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Old 12-30-2004, 07:34 AM   #1
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$35 Million - Is it enough?

So Bush has pledged the US to give $35 million towards the tsunami relief effort in Asia, Sri Lanka, Africa, Indonesia, etc. Is it enough? Do you think that if we weren't fighting in Iraq the US would give more? Do you think a larger relief effort by the US would help improve the country's international standing, which at the moment is incredibly low?

Personally, I think we probably spend $35million every half an hour in Iraq and that with over 100 million people dead and disease threatening to kill millions more, $35million is pathetically little.

What about you?
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Old 12-30-2004, 07:42 AM   #2
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Bush defends
U.S. generosity
$35 million in aid ‘only the beginning,’ he says
MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 8:13 p.m. ET Dec. 29, 2004CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush defended American generosity Wednesday, even as his administration figures out how to pay for more help beyond the $35 million it has already promised to tsunami victims in Asia.

In his first remarks since the weekend disaster that so far has killed more than 76,000, Bush — like some in his administration previously — took umbrage at a U.N. official’s suggestion that the world’s richest nations were “stingy,” and indicated much more is expected to be spent to help the victims.

“Well, I felt like the person who made that statement was very misguided and ill-informed,” Bush said from his Texas ranch. “We’re a very generous, kindhearted nation, and, you know, what you’re beginning to see is a typical response from America.”

Bush cites last year's relief aid
Bush noted that the United States provided $2.4 billion “in food, in cash, in humanitarian relief to cover the disasters for last year. ... That’s 40 percent of all the relief aid given in the world last year.”

But the journey from the $35 million to potentially $1 billion or more in help for the tens of thousands of latest victims is fraught with bureaucratic twists.

First, the U.S. Agency for International Development, which distributes foreign aid, will have to ask for more money, since the initial $35 million aid package drained its emergency relief fund, said Andrew Natsios, the agency’s administrator.

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“We just spent it,” Natsios said in an interview Tuesday with the Associated Press. “We’ll be talking to the (White House) budget office ... (about) what to do at this point.”

Natsios said the Pentagon also is spending tens of millions to mobilize an additional relief operation, with C-130 transport planes winging their way from Dubai to Indonesia with tents, blankets, food and water bags.

As of Wednesday, dozens of countries and relief groups had pledged at least $261 million in help for South and East Asia, said the Geneva-based U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“There’s no doubt there’ll be more than that,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. officer in charge of coordinating the international response from Switzerland. “The size of this thing is a challenge.”

John Paul II calls for assistance
Pope John Paul II on Wednesday renewed his call for global aid for victims of the tsunami.

“News that keeps coming from Asia increasingly shows the enormous scale of the catastrophe that hit in particular India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand,” the pope said Wednesday in a message read by an aide during his weekly audience at the Vatican.

“In the Christmas atmosphere of these days, I invite all the faithful and all people of good will to contribute generously ... toward people who have already been through a severe trial and are now exposed to the risk of an epidemic,” he said.

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Aid pledged, given by nations, agencies




Generosity depends on yardstick
Measuring the generosity of the United States depends on the yardstick.

The U.S. government is always near the top in total humanitarian aid dollars — even before private donations are counted — but it finishes near the bottom of the list of rich countries when that money is compared to gross national product.

Such figures were what prompted Jan Egeland — the United Nations’ emergency relief coordinator — to challenge the giving of rich nations.

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• Aid efforts
Dec. 29: Andrew Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, discusses early efforts to assist victims of the deadly tsunami in south Asia with MSNBC-TV's Amy Robach.
MSNBC



“We were more generous when we were less rich, many of the rich countries,” said Egeland, the former head of the Norwegian Red Cross. “And it is beyond me, why are we so stingy, really. ... Even Christmas time should remind many Western countries at least how rich we have become.”

Egeland told reporters Tuesday his complaint wasn’t directed at any nation in particular.

But Secretary of State Colin Powell clearly was annoyed while making the rounds of the morning television news shows Tuesday. He said it remains to be determined what the eventual U.S. contribution will be, but that he agrees with estimates that the total international aid effort “will run into the billions of dollars.”

Natsios was quick to point out Tuesday that foreign assistance for development and emergency relief rose from $10 billion in President Clinton’s last year to $24 billion under President Bush in 2003. Powell said U.S. assistance for this week’s earthquake and tsunami alone will eventually exceed $1 billion.

Stingy notion ‘simply not true’
“The notion that the United States is not generous is simply not true, factually,” Natsios said.

The United States uses the most common measure of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 30 rich nations that counts development aid.

By that measure, the United States spent almost $15.8 billion for “official development assistance” to developing countries in 2003. Next closest was Japan, at $8.9 billion.

That doesn’t include billions more the United States spends in other areas, such as AIDS and HIV programs and other U.N. assistance.

Measured another way, as a percentage of gross national product, the OECD’s figures on development aid show that as of April, none of the world’s richest countries donated even 1 percent of its gross national product. Norway was highest, at 0.92 percent; the United States was last, at 0.14 percent.

