Skip to comments.Bush Criticizes U.N. 'Stingy' Comment
Posted on 12/29/2004 10:01:47 AM PST by RockinRight
By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) 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 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.
"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 (news - web sites) 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."
But 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 (news - web sites)' emergency relief coordinator and former head of the Norwegian Red Cross to challenge the giving of rich nations.
"We were more generous when we were less rich, many of the rich countries," Egeland said. "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.
Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) 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 (news - web sites)'s last year to $24 billion under President Bush in 2003. Powell said U.S. assistance for this week's earthquake and tsunamis alone will eventually exceed $1 billion.
"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 (news - web sites) and HIV (news - web sites) 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.
However, if it were me, I'd say "OK, you're right. As of now, ALL foreign aid is cut off, you a--holes."
But Bush is classier and more diplomatic than I am.
Gotta love it.
Had it been me, I would have announced the redirecting of U.N. funding fromt he U.S. to aid relief.
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) _ President Bush said Tuesday the United States, India, Australia and Japan have formed an international coalition to coordinate worldwide relief and reconstruction efforts for the Asian region ravaged by a deadly earthquake and tsunamis. ``We will stand with them as they start to rebuild their communities,'' Bush said from his Texas ranch in his first comments on the disaster Sunday that so far has killed more than 67,000.
That would have been TOO BEAUTIFUL!!
I support the President
Bush is gonna love signing the bill into law that expels the UN (Useless Nimrods) from US soil.
Oh man, that would be so sweet.
I would have preferred the President saying,
"Well, the person who made that statement was one very misguided and ill-informed son of a bitch."
Hehe...I'd love that.
That's because those countries ONLY want to count TAX DOLLARS wrung from the people; it makes THEM look better because they are socilaist country who control their GDP.
I will post a great post from this morning:
The money the government of the U.S. sends for disasters like this is merely a portion of what U.S. citizens contribute. What the U.N., and it's supporters, forgets is that the U.S. is the most generous, prosperous, and economically stable Nation on earth for the precise reason that we don't tax our people as drastically as the rest of the world does.
For example, the GDP of the United States in 2004 is estimated to be at $10.99 Trillion. The Budget of the United States government is $2.156 Trillion (2004 est.). This means the government controls 19.6% of the GDP.
The GDP of Norway is $171.7 billion (2004 est.). The budget for the Norwiegen government is $105.5 billion. The Norwiegen government controls 61.4% of the GDP.
Is it any wonder that a government that controls 61% of a nations GDP can give 0.92% of that nations GDP to foreign aid? After all, that is only 1.49% of their governments budget. If the United States spent the "recommended" 0.7%, it would be 3.5% of the governments budget.
The U.S. is only stingy in the eyes of those who would have money that wasn't theirs. In other words, the thieves are pissed that we won't unlock the safe for them.
Every dollar and every life we spend fighting terrorists should be counted, if people must keep count. They end up being another kind of natural disaster.
And as for percentage of GDP or total amount being the yardstick (in disaster relief), I think the fact that we gave 40% of all aid speaks volumes. Some people (socialists) are never satisfied.
When I see stats like that, it reminds me that while we do have too large of a government, there's still hope for us, unlike most of socialist Europe.
I would have put in a dig contrasting US aid with UN-run humanitarian efforts, like "Oil-for-Food," something along the lines of, "Unlike certain recent international relief programs, we in the US make sure that our money actually gets to those in need, rather than line the pockets of corrupt international officials.
Diplomat I'm not...I'd just tell them to shove it up their ^%#
I think you're right; Yawn Egghead is upset because Bush called the heads of those countries DIRECTLY, i.e., not ooing through HIM and his little kingdom.
And we'll give the money directly to the countries, not to the UN bank account where it may disapear.
I wish Dubya actually WAS "stingy' with our tax dollars.
Instead, the little weasel has been on a spending spree like a drunken sailor, plunging us over $1.5 TRILLION deeper in debt.
He borrows money just to give it away, debt that our posterity doesn't have a prayer of ever repaying.
Ha!!! That'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic.
You have a point.
That would be a John Hancock for the ages.
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