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December 30, 2004

Comments

To say PR isn't important is more or less to agree that here they screwed it up.

If the only screwup is PR, I'm not concerned. I'd rather have us being instrumental in the recovery and aid, and not thumping our collective chests about it with a great deal of urgency, than having the chest-thumping be a distraction. If the government's failing to be properly political, I'm a happy guy.

Timmy: Relevant to what, exactly? The quality of our actual disaster relief efforts? Well, probably, assuming Edward's point about the effect of criticism is wrong (and we really don't have enough information to answer that question). But not relevant to the broader strategic picture? You _must_ be joking. How is a failure of PR not going to affect our standing in success in a strategic PR war?

I'm not totally sure that's what you meant, of course: "PR was not a key driver" is a strikingly opaque sentence. If you meant that PR concerns weren't a key driver of how the Bush Administration framed its response, then it seems to me that you're granting the point under discussion. PR concerns damn well SHOULD have been an element of the Bushies' disaster response.

I'm glad that Stan and Timmy (and Slart, for that matter) are concerned with the substance of our response and how that makes a difference in Southeast Asia. No sarcasm. But it seems to me that such a concern really misses the point of what we're upset about. Step back a sec and look at the broader strategic picture. Our response (and the _perceptions of our response) was a chance to win a strategic PR victory in the PR war that we're fighting with Islamist radicals, by acting in ways that are seen to disprove their slurs and stereotypes. And we muffed it.

What baffles me, really, is that conservatives are so concerned with PR, in certain ways. One of the reasons that Iraq is so important, for example, is the _perceptions_ created by a successful/stable Iraqi liberal democracy: Iraq would serve as a giant PR beacon to prove Western beneficience and the evils of Arab (and Persian) dictatorship. Perceptions and PR matter THERE. So why not here?

And Slart, it's not like the PR concerns would necessarily get in the way of substance. There is clearly a time and place for PR: liberals object to the Bush Admin's ubiquitous employment of PR not because PR is inherently evil, but because Bush uses it to obscure substantive flaws in his policies. Here, PR would have (COULD have) been used to highlight the substantive STRENGTHS in our disaster relief policies, without in any way making it harder to put those policies into action. And yet it wasn't. _That's_ what we have a problem with.

The real issue here is that there is no PR failure. A bunch of people hate the Bush administration. In the end it will play out like the Bush's National Guard record, supposed Cocaine use, "appointed administration", loss of civil liberties and on and on. Truly non-issues that people try to make into issues because they hate Bush.

I bet the people on the ground in that I saw on T.V. with a U.S. Seahawk hovering over them dropping food weren't thinking... "If this appointed administration had just said $350,000,000 on Monday we would all be alot happier now."

Once more, Smlook, misses the point..badly and rather comically. The point of the PR in this relief effort isn't directed at those directly impacted by the disaster; if you're looking for food, clean water, medical help--you're probably pretty unconcerned as to whether it comes from the US or Japan or Sweden.

Mark Shawhan's comment was exactly on the mark.

This was an uncontested layup for this appointed administration and they didn't even throw up an airball; they didn't get a shot off.

The real issue here is that there is no PR failure.

Not just a river in Egypt.

Fine, have it your way. There's now $350 million on its way and that's just the floor, so I'll move on...

Whether or not Bush mended any fences will be clear enough when we need to ask other countries for help/participation in the next adventure anyway.

No PR failure...in fact, we're all simply stunned by the glowing success of the PR in all this.

smlook:
Dutch,

The U.N requested 250 million. The U.S. has provided 194 million for 2004. Go to US aid to look it up.
That's over 77% of the aid.

I went and looked, thought their reporting confusing ;-) and discovered no direct link to UN requests.

Are you familiar with the financial tracking system of reliefweb? It is intended to give a full overview of humanitarian global aid. What is needed, how was it spent, who paid for it.

If you download the donor report on Dafur you will find that over 2004 the US paid 38.08% and the contributions of the EU and EU countries as far as they are mentioned seperately are 37.46%. (I looked at the report with all contributions).

If you download the global donorpage for 2004 you will find that the US contributed 25.30% and the European Union (the institution & the individual countries) 48.36%

Step back a sec and look at the broader strategic picture.

Well exactly, that is why the time spent on putting together the Coalition (Australia, India, Japan and the US) was so much more important than the missed opportunity of a really great "dog and pony" show.

Edward, I thought you would be happy that the Admin is listening to you on increasing the level of aid. Eddie are you are now statisfied with $350 million, I'm not. BTW Eddie, have read any local Indian papers on the overall situation pertaining to the US in the region.

Dutch, does the global donorpage cover carrier task forces or private donations.

Dutch, does the global donorpage cover carrier task forces or private donations.

It has a section 'private', but not per country. Carrier task forces are in the USAID factsheet, and there were links to that document so I assume those items are covered. Not everything can be traced though. And it does not log "binding conditions" on aid either. But it is the best attempt at keeping track I have found so far. If you have better info sites I hope you share them, I am always glad to expand my fact-finding URLs file.

Well exactly, that is why the time spent on putting together the Coalition (Australia, India, Japan and the US) was so much more important than the missed opportunity of a really great "dog and pony" show.

Unfortunately, Bush had exactly zero to do with putting together any coalition.

He was, as he has been about 42% of the time, on vacation. He couldn't be bothered.

