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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Natural Disaster, or Ready for Rapture?

Guest Blogger Paul Parker

The Bushies are well known for being thin skinned. Today this quality seems to be helping the victims of Sunday's tsunami. the New York Times reports,Irate Over 'Stingy' Remark, U.S. Adds $20 Million to Disaster Aid and the Washington Post reports Aid Grows Amid Remarks About President's Absence .

Both articles feature Administration responses to Monday's comments by a UN official about the lack of aid from Western countries.

But the Post article give a little clearer hint of the shame that has led Bush to take more heightened interest. No, not the growing death toll, but Bush's nemesis, Bill Clinton, who in an interview with BBC radio called for a coordinated international response. The Post continues,

Explaining the about-face, a White House official said: "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.' "

Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing the president's view of his appropriate role.

Actions? or Inaction? That seems to be the rub for the international community. The remainder of the article is filled with paragraphs like this:
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 the Ranch is in damage control mode, and tonight's news will report that Bush held an NSC meeting on Wednesday, and issued a statement.

As for our stinginess, it must be acknowledged that the aid total of $35 mil brings us up to about even with the low end estimates of the Inaugaral festivities. Further, we mustn't think only in terms of direct monetary aid by the US (or our willingness to send an aircraft carrier):
the State Department acknowledges on an official Web site that its direct economic aid is "the smallest among government foreign assistance programs" but that the "true measure" of American generosity should include private money.
Undboubtedly US private aid is pouring in. Its not clear however, whether the religious End Timers are giving donations, or rejoicing: over at, the Rapture Index has been raised on account of the earthquake. Oh, plus under category 33, the Antichrist, its noted that the EU is looking for a new president.

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