Another way to measure
Another yardstick of U.S. largesse stems from a comparison of how American money is used elsewhere in the world.

In hearings last month, the U.S. military reported to Congress that it is now spending more than $5.8 billion each month — an average of $8,055,555 an hour — in Iraq. So the $35 million in aid destined for the tsunami victims is equal to what the Pentagon spends on the average morning in Iraq — about four hours.

Put another way, the $35 million is less than the amount the U.S. military spent during the six hours it took for the tsunami to cross the Indian Ocean on Sunday.

President Bush mentioned the $2.4 billion that the U.S. provided this year in worldwide aid. That amount pales in comparison with the $13.6 billion that Bush requested and received in supplemental appropriations for the hurricanes that hit the southeastern United States and the Caribbean earlier this year.

Of that amount, $100 million, less than 1 percent, went to other countries for their hurricane relief efforts.
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Old 12-30-2004, 08:42 AM   #3
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100 million people didnt die. More like 100 thousand.
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Old 12-30-2004, 08:49 AM   #4
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the uk has pledged £15million (about US$30million) which I don't believe is enough. This morning the amount raised from private donations in the uk had overtaken this, at £20million.
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Old 12-30-2004, 08:58 AM   #5
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I don't think it's enough, but at least there are thousands of other private organizations that will probably end up giving more, total.
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:10 AM   #6
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Of course it's not enough. Bush is spending $40 million alone on his inauguration, and that doesn't even count security costs.

In fairness, the Bush administration is pledging more to come, and there's no reason to think that isn't true. But the simple fact is that people continue to die right now as we read this. As much as people will need the help to rebuild their lives in the months to come, the aid and medicine and supplies we get there now, at this instant, is what will make the biggest difference in terms of life and death. So the promises of more to come seem a bit ... well, it's nice but I doubt it means much to the people with no water right now.

I'd add that'd it be nice if Bush could cut short his vacation, too. I know it would be mostly a symbolic gesture, but when you're head of state, this kind of symbolism matters to people. After all the support the world gave us after 9/11, it'd be nice if our President at least looked like he cared when a disater with 40x the human toll hit somewhere else.
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:16 AM   #7
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Of course it's not enough, but he's encouraging us to give, and if we all give what we can it will help. I'm just numb. I can't believe the worst natural disaster in human history just hit Sunday.
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:24 AM   #8
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No, it's not enough.

I'd also like to bring this lack of generosity to light for the hundreds of millions of Americans that seemed befuddled when 9/11 occured. American IS the most greedy, one of the least sensitive nation in the world, and it's THIS type of action that creates billions, if not millions of enemies that seek retribution.

When will we learn from our mistakes?

God bless American, but don't forget about the other nations. Please?
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by strannix
Of course it's not enough. Bush is spending $40 million alone on his inauguration, and that doesn't even count security costs...

I'd add that'd it be nice if Bush could cut short his vacation, too. I know it would be mostly a symbolic gesture, but when you're head of state, this kind of symbolism matters to people. After all the support the world gave us after 9/11, it'd be nice if our President at least looked like he cared when a disater with 40x the human toll hit somewhere else.
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:33 AM   #10
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frankly i was embarassed by
a) The amount of time it took Bush to respond
b) The amount we're giving. $35 mil? Barely scratches the surface. Of course we'll never be able to give ENOUGH, but we can do more than that. Thankfully people have been coming together and contributing
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Old 12-30-2004, 10:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2democrat
frankly i was embarassed by
a) The amount of time it took Bush to respond
b) The amount we're giving. $35 mil? Barely scratches the surface. Of course we'll never be able to give ENOUGH, but we can do more than that. Thankfully people have been coming together and contributing
Yeah, I'm embarassed, too. And not like the usual, roll-my-eyes-but-ultimately-minor type of embarassment that our President so often inspires. It's more like shame.

It'd be nice if the charitable contributions were enough to show that we are a deeply caring people. But unlike too many of the President's apologists this week, I don't see why we can't have both generous charity from the people and generous aid from the government. When more (probably MUCH more, sadly) than 100,000 people are wiped off the earth, it's the only conscionable response.
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Old 12-30-2004, 10:06 AM   #12
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the uk has just increased it's donation to £50million (around $96million)

this is fantastic news, but it's a pity our government took so long to get around to it.

Private donations in the uk are now up to £25million. I hope people keep on giving. All of this is just a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed out there
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Old 12-30-2004, 10:21 AM   #13
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Ok Dubya, the Brits are beatin' us. Where's that swagger of yours to outdo them?
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Old 12-30-2004, 10:59 AM   #14
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I'm embarrassed too.
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Old 12-30-2004, 01:13 PM   #15
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I am embarrassed by our Canadian PM Martin. He's in Morocco vacationing and has not made a public speech about this yet. 35 million is not enough. The Canadian gov.'t should do more. We have a large Sri Lankan community here and at least Martin should say something for moral support..
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