Look, this was a real no-brainer. Even Bush should have been able to see the utility of calling a little press conference where he commiserated with the victims, pledged US support, and outlined some vague but impressive plan to have the US take the leadership position in forming a broad-based coalition for relief activities.

He couldn't be bothered. Instead, his handlers offered up $15M and hoped, in vain, those foreigners who don't contribute to GOP campaigns anyway would leave us alone.

dutch,

According to their own data that you emphasized, which they do put a qualifier on the accuracy right at the top. Dafur needed $368,783,286 and has received $305,737,863.

US Aid says that we have given $194,408,134. (OCHA has a smaller number.) The US Aid doesn't list a disclaimer at the top so I think we should go with their number being more accurate.

So that still comes out to over 63% using the data you provided.

To both Dafur and Eastern Chad the U.S. has given $256,374,106. OCHA has only 447,517,526 as received. That comes out to 57%.

This really points out the actions over words debate...

In this African crisis it really seems like the U.S. is carrying the rest of the world on its back.

Maybe, my numbers are wrong. You would have to show me how you calculated yours to come up with your result. I got the EU providing about 29%. Maybe the difference is a math mistake on my part or maybe it is what people said they were going to do versus what they actually did.

BTW, if we add in who pays the way at the U.N. I bet we jump up quite a bit over that 63% in Dafur.

Jade,

Why stop at 42%? I mean Bush is a moron, right? Why don't you just say that he is permanently on vacation 100% of the time.

Why stop at 42%? I mean Bush is a moron, right? Why don't you just say that he is permanently on vacation 100% of the time.

Yes and no. Yes, Bush is a moron. No, he isn't on vacation 100% of the time; it might be a mitigating factor in his favor if he were.

He couldn't be bothered.

Actually, that isn't the case, Bush put military assets in movement and put together a Coalition (notwithstanding, your observations). That is, he took care of the important aspects but ignored the "dog and pony" show.

Smlook: It's kind of a matter of public record that Bush has spent a great deal of time on vacation in Crawford.

Timmy: are you asserting that PR is _not_ an important aspect of how the American government conducts itself in high profile events and affairs? Excuse me?

Actually, that isn't the case, Bush put military assets in movement and put together a Coalition

Nope. He didn't. The orders to divert the CVBG and associated ESG/MPPF elements didn't come until the critism of US relief efforts mounted. The LINCOLN was in port and, thus, available immediately to respond. But the order wasn't given until nearly three days later. Likewise, the MPPF exists for such emergency contingencies and should have been deployed immediately.

Once again, though, you're attempting to divert attention away from Bush's failure to score a PR victory with what has clearly become attempts at damage control.

I think the main point of contention is this --
What Timmy so gleefully considers a "dog and pony show" others call "leadership." We can go round and round (and have) about what the proper response is but I imagine at this point it is just bickering.

For those who woefully lament the dismal partisan point scoring -- I direct you once again to the WH official who went out of his way to take a jab at ole Bubba, before Bush made any statements I might add. Point is, it's all freakin' point scoring these days.

On a related note, how can we believe Bush is all about results and thin on the PR? That is a ludicrous idea. Keep that in mind in the coming months when we are subjected to a cross country blitz of focus-grouped, slogan-assisted speechifying by cabinet members, congressfolk, and the Pres hisself all just to sell us (and that digusting MSM) a little something called "privatization." Dog an pony show my hiney.

This is a bit OT but I can't help but wonder why we didn't have some early warning of this tsunami. I know NOAA monitors seismic activity as does the US Navy--particularly in this area.

heet, I believe you confusing cheerleading with leadership. The leadership is self evident by the actions taken (Coalition and moving military assets). As for the balance of your comment, you confuse analysis with projecting.

Timmy:
As Jadegold pointed out, the military assets were not ordered to move until later. Also, you seem to confuse responses with mindreading. Carry on...

"heet, I believe you confusing cheerleading with leadership."

Guys/gals, I guess you're being baited at this point. Maybe Timmy thinks Bush shouldn't have even announced how much we're donating - who knows - but do you care? If he's not willing to acknowledge what Jadegold's January 2, 2005 11:58 PM does to his argument, the discussion isn't going to move forward with further bickering.

Oops, the site uses different timestamps when previewing - make that Jadegold's January 2, 2005 06:58 PM. Powers-that-be, could you enforce consistency please?

Jadegold: This is a bit OT but I can't help but wonder why we didn't have some early warning of this tsunami. I know NOAA monitors seismic activity as does the US Navy--particularly in this area.

It's my impression from a recent NPR broadcast that we did have warning, there just wasn't any infrastructure in place to quickly get the warning out to the millions living in the affected areas. Sorry I don't have a cite.

Thanks, Gromit. That hadn't occurred to me.

BTW, WRT the CVBG--they're not really a whole lot of help. Generally, a CV deploys with 10-12 helos and about 6 of them are really suited for VERTREP missions. The other helos can perform very limited VERTREP missions but are limited as to payload. The C-130s are what really help.

Additionally, the addition of the BONHOMME RICHARD will help as they deploy with H-53s.

Gromit: I think this might do for a cite.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/27/science/27science.html?oref=login

There has been some agonizing in the sphere about the fact that the seismologists called their associates and friends in the affected regions and informed the authorities but nobody thought of the simple expedient of using CNN etc. to pass on the warning. Plus what Gromit said.


Not to be ghoulish, but is this horrible disaster that significant on the scale of the number of people who die in an average year from earthquakes etc.? Relative to starvation and malaria and civil wars?

