09 May 2008

Goons in Burma's Junta Won't Let Navy Provide Relief

Burma got hit with a devastating cyclone where the death toll could reach 100,000 if aid isn't provided in a timely fashion. The UN has reported they are "extremely disappointed" with the access they are getting to the people in need, and the USS Essex strike group is doing donuts in the Gulf of Thailand instead of conducting a humanitarian mission. From the AFP wire:

US Navy ships, including an amphibious assault ship with helicopters and US marines, are standing by off Thailand awaiting permission to join relief efforts in cyclone-hit Myanmar, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The Pentagon and the State Department have begun planning for a humanitarian relief mission even though Myanmar has yet to respond to US offers of aid, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said. "But that's all we can do at this point, is to plan, because we have not received a request from the Burmese government," Morrell said, using Myanmar's former official name.

The Burmese government is best known for their secretive, military junta rule and beating up peaceful monk protestors. Now, they don't want other nations to help out with this humanitarian disaster, because their oppressed citizens might learn unrevolutionary ideas from foreigners coming into the country. It's sad that there are still dictatorial regimes like this in the world.

The US military isn't just for blowing shit up and getting haircuts. Humanitarian operations conducted during the Tsunami in 2004 and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005 saved thousands of lives. And right now, the ridiculous politics of the Burmese regime is getting in the way. It boggles the mind. As LCDR Avery says:

Sad, but true, many countries in the region would rather watch their own people suffer and die than accept help from Americans.