. In comparison, the EU's contribution was new money from the taxpayer.

I'm not jealous and I don't hate America, although I do think that it often uses its supreme strength in a way that is unsensitive and sometimes dangerous to the rest of the world (supplying arms to Iran, Saddam and the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 80s, funding right-wing guerrillas in central and southern america in the 70s and 80s, supporting dictators and death squads across central and southern america and indonesia).

Having said that, I also think that America could, can and has been a force for good in the world, with aid donations and military interventions in places like the Balkans and in both world wars.

I'm not jealous, because I wouldn't want Europe to have the military power that America does, as I think there are more important things to spend our (taxpayers') money on, such as education and healthcare. Equally I wouldn't want to live in America - although most of the people over there seem friendly enough - as I don't like your political system.

How am I being condescending? Or snobbish even? I think I'm talking to you in a reasonably intelligent way - I'm not "stooping to your level" - and you seem to be responding in a reasonably intelligent way. Although I don't think it's necessary for you to be so aggressive and abrasive in your argument, I don't think that's because you lack intelligence, but because your argument is flawed.

Actually you know I've been polite up till now and avoided being rude, but I've had enough now. If you call me names like "Euroweenie" and "Euro-ass" how do you expect me to take you seriously? "Condescension" is (loosely) defined as patronisingly superior behaviour, stooping to someone else's level. Exactly what level are we talking about here? How can you expect me to respect you when 1/3 of your post is based around name-calling?

No doubt though that in your infinite wisdom you will reply with some more lovely childish mudslinging. Whatever.

Posted by: mark at January 19, 2005 9:49 AM

Dude, Mark, whatever your name is, The Abraham Lincoln was refueling at Hong Kong at the time of the tsunami. It was NOT patrolling the Indian ocean. It was the other craft, the Bonhomme Richard, that was stationed at Diego Garcia at the time of the tsunami. The Bohnomme Richard is not a super air-craft carrier. Since when is Hong Kong based in the Indian ocean?

Yes, you are an ass. Your constant denigration of our soldiers efforts' while bragging about the EU's contribution is indeed quite snobbish and condescending. If you don't recognize these traits in yourself, I pity you.

Who was the one who started throwing mud first? In your first post you called the US's ad-hoc coalition to deliver aid immediately -- rather than waiting three weeks for the UN/EUro-conference at the inevitable four-star hotel by the Toyota Taliban -- "a childish snub."

What's so childish about immediately starting to deliver aid to people who are blocked from receiving food and clean water?

In three weeks they would have been dead.

Posted by: Irene Adler at January 19, 2005 3:25 PM

In fact, the more I read your initial snotty post, the angrier I get. And you have the nerve to deny that you're a snot. Whatever, dude. I guess there are a few thousand people alive right now in Southeast Asia who would beg to differ with you.

Posted by: Irene Adler at January 19, 2005 3:27 PM

Dude, Irene,

Yes my name is Mark. That's why I put my name as that and not as Garth, Ethelred, Hubert or anything else.

That aircraft carrier patrols the Indian Ocean. Yes, it was at Hong Kong at the time as it was refueling. But as it patrols the Indian Ocean it's reasonable to expect it to return back via Indonesia anyway.

I made clear all through that I agreed that the US had made a significant contribution; however my argument was that you shouldn't take all the credit.

With regards to Bush's snub - this coalition was set up not for logistical support, but rather to act as an organisation to rival the work of the UN. This is what was childish; the UN had the resources and the expertise in the aid effort. Of course it needed the US to provide logistical support, but the UN is experienced in delivering aid and making sure it gets through and it is this expertise and know-how that Bush was snubbing.

I would regard "Planet EUro-Ignoramous, land of the permanent chip on the shoulder just begging to be knocked off by the evil Amerikkkans" as being rather more snobbish and condescending.

It was you who started the personal mudslinging with your imaginative "insult" of "Euroweenie". Saying that Bush snubbed the UN isn't mudslinging; it's just stating fact. That is what Bush did.

Again I put the point to you:
The US's contribution has been recognised by Kofi Annan and most people - including myself. However it isn't right for the US to take all the credit. What would the US have had to deliver had the EU not given aid?

Posted by: mark at January 19, 2005 4:12 PM

We weren't taking all the credit; we were merely defending ourselves against your (and the rest of the nasty Eurotrash's) claims that we weren't doing enough. The Euros were strutting and bragging about all the checks they were writing and accusing us of being "stingy" while we were sending 15,000 troops to actually do the work. Why wouldn't we get mad about that?