This LATimes article has some information about the problem of getting the warning out. Looking at the timeline, the warning would not have been possible for SEAsia, but Sri Lanka and India could have benefitted.

and this essay by Cringely has some thoughts about a do it yourself tsunami warning system

"Our response (and the _perceptions of our response) was a chance to win a strategic PR victory in the PR war that we're fighting with Islamist radicals, by acting in ways that are seen to disprove their slurs and stereotypes."

I think we are talking about different things here. Clinton was a PR master, but his saving Muslims in the Balkans didn't do a damn thing for us with respect to how the larger Muslim world sees us. If there was any kind of strategic PR victory to be had in the response to the tsunami, it is such a small thing compared to the importance of actually helping people that it is hardly worth talking about. As a matter of scale, even if it had been masterfully done, it would be utterly trivial.

Mark,

Do you really believe that just because the President is at his ranch he is on vacation? Again, another non-issue that people try to make into and issue.

Oh, why? Oh, why?

And to the rest of you...

On one hand you want to bitch about how Bush rushed into Iraq after 10 years of sanctions.

And then you want to accuse him of not having a plan for Iraq. And then you want to bitch that our military is stretched to thin. And then you want to bitch because he didn't rush in.

And then many of you accuse him of being all about image and managed by his handlers in such a way that makes him look good. And then you want bitch about him not doing enough PR.

Bitch, gripe, whine.

Maybe Timmy thinks Bush shouldn't have even announced how much we're donating - who knows - but do you care?

Spot on Dude, I would have preferred Bush simply stating, America will insure that the job gets done, simply reflecting that $350 million may (isn't) enough.

Maybe, my numbers are wrong. You would have to show me how you calculated yours to come up with your result. I got the EU providing about 29%. Maybe the difference is a math mistake on my part or maybe it is what people said they were going to do versus what they actually did.

I gave you the link to the various reports. I went to the Sudan 2004 donor page, took the donation from the EU; added the donation from Echo & added the donations from all the countries that are in the EU. You can add all the European countries if you want to compare with Europe instead of with the EU.

In 2004 the US gave more than the almost 200m you quote: it gave 364,895,039 dollar. The total (consolidated appeals & other contributions) for 2004 was 958,130,070 dollar.

BTW, if we add in who pays the way at the U.N. I bet we jump up quite a bit over that 63% in Dafur.

LOL, you want to de the same thing? US versus the cumulative EU countries? Are you sure?

This is a bit OT but I can't help but wonder why we didn't have some early warning of this tsunami. I know NOAA monitors seismic activity as does the US Navy--particularly in this area.

NOAA is only responsible for monitoring the Pacific. When the reports first came in, the severity of the earthquake was underestimated and NOAA sent out an alert about the earthquake but said there was no threat of a tsunami in the Pacific. When the estimates of the severity of the earthquake were revised upward, NOAA sent an alert to Australia that there was the possibility of a tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and Australia passed this on to Indonesia - this was almost an hour after the initial earthquake.

The bottom line is that earthquakes happen all the time - most of them don't generate a tsunami. If people had been, over the last few decades, warned of every earthquake they would ignore the warnings as earthquakes around the Indian Ocean have not generated a large tsunami in over a century. There needs to be an actual tsunami warning system, as there is in the Pacific. This would monitor waves, not earthquakes, and would be able to send out warnings only when they were warranted, in which case the warnings would stand a better chance of being heeded.

There also needs to be a warning system in the Caribbean and in the Atlantic. An earthquake off Portugal caused a major tsunami in the Caribbean in the 1750s, if it happened that recently in geological time it will almost certainly happen again.

There was a push a few months ago to get a seismic center for the Caribbean open 24 hours a day as a first step towards this, it was killed due to lack of funding by the Bush administration. "Leadership", some call it, when they are bitching, griping, and moaning about people being held responsible, when those doing the bitching would rather that the buck be passed (preferably passed back in time to the Clinton era, as we have already seen in this thread).

Maybe, you guys should go to:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6770575/

They have the transcipt of Powell and Russert. Then you can see how everything folder atleast according to Powell.

According to Powell, this "appointed administration" isn't quite so diabolically evil or incompetent as many of you here believe.

If there was any kind of strategic PR victory to be had in the response to the tsunami, it is such a small thing compared to the importance of actually helping people that it is hardly worth talking about. As a matter of scale, even if it had been masterfully done, it would be utterly trivial.

True. Help is the most important thing. The current contributions are a big help (both money, if aid without conditions, and manpower/material) and are recognized as such.

The vacation thing is not a big issue I think. By now Bush should have practise enough in how to keep things running whilst on vacation [insert evil grin]. I do agree with Edward that it is a missed PR opportunity. People who care about the US image in the world will have more of a problem with that than people that don't really care what other counries think. But compared to the aid given it is trivial.

They have the transcipt of Powell and Russert. Then you can see how everything folder atleast according to Powell.

According to Powell? Heh. Can we assume his answers are just as honest as his UN testimony (or his "PR" work in Vietnam)?

felix's description of Powell, lays out the issue in perfect context, no matter what Bush did or didn't do felix would have an issue.

Dutch,

What's your take on aid to Dafur? Is the U.S. carrying the heavy weight or did I make a mistake in my analysis?

