These People Make My Feet Swell

Friday, May 23, 2008
What the hell is wrong with the military junta in Myanmar/Burma*?

They've now decided to allow aid workers into the Irrawaddy Delta, but they still refuse to allow UK, US and French Navy vessels to dock with relief supplies.

The U.S. Navy did outstanding work in providing relief during the Tsunami, working around the clock to provide whatever services were required. I can only assume the Brits and the French have similar experience in these matters.

Do these dictators in funny hats think there's some secret plot to "land the Marines" by these three nations and take over their sorry, sorry country? Bitch, please. They're only trying to help relieve the suffering and allow the victims some hope of eating in the next year by providing seeds and such.

Oh, that's right. The Junta clearly don't give a rat's ass if their people suffer, starve or die of some other preventable cause as long as their own power base goes uncontested.

I've written before that China Sucks, but their response to their own natural disaster has been pretty admirable compared to these amoral fucksticks.

As an Aunt of mine says, some folks just need killing.


*And what the hell's the deal with the name of this place? I know the Junta changed the name to "Myanmar" in an effort to head off "Burmese" nationalism, but the press routinely refers to it as "Burma." Huh?

8 comments:

Steve Buchheit said...

Well, the other option is to say, "You're getting this help. We will dock our ships here and land our aircraft here at this and that time and distribute through this direction using our own vehicles. Any resistance will be met with overwhelming force. You can be a part of this, or we will overturn our country. Any questions?" Of course, having the actual force to back that up is a little iffy right now.

John the Scientist said...

Steve - that would destroy the Junta. And the resulting power vacuum would cause a civil war of the Lt. Cols against the Cols. to see who gets to promote themselves to General. That would cause as much or more suffering than what's going on now.

Janiece - you don't even know the half of it. The Western press did not pick up on this, but when you see pictures from China of the reascue workers in orange suits and helmets, rather than PLA camos? Those guys are disaster reief specialists - from Taiwan. That's right, Beijing accepted help from Taipei.

Janiece Murphy said...

I still think China sucks, but they've done an admirable job on their response to this emergency, based on the available information. I'll give them that.

Because if I didn't, as an American who lived in this country during Hurricane Katrina, I would then have to prepare my Hallowe'en "Kettle" costume.

That is not a flattering outfit. Just sayin'.

John the Scientist said...

Well, to be fair, Katrina was mostly a failure of the local government, not the Federal one (except for not dispatching the Naval units from Virginia quickly enough). Blanco needed to "study" the situation for 24 hours before she called in federal aid:

Financial Times (9/10-11) has a profile of Lousiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. It gives her credit for reducing coruption and in bringing new employers to the state. It also quotes a long-time friend as follows: "She is not one of those politicians who just grabs an idea out of a hat. She likes to have all the experts around her and mull things over. Some people misunderstand this and think that she does not know what is going on."

According to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Blanco told the President that she would need 24 hours to make a decision about Federal relief operations.


It's the price we pay for not having Federal control of everything - being at the mercy of your local incompetents / having to fend for yourself. In that time of crisis, the people of LA would have been better off with a stronger local leader, since that's where the American first responder responsibility lies:

With specific regard to Blanco and the hurricane: leaders differ greatly in their decision-making styles. A style involving lengthy and careful decision making may work fine in cases involving, say, economic development--but if the executive cannot change that style when a crisis occurs, then it will be a hindrance. The law of diminishing returns of information may then work in conjunction with a curve of exponentially increasing harm as the decision is delayed.

The Chinese system has been working admirably compared to past performance, but it's failed in the past, especially in the backwaters, and Sichuan is not on the extreme periphery. They have also run into the same problem we did in Katrina - damaged or missing roadways - and it has cost lives, they're still just not as public about admitting things like that as we are.

I would not trade the Chinese sytem four ours were it 10 times as effective this go-around.

What I did learn (or have re-enforced) from Katrina, when looking at my own passel of incompetent state leaders, is that I have to take responsibility for myself when I can see disaster coming. And I have to be prepared to respond rapidly when I can't.

The Chinese system won't let you do that, and Buddha help you if you are in an area the Army can't or won't get to quickly.

Janiece Murphy said...

John, I didn't say I wanted to live in China, I just said the failure of government (local and federal) in the Katrina debacle meant the U.S. really isn't in a position to criticize how China chooses to respond.

I tend to be a Federalist myself (although I think Alexander Hamilton was a bastard), mostly due to the quality control issues you mention.

As for being prepared, "luck favors the prepared mind."

Nathan said...

Jeez! Where to start?

The Myanmar/Burma disconnect is because our government decided using Myanmar would signal tacit approval of the junta. I don't have a problem with that.

I'm gonna play devil's advocate here for a minute. I didn't hear the whole thing, but the was a segment on NPR today talking about how aid from the U.S. has always come with some sorts of strings attached, (usually fairly benign in the past) and that the strings have become a lot more blatant and odifferous under the current administration.

Like I said, I didn't hear the whole thing, so I don't know all the details but apparently, in return for aid, Haiti is required to give the U.S. preferential treatment in trade, they have to talk nice about us and some other stuff I missed. I have no love lost for the Junta, but I can understand where they might find U.S. aid against their interests.

And China, from what I can see, has done a brilliant job under horrible circumstances. The effected area is much harder to reach than New Orleans was. The Premiere put his feet on the ground instead of doing a flyover. And yeah, accepting help from Taiwan is jaw-droppingly admirable.

Last, I don't care how slow or indecisive Blanco was. Somebody in FEMA should have called her and said, "We've got all these truckloads of water but we can't send them unless you ask us to. Hint, hint." (This is assuming FEMA actually had anything in motion at that point.)

mom in northern said...

On of the things about being from the western U.S. is that we don't have much patience with government.

I refer you to the local response to the tornado's that hit the town of Windsor, CO. yesterday and took out the town of Holly last year.

The local government and private citizens didn't wait for "someone else" to make it right. Before the wind died down they where out with their dozers and their tractors to begin the cleanup.

As to China...I have been impressed with their reponse to the quake. The area involved is HUGE and the terrian impossable. Under those conditions a strong central government, that was motivated (unlike Burma) is an asset.

Jeri said...

I was born in Rangoon, Burma. (Now Yangon, Myanmar) Dad was a military attache there. I've always wanted to go back - but I have no interest in returning there under the current regime!

I've watched the news on Myanmar for years and it's almost always rotten. The government is destroying the country and its people; it's very sad.