Contrary to what you now claim, your posts were not saying "We deserve credit too" -- your posts were sayinig, "Look at us, look how much money we gave, we gave the MOST" while denigrating and downplaying the contributions of the US military WHICH IS NOT CHEAP TO RUN NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU DENY IT AND TRY TO DOWNPLAY IT. And yes, I found your REPEATED attempts to downplay the contribution of our military INSULTING and MUD-SLINGING and DISHONEST.

Did it ever occur to you that we set up our own operations because we wanted to ensure that aid actually got to the affected people, not sluffed off to provide yet another penthouse for Kofi Annan's son? Why would anyone want to trust the UN when we know how much money they skimmed off the oil-for-food program?

The UN was planning to meet to discuss the tsunami disaster on Jan. 6. The Tsunami disaster took place on Dec. 26. What were the survivors supposed to do for food, water and medicine until then? I'm sure those survivors who mobbed US helicopters would have been happy to have you explain to them that they should have turned down the food and supplies, and waited a few weeks for the UN to show up. Of course they'd be dead by then, but what the hell? What's a few more dead people when there's UN expense accounts to protect?

Posted by: Irene Adler at January 20, 2005 11:25 AM

But anyways, the "childish" coalition that ACTUALLY DID WORK rather than sit around and discuss coordinating plans at a four-star hotel on an expense account, has now been turned over to the UN. You can rest easy, Mark -- Kofi's in charge now. The expense accounts are safe. The free Toyota SUVs are safe. The four-star hotels are safe. Kofi Jr. may get a chance to skim off enough for a new Ferrari. All is well.

Whether all that aid actually reaches people in need -- well, that's not really important is it?

Posted by: Irene Adler at January 20, 2005 11:31 AM

In the original post above by the author of this website there is no mention whatsoever of the positive contribution given by the UN and the rest of the world. Additionally, on Fox News reports I watched the underlying question was "Is the Muslim world grateful, as it should be, that America has come to the rescue". There was again no mention in this that other countries (apart from Australia) had given substantial amounts of money.

The author of this site was not "defending" yourselves against attack from us "nasty Euros", he was attacking the UN on the basis of a few abhorrent cases and pronouncing them as the norm. I found YOUR constant attacks on the good work of both Europe and the UN as well as ridiculous personal attacks on myself as insulting.

As for "denigrating and downplaying" the US's contributions...

"Firstly, I agree that the American and Australian militaries have played an important part in the effort. I wasn't disputing that."

"I can assure you that there is some sincere praise in the European press for what America is doing. However my argument is that the American press has not been mutually supportive of Europe's contributions."

"With regards to the military - yes, America is doing a good job (check my post above, I did say that)."

"I DID NOT SAY THE US'S MILITARY ASSISTANCE DIDN'T COUNT."

I think I made a pretty good effort to agree that the US had made a strong positive contribution. How many times did you recognise the contribution of the UN and the EU? 0

The US has little experience of organising aid efforts in such disasters. The UN does have a vast amount of experience. With such experience it was a pathetic attempt by Bush to downplay the essential role of the UN in this operation. PriceWaterhouseCoopers are also doing the accounting for the UN to ensure that the aid does get through.

The Jan 6th meeting was designed to encourage countries to commit to long-term reconstruction funding for the region. The UN was on the ground in the affected areas long before this date. The UN was feeding 750,000 in Sri Lanka within days of the disaster. It's also feeding several hundred thousand in Indonesia. As I said above, co-ordination is important as it avoids surpluses and shortages. I really don't understand what your opposition to this is.

Your argument about expenses accounts is ridiculous. Of course UN staff need somewhere to sleep. Of course they need vehicles to get around! What's the problem with that?

YES your military is expensive. But if the ship is patroling the Indian Ocean anyway I don't see how moving from refueling in Hong Kong to Indonesia in the Indian Ocean is incurring additional costs that would otherwise not have existed.

The opportunity cost of you providing military forces was fairly low, as you were going to be funding them anyway. Admittedly there will have been some extra costs of helicopter fuel but if they're doing training missions they're presumably going to be using fuel anyway.

On the other hand the EU's opportunity cost of giving $2bn is a lot higher, as it is money that otherwise wouldn't have been spent on this but on education, health services etc back at home. The US's military contribution wouldn't have been spent any other way anyway, as you had already committed to spending that amount of money in that area.

Of course it's important that the aid reaches that area. That's why it's important that the UN is involved, with its expertise and experience, and it's obviously also important that the UN's accounts are properly audited, as they are being now, by the accounting firm PWC. The US has far less knowledge and experience in delivering such aid projects (technically, not logistically).

And don't be silly of course they shouldn't have turned down the food. What sort of argument or point is that? But what food would US helicopters had to deliver had the EU not given $2bn?

Posted by: mark at January 20, 2005 1:36 PM