Timmy,

It really comes down to this for me:

Do I trust Jadegold's and Felix's analysis or Powell's. I'm guessing neither one has talked to the President in the last week. Neither probably were out at the ranch vacationing. Probably not included in the discussions at all. Maybe Jade's keen insight is right on target. Maybe, he does know more about the situation than Powell.


Do I trust Jadegold's and Felix's analysis or Powell's. I'm guessing neither one has talked to the President in the last week.

Wow, that point went way over your head, didn't it? I will make it as clear as I can for you: Powell is a known and proven serial liar. Powell does know about the situation. Where you fail is in your assumption that he will relay that information to you truthfully. He has shown by his actions that such an assumption is false. You may choose to place your trust in known and proven serial liars if you wish, that is your right, as damaging to a free republic as the exercise of it may be.

I'm guessing neither one has talked to the President in the last week. Neither probably were out at the ranch vacationing. Probably not included in the discussions at all.

Of course, neither one of them lied to the UN so, y'know, a little from column A and a little from column B...

I don't know if this was intended to be rhetorical, rilkefan, but I'll take a quick stab at it anyway:

Not to be ghoulish, but is this horrible disaster that significant on the scale of the number of people who die in an average year from earthquakes etc.?

AFAIK yes. High-casualty earthquakes are quite rare; the recent Bam earthquake was the exception not the rule. [Though if anyone knows anything about this mythic earthquake in Tangshan, China in 1976 I'd be grateful. I can't find any meaningful accounts, let alone reconcile the ones I've been able to find.] Worldwide casualties from earthquakes *usually* clock in around the thousands, occasionally the tens of thousands IIRC. I'd wager this single event is probably an order of magnitude greater in the initial strike alone; lord knows what will happen with the subsequent health calamities.

Relative to starvation and malaria and civil wars?

Malaria's a tricky one; from what I remember there aren't good malarial statistics because most of the deaths occur in areas with marginal reporting capabilities. There hasn't been a true malarial epidemic in quite some time, though, so it's difficult to compare the two.

As for starvation or civil wars, this isn't even close. The one potential exception would be if an epidemic were spawned because of it (cholera, typhoid, dystentary and malaria, in that order I'd bet) or if the civil destabilization resulted in outright warfare. Given that even the Tamil Tigers seem to be on the straight-and-narrow for the moment, though -- and given the unprecedented level of scrutiny -- I suspect that won't happen.

Whether these are useful or meaningful comparisons... sorry, I haven't the wisdom to say.

"Powell is a known and proven serial liar."

Let's see... Clinton thought Iraq had WMD, Kerry thought it and Richard Clarke thought it.

Good point felix and anarch... that does put him in some pretty sorry company.

Ah, the voice of moderation...

Of course, neither one of them lied to the UN so, y'know, a little from column A and a little from column B...

What we do know is that two task forces were on the move by the morning (EST) of the 28th and a Coalition was up and running by the 29th.

As for Powell and veracity as compared to felix-anarch and veracity, have to go with Powell every time on geopolitics.

Let's see... Clinton thought Iraq had WMD, Kerry thought it and Richard Clarke thought it.

"Iraq has WMD" was not the sum total of Powell's UN performance (and has no bearing whatsoever on his actions in Vietnam).

Ah, the voice of the fallacy of extension.

The point stands.

felix, that free republic you are so fond of, made the decision before Powell ever spoke to the UN JFTR.

As for Powell and veracity as compared to felix-anarch and veracity, have to go with Powell every time on geopolitics.

"felix-anarch"? Once again, I've been addressed as a collective. Is there something in the air that's promoting that particular pathology or did I just miss a memo?

As for the substantive point, minimal though it may be, I don't doubt Powell is more intelligent than myself and his understanding of geopolitics exceeds mine by so many orders of magnitude as to render the comparison vacuous. If we're talking about his veracity, otoh -- by which, to clarify my point about, I would mean being honest rather than merely truthful -- well no, sorry, I've got him beat by a country mile. Often to my detriment, alas.

All of this is beside the point, however. While I hope that Powell's version is correct in the sense that the US government was willing, and planning, to give aid of this magnitude, I find it distinctly worrying that Bush missed a golden opportunity to score some easy PR points -- and to be perfectly clear: which in turn would have translated to a victory on the battlefield of hearts and minds, which in turn would've played into national security and the safety of our troops in Iraq and the successes of our various ventures abroad -- and instead may have fostered a perception of the US that could adversely impact our aims.

felix, that free republic you are so fond of, made the decision before Powell ever spoke to the UN JFTR.

Whether the UN presentation would have impacted the realpolitik of the situation is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether Powell displayed the requisite integrity at that presentation. JFTR.

I find it distinctly worrying that Bush missed a golden opportunity to score some easy PR points

With whom, certainly not with Felix. What would have had to say to score points with you Anarch.

Powell presented a case vetted by State and the CIA and Powell still maintains his integrity in the geopolitical playing field.

" find it distinctly worrying that Bush missed a golden opportunity to score some easy PR points -- and to be perfectly clear: which in turn would have translated to a victory on the battlefield of hearts and minds, which in turn would've played into national security and the safety of our troops in Iraq and the successes of our various ventures abroad -- and instead may have fostered a perception of the US that could adversely impact our aims."

Once again incredibly overplaying the potential PR benefit of tsunami aid. On a scale of impact compared to Egypt's venemous press, the tsunami relief PR opportunity is a 0.000000001.

As a general concept I think people in the world drastically underestimate the good the US does in the world and overestimate the bad. But you all are really going overboard on the utility of the PR here.

