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Old 04-18-2003, 02:15 PM   #16
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I agree that there is too much bureaucracy. The aid agencies are complaining about the military being in charge of the aid distribution. This is screwy. Aid workers are used to being in situations that are somewhat risky. Unfortunately a worker was actually killed in Afghanistan. But the workers didn't pull out after the killing occurred. If the government can guard oil they can guard aid. They are saying they can't guard aid when, in fact, they can. They said the exact same thing about the antiquities museum. That's a whole different can of worms, but it's the same idea. They could have guarded that stuff also.

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Old 04-18-2003, 03:35 PM   #17
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You know, I can't speak for them, but with the current situation in IRAQ somehow I highly doubt they would resist miliary involvement in aid distribution at this time.

I do understand thier point , but how else are you going to get aid to people in IRAQ unless you do it through those means. It's really not safe otherwise.

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Old 04-18-2003, 03:55 PM   #18
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I love how this article slams the US. The UN has decided it is safe? Interesting, I did not know the UN helped liberate the country. They have troops their helping to keep the peace that I am not aware of? Here is an interesting article, in which the Save the Children (US) seems pretty confident that there will be progress in the efforts to help Iraq.

Westport-based Save the Children still trying to get supplies to Iraqis

By David Gurliacci
Special Correspondent

April 18, 2003

WESTPORT -- U.S. and British military officials haven't given permission for relief agencies to enter most of Iraq, but that logjam may break soon, said Charles MacCormack, president of Save the Children.

Based on what he's hearing from people in Iraq, MacCormack hopes some of international charity's relief workers will be allowed into the southern Iraqi city of Basra tomorrow to start assessing needs and providing help to residents in need of clean water, medical supplies and other services.

Relief workers in the field "are still hopeful that, perhaps even today, they might be able to do that, but they haven't yet," MacCormack said yesterday. "We've got the people, and we've got the materials, and we know there are children in need of getting services -- and we just want to accomplish it."

U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Bridgeport, shed some publicity on the problem Wednesday when he traveled just over the Kuwaiti border into the Iraq port of Umm Qasr, against the wishes of U.S. military and State Department officials, then complained that aid workers haven't been allowed further into the country.

Shays, already touring the Middle East, had arranged his Iraq visit through Westport-based Save the Children, whose national headquarters are in his district.

While MacCormack offered only mild criticism of the U.S. government, which has paid his group $4 million for relief efforts in Iraq, Save the Children UK, an independent "sister" organization, offered a scathing assessment.

The British group issued a blistering statement yesterday condemning U.S. officials for not allowing the landing of a plane carrying medical supplies into the northern city of Erbil.

"The lack of cooperation from the U.S. military is a breach of the Geneva Conventions and its protocols, but more importantly, the time now being wasted is costing children their lives," said Rob MacGillivray, emergency program manager for Save the Children UK.

MacCormack said he was unfamiliar with the situation in Erbil, but, referring to the holdup in getting his own workers further into Iraq, he said, "I'm sure there are security concerns (on the part of military officials). I don't think there's anything more to it than that. I think they want to be very confident that things are on the strong and positive side of security."

But he said the concern may be misplaced. "We're accustomed to working in difficult areas, so we're just not going to have perfect security in Iraq, perhaps for a long time to come, anyway."

Providing help to needy people, even in volatile areas where anti-American feeling may be present, is not unfamiliar territory for Save the Children.

Even in places such as Lebanon and the West Bank, "people are happy to have people from an independent organization making sure children and families are being taken care of," he said.

Some small cities where Save the Children hopes to start working are Najaf and Karbala, where Shiite religious factions have been fighting with each other.

In tense situations such as that, Save the Children approaches all sides and asks each for support to allow it to work as a neutral party providing aid, MacCormack said.

Save the Children relief workers go into a new area only after local leaders provide assurances that they won't attack the workers, he said. In Umm Qasr, he said, relief workers "have not felt any hostility."

So far, Save the Children has set up operations in an empty warehouse in Umm Qasr, a port of about 30,000 people. The "office" there consists of two or three satellite phones, some battery-powered computers, camping lanterns, water pumps and an electricity generator, MacCormack said.

The organization has 15 people in and out of the country daily, but only five to 10 of them stay overnight, he said.

"Water and security are the two most pressing needs we find consistently with all the people we talk to," MacCormack said.

Food supplies also are starting to get low, he said. Various groups are splitting up the job of providing help. Save the Children is providing residents in and around Umm Qasr with propane gas for cooking and water. Recreational activities for children also will be provided.

Ultimately, Save the Children expects to have 500 people providing relief in Baghdad and four southern Iraqi provinces, including Basra, Najaf, and Karbala.

All but 20 of those workers will be Iraqis hired within the country, and even many of the 20 non-Iraqis will be from other Arab countries, MacCormack said.

The group will provide food, water, medical supplies and even sanitation equipment. Counseling and some day-care services for children also will be provided. Most relief agencies expected a major refugee problem in Iraq, but that hasn't developed, so items such as tents will be saved. Other items can still be used, MacCormack said.

Save the Children is asking the public for contributions to its Iraq Children in Crisis Fund. The goal for the fund is $3 million, but an April 11 posting on the group's Web site said only $31,000 has been raised. MacCormack said he's hopeful, and with government and perhaps other contributions, the group hopes to spend as much as $30 million in Iraq.

-- Information about Save the Children's Iraq Children in Crisis Fund is available on the Internet at
Copyright 2003, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.
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Old 04-18-2003, 05:17 PM   #19
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I find it strange that everyone here that is complaining about the supply problems did not want to invade Iraq in the first place. It did not matter that the humanitarian nightmare that many Iraqi people are suffering today is one that they have been suffering for years. The Anti-war crowd was more interested a month ago in sending ineffective inspectors on a wild goose chase for the next 6 months, rather than overthrowing Saddam so that Iraq could be disarmed and humanitarian supplies could be effectively distributed to all parts of Iraq.

Nation Building is going to be a mess. Guess what, there are going to be more mistakes 6 months and a year from now. The sky is falling crowd will make their statements at those points as well I'm sure. Its amazing the level of attention that some will pay to the lives of Iraqi's now that Saddam is gone. But when Saddam was in power and things were worse for many people, it really did not matter. It was more important to prolong that suffering by preventing a US invasion and sending UN inspectors for another 6 months or longer. Anything to prevent a war that would result in the overthrow of Saddam and the liberation of the Iraqi people and the free distribution of humanitarian supplies to all parts of Iraq.
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Old 04-18-2003, 10:07 PM   #20
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Sting--I understand that the humanitarian situation in Saddam's Iraq was not exactly perfect. Saddam screwed alot of people out of aid. Even so, democracy is not just the absense of Saddam, although that's a factor. I tried to keep an open mind about the conflict because I didn't want to whitewash Saddam. In the end it has to be a government for and by Iraqis for Iraqis, not a U.S. protectorate, which is basically what it is now. The mission isn't over. It only will be when native Iraqis are exercising power over their national institutions and following their traditions in running the government. Yes, it's going to be hard, sometimes dirty, work. And at any rate you can't expect "nation-building" not to be controversial. That's part of the territory.

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