DATE: 12/28/2004 01:22:00 PM
@#$%&!!! - My first response to these comments by the UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs was colorful, but unprintable. Jan Egeland said the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds for those affected by the earthquakes and tsunamis in Asia and suggested our tax rates were too low for us to be truly generous. Egeland's comments on how much the United States has given are bad enough, but his clumsy and ill-informed foray into our domestic tax policy shows an incredible level of arrogance. Maybe he doesn't realize it, but humanitarian funds given to the United Nations have a way of disappearing into the pockets of its own employees.
The United Nations is in the midst of a scandal involving the son of the secretary general and many others who stole money from poor people in Iraq to line their own pockets. Maybe Kofi should encourage his son Kojo to donate some of his blood money to help those in Asia. I wonder how much of the $15 to $25 million the United States has pledged to aid tsunami victims will end up in the bank accounts of UN officials? What's their cut?
If the United States really wants to help the people of Asia while ticking off the United Nations, it should give those relief funds to organizations like World Vision, Compassion, Samaritan's Purse, the Red Cross and other nonprofits with proven records of success in handling disaster relief. Egeland's comments display not only arrogance, but an ignorance of American compassion. We don't need to be compelled to give by the government. In the wake of this disaster, millions of Americans will donate what they can to humanitarian organzations to help those affected by the tsunamis.
My wife and I will be writing a personal check to help. Will Kofi Annan and Jan Egeland do the same? Or does their compassion end where their bank accounts begin?
UPDATE: Ace has a great post on this subject, using all the words I wanted to use. Strong language, but no one does a primal scream of rage quite as well.
UPDATE II: Egeland has backed off his earlier comments, saying the response of the United States was quick and generous. Someone at the United Nations obviously had a talk with Egeland, probably informing him that US opinion of the UN was pretty low already and his comments would not help that relationship much. To Egeland's discredit, though, he didn't apologize. Instead, he suggested that his comments were "misinterpreted." Nice beginning, but many of us still want all of you to just go away. Wouldn't you be happier in Belgium?