"On a scale of impact compared to Egypt's venemous press, the tsunami relief PR opportunity is a 0.000000001."

I'd be interested to know how you quantify this - but more relevantly, do you think this estimate is accurate for Aceh?

The Egyptian press is read throughout the Middle East, and as far as Indonesia. Do people in the Aceh sections watch CNN? How much good do you think a statement would have done for them?

I know squat about the relative market share of the Egyptian press and CNN in Indonesia, but my guess is that opinion-makers there read both.

My sense of the way things work is that America has advocates throughout the Islamic world, and that their position would have been strengthened by a clearer leadership role by Bush. I bet there are conversations going on right now in coffee houses (or the local equivalent) where a moderate is arguing with an anti-American radical and wishing that when he says that the US is giving $0.35B to (mostly) Muslims that his interlocutor had no counterargument; and sorry that Al Jazeera's nightly broadcast was dwelling on the tardy US response instead of (perhaps grudgingly) admitting the US had taken the obvious leadership role from day 1.

On a scale of impact compared to Egypt's venemous press, the tsunami relief PR opportunity is a 0.000000001

Of course the Bush administration had a plan to combat the venemous (sic) Arab press, didn't it? I believe her name was Charlotte Beers. What happened to that plan? Perhaps she could be persuaded to return to the State Department to run the campaign to convince the electorate that Bush doesn't care about PR...

"and sorry that Al Jazeera's nightly broadcast was dwelling on the tardy US response instead of (perhaps grudgingly) admitting the US had taken the obvious leadership role from day 1."

And that would be pure spin. There has in fact been no tardy response.

And hey, if you want to talk about how we need an effective VOA or something in the Middle East, I'm right there with you. But that has squat to do with any miniscule and alleged lack of PR on the tsunami.

Re Charlotte Beers...

"There has in fact been no tardy response."

Here we're back at the "what is a response" impasse. And in any case I don't understand how you can show such lack of interest in what al J says, spin or not, or in the counterarguments the moderate I posited is facing.

Got a link for Muslim criticism of "tardy" US efforts?

Got a link for Muslim criticism of "tardy" US efforts?

Let's check the list of fallacious arguments for the classification:

Failure To State:
if you make enough attacks, and ask enough questions, you may never have to actually define your own position on the topic.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

I'm hoping there is someone fluent in Bahasa, but most of the Indonesian newspapers are subscription only, so it's tough to find out what was or is being said. However, this op-ed piece from The Hindu, a national Indian newspaper, should give Americans pause.

I'd also point out on the day the news hit about the tsunami (27 Dec), the top story on the international page was the following
An energetic push to inaugural fund

WASHINGTON, DEC. 26. Drawing support from the energy industry and other long-time backers of the U.S. President, George W. Bush, the presidential inaugural committee has raised almost $8 million since it began gathering money this month, according to a list it released.

And other stories on the page included 'Germany stands by to help', Putin offers condolences' The next day in the international section, one of the top stories was 'Chinese Premier offers condolences'. There's also a front page story on 2 Jan about donations by the Chinese embassy. I still haven't found an article mentioning Bush offering condolences, though there is a 1 jan article highlighting Blair's disagreement with Bush's 4 nation proposal and an article about Jeb Bush and Powell visiting. At the risk of being accused of reading too much into it, the last article has the following graf

The decision to send Mr. Powell and Mr. Jeb Bush, President Bush's brother, was seen by administration officials as likely to help defuse whatever hurt feelings there might be in Asia that Mr. Bush was slow to respond, at least compared with how quickly many other nations reacted to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Let's check the list of fallacious arguments for the classification"

felixrayman, got a link for that list?

lj - thanks for the cites. If I haven't mentioned it before, I appreciate your contribution to this blog.

got a link for that list?

The list is here.

Substantively, it is not as good as the list alluded to earlier in the thread by Phil, but it is all on one HTML page, which makes for easier reading.

v. cool, thanks.

You might want to check the response time to the Iran earthquake before you start freaking out. There was no tardy response the aid was and is being sent with amazing rapidity. Those who want to complain that some PR is as important, or even particularly important, are free to do so. But frankly, you are being ridiculous if you think that it is within orders of magnitude of importance when compared to the quick physical response. We can still highlight the actual work done, if you think it is crucial to engage in PR stunts.

smlook:
Dutch,
What's your take on aid to Dafur? Is the U.S. carrying the heavy weight or did I make a mistake in my analysis?

You said:

History is on my side LJ... in the end the U.S. will do far more in the effort as a whole than probably most countries combined.

Oh and guess what country supplies almost all the aid to Dafur? Just one guess... think really hard. Yes, once again... it was this "appointed administration". Those evil Bushies... how dare they be so generous.

No the US is not supplying almost all the aid and no, the US does not do more than most countries combined.

The US *does* provide aid and *does* help. But comments like yours (and Stan elswhere saying that Europe is just rhetoric and everybody knows that they should go to the US for the dollars) give a wrong impression.

JFTR, the Bush Admin had military assets moving on the 27th, the local media was reporting about it on the 28th.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

There's always Changing The Subject. This was Tacitus' first appearance on this thread, with a one-sentence post, and you accuse him of being unresponsive. I wonder which of you is more guilty of evasion, here?

Dutch,

"the US does not do more than most countries combined."

