U.S. Copters a "Golden Vision"
Today's New York Daily News carries a story quoting Jan Egeland, the head of the UN's emergency relief coordination:
The U.S. Navy helicopters flying to the rescue of devastated villages in Sumatra, Indonesia, are "worth their weight in gold," a grateful United Nations official gushed yesterday. The fleet of Seahawk choppers flying from the deck of the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and other ships in the battle group clattered for a second day into Sumatran villages that have not seen any help since the tsunami struck the Indonesian island a week ago. Aid workers had been dismayed over the prospects of getting clean water, food and medicine to the thousands of survivors stranded when the tidal wave wiped out roads and docks throughout the remote region. Without the supplies, they feared another wave of death from starvation and disease. The Abraham Lincoln arrived off the coast Saturday and immediately began launching the Seahawks inland to deliver the goods. "Those helicopters are worth their weight in gold now," said UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland.Now this is certainly newsworthy. A higher-up in the UN has just paid the US military a compliment – or if not the troops then at least their armaments. Yet today on the way home while listening to NPR, the only mention of Mr. Egelund was from his recent criticism of the US for its stinginess: ". . .$350million dollars, which some critics have said was far too little . . ." But that story is already a full week old. [It is tempting here to begin referring to NPR as Radio Beijing, as a good friend once did, but we'll refrain.] Perhaps Mr. Egelund has changed his mind when faced with the incredible power of American arms, or maybe just had a weak moment when he strayed from the party line in the midst of the chaos wherever he happens to be (note, though, that the story doesn't say he is in SE Asia – remember, as we just witnessed from Kofi, UN leaders can lead from anywhere, even while vacationing in Wyoming.) [Later tonight, some basics of humanitarian and other relief operations . . .]