I originally heard the U.S. was supplying 80% of the aid to Dafur. But, I can only show the U.S. is providing over 63%. That means the U.S. is providing more than the whole world combined in Dafur.

I should revise my statement to be a little clearer. I meant that the U.S. will probably do more than all the countries in the EU combined.

Which seems to be clearly the case in Dafur.


smlook
See my post of January 2, 2005 04:51 PM

Bravo Mr. President - we have helicopters from USS Lincoln's carrier group actually dropping supplies and provisions to unreachable areas faster than UPS could have shipped from NYC to LA. This is just an incredible Logistics accomplishment that could have only been achieved by immediate ACTION. There will always be time for 'gestures'.

don't overdo it Blog...a little goes a long way. ;-)

And you know, it sounds like we owe our President a couple of 'comp' days. He must not have been on vacation afterall. Anyone here in favor of giving him some days off?

Anyone here in favor of giving him some days off?

Sure...let's schedule them for January 2009, shall we?

So, I ask: "Got a link for Muslim criticism of 'tardy' US efforts?"

And felixrayman, taking a break from boning up on Russian history, writes, "Let's check the list of fallacious arguments for the classification...."

The embittered obsessives strike! Actually, I really am looking for links to Muslim criticism of "tardy" US efforts. Before posting this, I searched for some, and could not find a one.

The embittered obsessives strike!

Indeed...

this goes out to everyone....New Year...new tone, please.

"But comments like yours (and Stan elswhere saying that Europe is just rhetoric and everybody knows that they should go to the US for the dollars) give a wrong impression."

If we are speaking about Dafur, pretty much the sum total of all aid is in the PR category. No one is willing to stop the actual killing. The genocide continues, abated only from time to time by weather. But I predict it will end before December. The genocide will be successful.

Timmy: What would have had to say to score points with you Anarch.

Would it kill you to actually write in complete sentences, Timmy? It's especially irritating when you omit the object of the verb; what would who have had to say?

Nevertheless, I'll take a stab at it and guess that you mean President Bush. So, first: scoring points with me is utterly irrelevant to this context. [It's not like I'm going to get another chance to vote on him, and he's made it abundantly clear that he doesn't give a damn what I think.] I'm worried about how Bush's response affects our image abroad. I'll therefore reinterpret your question as "What would [Bush] have had to say in order to improve our international image?"

The short answer is: I would have wanted Bush to a) immediately cut his vacation short, b) make an immediate public appearance (not a radio address). Specific utterances are a little hard to qualify; I'd've liked, among others, for him c) to have used the opportunity to point out that the US would be prepared to offer whatever assistance was necessary, and in particular to be careful to phrase all talk of aid amounts as "first responses" rather than give the impression of them being discretized chunks meted out charily; d) to take the opportunity to point out that political differences are nothing compared to moral commonalities; and e) to ensure that this aid is a gift, rather than a loan or anything similar.* He may have done some of d and e -- I can't find a link to the radio address he gave, nor do I remember it clearly enough -- but I thought I'd include them to profile what I think an appropriate response would have been instead rather than merely try to bash Bush.

* There was a developing story around the 30th about how some of our aid amounts were originally phrased in terms of a loan or something similar, but it might have just been sloppy reportage. I'm not sure how it panned out (my internet access is sporadic right now); I hope it turns out to have been wrong.

Powell presented a case vetted by State and the CIA and Powell still maintains his integrity in the geopolitical playing field.

Prove the latter assertion. I'm all ears.

Sebastian: Once again incredibly overplaying the potential PR benefit of tsunami aid. On a scale of impact compared to Egypt's venemous press, the tsunami relief PR opportunity is a 0.000000001.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. The battle for a billion hearts and minds begins with... well, when the Bush Administration begins to fight it, let me know.

And really, that's part of the problem I mentioned in Charles Bird's thread. The Bush Administration is enormously reluctant to clarify what it is we're supposed to be fighting, let alone decide how it is we're supposed to fight it, and this blown opportunity -- though, I agree, it's a small one -- is a testament to that fact.

That said, I find myself enormously heartened by Edward's most recent post and so I think it's time to let this thread die. See ya in the funny papers.

Given the massive Muslim goodwill we earned saving the Muslims of Somalia, Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo, it seems difficult to believe that tsunami relief efforts will make much of a difference.

Anarch,

I reall think this would be more accurate:

"To me" The Bush Administration is enormously reluctant to clarify what it is we're supposed to be fighting, let alone decide how it is we're supposed to fight it, and this blown opportunity...

I mean seriously, the election shows that most Americans don't really agree with you.

Given the massive Muslim goodwill we earned saving the Muslims of Somalia, Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo, it seems difficult to believe that tsunami relief efforts will make much of a difference.

There are those who nothing will satisfy, surely, but don't you think the moderates (on whom our hopes really lie) were influenced by such efforts?

Beyond those individuals whose lives we immediately saved? No. If they were, I missed it.

I would distinguish between this effort and those by saying that in this case, we aren't fighting anyone.

For instance, by the time we acutually began occupying Kosovo, almost all of the Serbs had actually been "reverse cleansed," and the occupying forces have spent most of their energies preventing the few remaning Serbs from being abused, kicked out, and/or slaughtered.


Tacitus,

As if!. Gallup poll taken in Kuwait (whom we bailed out in 1991):

Have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the United States :

Favorable: 28%
Unfavorable: 41%
Neither: 31%

Say U.S. military action in Afghanistan is morally justifiable:

Justifiable: 17%
Unjustifiable: 69%
Neither: 14%

Believe news reports that Arabs carried out Sept. 11 attacks:

True: 11%
Not true: 89%
Don't know: 0%

Article is dated 02/27/2002

If they were, I missed it.

Would you know? Would most people in the U.S. necessarily know? American reporting on the Arab and Muslim worlds is severely handicapped, so it's not clear to me what mechanism you or I would have for really answering that question. (British reporting is less severely handicapped, but still, if you're restricted to English-language sources you're likely missing out on a lot. That's the generic "you", not the specific btw.)

Well, you're right, I can't read Arabic, Turkish, et al., so I rely upon translations to English for my sources. That being said, I would like to think I'm comparatively well-read within that constraint. Those with the skills I lack are welcome to point out whatever relevant information they wish on this subject.

Beyond those individuals whose lives we immediately saved? No. If they were, I missed it.

Well, Muqtedar Khan is one. Perhaps starting with him you'll find the others.

"There are those who nothing will satisfy, surely, but don't you think the moderates (on whom our hopes really lie) were influenced by such efforts?"

Influenced ON ANY LEVEL? Sure. Influenced on any important level? I doubt it.

Tacitus,

memri.org is a good start. heh.

Edward, from his book:

The World wars, the holocaust, colonialism, imperialism, slavery and racism are just a few of the crimes that the West has and/or to much lesser extent continues to commit outside its borders. These elements of the West are puzzling. How can a society that has so much respect for a human life at home be so determined to allow the steady elimination of innocent Iraqis? Source

More from his book:

They have seen how U.S.-led sanctions have gradually squeezed the life out of Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of Muslim children. Recently they watched in horror as Israeli Army killed more than 2000 protesting Palestinians...Source

Need I go on?

Stan,

down boy...

repeat after me: new year...new tone.

Stan,

The question was Kosovo et al., which Muqtedar Khan has gone out of his way to praise the US for intervening in.

With regards to your quotes, prove that he's wrong...

Edward, I can't provide excerpts from the book you've provided as an example of moderation?

smlook: I mean seriously, the election shows that most Americans don't really agree with you.

No, actually, it doesn't. It shows that a lot of people in this country think they know what Bush and his Administration stand for, but as I've maintained repeatedly that's a far different claim than the one you're (implicitly) making. Furthermore, it's my contention that the Bush Administration is deliberately obscuring their aims because clarifying them would necessarily cost them political support in their base by those who think they understand the Administration, but are in fact incorrect.*

Let me expand a little because I don't think you've seen me make this point previously. I think that in the early days of the Bush Administration their aims were unclear because the Administration was riven by political differences and because Bush himself lacked a unifying plan. This is why we had what I referred to elsewhere as a "weirdly schizophrenic march to war": disparate elements of the Administration gained ascendancy at different times, resulting in proclamations of almost every conceivable rationale, in effect rendering the Administration a Rorschach test... so what you see is what you want.** Over time, I think they perceived the utility of this morass of ambiguity, so that now the Administration actually does this as a matter of deliberate policy -- by, for example, never actually clarifying exactly who or what we're fighting against.

That's why we have a "War on Terror", which means precisely nothing, as opposed to a "War With Al Qaeda" or "War Against Wahhabism" or "Struggle Against Radical Islam" or "Fight Against Violent Fundamentalism" or something that actually has a meaning. [This is the core of the former Bird Dog's complaint in the previous thread.] That's why we don't have clearly defined objectives and why we don't -- and can't -- have a clearly defined strategy to pursue them. [Hence the blown PR opportunity here.] That's why this "War on Terror" is infinitely malleable, justifying anything from the invasion of Iraq to shutting down strip clubs in Nevada to banning prescription drugs from Canada. It means nothing, so it can mean anything.

And meaning anything, it can mean whatever you, as a generic individual, want.

So yes, Bush won the election. Yes, my guy lost. No, that doesn't in the slightest contradict anything I've said. Bush is practicing governance through obscurity and, while it's patently politically successful, I think it's enormously destructive to our nation's interests and our nation's political health. You're free to disagree, of course; I only ask that you address my actual position in the process.

* Clarifying would probably garner them support (possibly even more than they'd otherwise lose) but from groups whose political leanings don't mesh so neatly with Bush's. My read of the political calculus is that they'd rather have 50% + 1 from within their base than 60% diluted through a coalition.

** Or, if you're a liberal, what you don't want.

Edward,

How can a society that has so much respect for a human life at home be so determined to allow the steady elimination of innocent Iraqis?

Determined?

U.S.-led sanctions have gradually squeezed the life out of Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of Muslim children

No mention of the UNSCAM and moneys diverted by Saddam to build palaces instead of buying food/medicine? No mention of the purpose of the sanctions? Come on, Edward.

Stan,

to clarify, the "new year...new tone" comment was about the memri.org line...not the quotes.

About the quotes demonstrating that Khan is not moderate, again, prove those statements are not true.

Being a moderate doesn't mean one must be pro-US, just not anti-US.

Stan,

we can parse each line Khan has written with you emphasizing this word and me emphasizing that word, but in the end, Khan has chastised other Muslims for not recognizing that good the US did to save Muslims in Kosovo, and that was the reason I suggested Tacitus re-consider his original statement.

Being a "moderate" doesn't mean being a push over...ask von.

Edward,

While claiming that we are so determined to allow the steady elimination of innocent Iraqis?


I don't want to start this all up again, but I do want to point out a few things. Tac wrote:
Actually, I really am looking for links to Muslim criticism of "tardy" US efforts. Before posting this, I searched for some, and could not find a one.

Well, I gave you the Hindu link. Not Muslim, I know, but certainly appropriate. The jakarta Post has free registration, and while you may argue that the absence of stories about aid means that you are right, I would suggest that the absence of any comment that the US has donated money (the only one is in this one laundry list article that appeared today and the one below) and the (archived) articles about Howard and Koizumi's efforts (with no mention of Bush) and the acknowledgement of condolence calls by Putin, Jiang and Howard (but not Bush), I would argue, says volumes.

Unfortunately, for the paper in Ache, much of their staff is missing (though they have been able to go to print

And if non-Muslims feel that we aren't being generous, they are going to have a stick to beat us with, regardless of how fair or unfair the charge is.

We now have Powell saying that we aren't going to pay anymore than what we said, which is why I personally would have preferred an immediate gesture by Bush sans a financial figure.

Here, from behind the registration wall, is the Jakarta Post article about the condolence letters received in Indonesia. I hope you are right that this is no biggie and everyone is going to congratulate us. I really do. But I have found that it is not what is said, it is what is left out, and this article is an example of that

Presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens from around the globe offered the Aceh tsunami victims their heartfelt sympathies and pledged aid and assistance to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Copies of condolence letters and offers of help sent to Susilo were made available to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday by a range of embassies in Jakarta.

On behalf of the European Union (EU) and the Netherlands, the Dutch Queen Beatrix and Prime Minister Balkenende extended their heartfelt sympathies to the victims and relatives of those affected.

"The EU stands ready to assist in every way possible to alleviate the sad plight of the victims. To that end it has activated its Monitoring and Information Center in Brussels to coordinate the rescue and relief efforts from the European Union," the Queen and Prime Minister said in a declaration.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi offered on Monday victims' families his condolences through a letter sent to Susilo.

Japan announced on Tuesday assistance of US$1.87 million to Indonesian victims.

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta said on Tuesday that Washington has provided an initial $100,000 to the Indonesian Red Cross for immediate relief activities. The U.S. is planning to give another $2 million to the Red Cross.

Meanwhile, British aid minister Gareth Thames telephoned Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda on Tuesday to convey condolences on behalf of the British government and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

"We are ready to respond to the need to help Indonesian people in Aceh by sending two British humanitarian aid advisers immediately to coordinate our response," Thames said.

Indonesia's neighbor India, which is also a victim of the tragedy, conveyed its deep sympathies to the victims' families.

"Our sympathies are with the families who have lost their near and dear ones. We pray to the Almighty to give them strength to withstand this difficult period with courage," Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said in a letter sent to Susilo.

"The Government of India stands ready to provide any assistance that you may require," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a separate letter sent to Susilo.

The Chinese Embassy said on Tuesday that Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had sent a message to Susilo.

"The two Chinese leaders extended deep condolences to the Indonesian President and, through President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to the families," the Embassy said.

China has donated $600,000 worth of blankets, tents and food to the victims.

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also conveyed similar message to Susilo.

"In the spirit of friendship and collaboration that unite our two countries, the Italy is very close to and supportive of Indonesian people in this tragic moment," President Ciampi said.

"I promptly gave instructions to stand ready and contribute to the relieve of the population affected. Italy is close to you and to your country in this tragic moment of sorrow," Berlusconi said in a letter sent to Susilo.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin also expressed on Sunday his sympathy and support to the quake-hit countries including Indonesia.

"On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to express my deep sympathy and condolences to those affected. We extend our thoughts and prayers to all the victims, their families, and others hit by this terrible disaster," Martin said.

A powerful earthquake measuring on 9.0 on the Richter scale and deadly tsunamis struck Indonesia's two northern provinces -- Aceh and North Sumatra -- and killed more than 15,000 people. The death toll may rise further as scores of villages, towns are still cut off from the outside world.

I also wonder about your figures on the generosity of Americans in the link you gave. You quote 240 billion, but that figure includes religious organizations (84 billion), college bequests (31 billion) before we even get to a tranche that might be mostly the kind of donations that are being discussed. I'm not sure why it is so hard to just say that there was a problem here but it's been fixed. But I am definitely going to leave while there is the slightest faint traces of some equine life form left (though some may disagree)

Off, italics!

lj,

too much quoted stuff...try to keep em shorter please.

Stan,

you emphasize "determined" in that sentence...try emphasizing "allowed"...if you do that can be read as a call to end Hussein's regime.

Edward, I think he's referring to the sanctions.

Stan, again, essentially we're in a parsing contest, which only muddies the point. As your source links aren't bringing up the quoted text for me, I'll limit my example to your quote:

They have seen how U.S.-led sanctions have gradually squeezed the life out of Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of Muslim children.

Who is "They"? It's save to assume the author is talking about anti-US Muslims in this context, but all he's describing is what "they" have "seen"...it's a fair and accurate description from some peoples' point of view, most likely attempting to explain an attitude. The US-led sanctions DID squeeze the life out of Iraqi.

You're stripping away the context and trying to portray him as radical for not painting each observation in red, white, and blue. I'm not sure why either.

By the way, "Recently they watched in horror as Israeli Army killed more than 2000 protesting Palestinians..."

That "protesting" part is killer. Really.

If parse we must...

what would you substitute for "protesting" Stan?

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