More than 50 countries offer aid to the US
On Wednesday, I posted a message discussing international aid and the implications in, ahem, certain circles (you know which ones) that we shouldn’t fault other countries for not offering assistance to us, considering how we ‘bad mouthed’ them in the run up to (and after) the war in Iraq. Well, it looks like many many countries are on board in the international aid effort to give the US some disaster relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which as we all know has devastated the Gulf Coast.
The offers blur political lines. Cuba and Venezuela, for instance, have offered to help despite differences with Washington. Oil giant Saudi Arabia and tiny countries like Dominica are among the nations making pledges.
Australia announced a donation of $8 million to the American Red Cross. "The United States is so often at the forefront of international aid efforts to help less fortunate nations," Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.
"So it is only fitting that Australia should contribute to the daunting task of helping the thousands of American citizens whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by this unprecedented disaster," Downer said.
France, "determined to show its solidarity with the United States," offered a range of aircraft and two ships, with helicopters and planes capable of airlifting tons of supplies, a disaster unit with 20 soldiers, a civil defense detachment of 35 people and an airborne emergency unit, the French Embassy said.
Japan said it would contribute $200,000 to the American Red Cross for its relief operations. Upon request, Japan is prepared to provide up to $300,000 worth of tents, blankets, power generators, portable water tanks and other equipment, the Japanese Embassy said.
The countries include:
Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Honduras, Germany, Venezuela, Jamaica, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Hungary, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, China, South Korea, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Guatemala, Paraguay, Belgium, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Italy, Guyana, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Lithuania, Spain, Dominica, Norway, Cuba, Bahamas, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Iceland, India, Jordan, Luxembourg, the Philippines, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.
(Hat tip: Little Green Footballs)
I’m impressed. And thankful. For a number of reasons. The main one being of course that the Gulf Coast is going to need all the help it can get, and not just from our own government, but through the kind generosity of other nations as well. The rebuilding effort is obviously going to take years (although some have questioned whether or not the city of New Orleans should even be rebuilt). I’ve no doubt that our gov’t will decline some of the aid (after assessing what they need and don’t need) but declined or not, the offers are sincerely appreciated and mean a great deal with respect to healing rifts. The second reason I’m thankful is becuase it shows that despite the differences we’ve had with other countries in the past, the leaders of those countries (and the people who live there) have put those grudges aside and have asked "how can we help?" They didn’t say, "Well, you said this about my country. You moved forward on this plan without our input. So forget it!" They did what decent people do in times of national tragedies. Oh and one more thing: they haven’t blamed Bush for this disaster en masse, either (well, some of the op/ed writers overseas have, but that’s not terribly surprising).
Some of the Democrats in this country – who are having a field day blaming Bush (and some even refusing to contribute to the relief efforts because La. and Miss. are considered red states! – Matt linked up earlier to a Patrick Ruffini post that detailed some of this absurdity) for what happened in New Orleans in ways that can only be described as despicable – could take a lesson from the international community when it comes to putting their grudges to the side for five minutes.
And before anyone gets outraged, no, I’m not saying Democrats aren’t helping in the relief effort. I know they are, in terms offering money, housing, food, clothing, etc .. just like so many others are of all political stripes. What doesn’t help, however, is blaming the President for the levees breaking. For global warming. Etc etc. The list goes on. It hasn’t even been a week yet and many on the left are using this tragedy to score political points. It goes way beyond the pale and borderlines on obscene.
As a side note, I remember during the presidential campaign season last year how Democrats like John Kerry denigrated the coalition of the willing in Iraq, calling it, "some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted" and not a "genuine coalition." Mr. Kerry seemed to have an issue with some of the smaller countries on the list, but insulted every single country (including our biggest ally Britain) with those less than tactful comments (and he had the nerve to accuse the President of lacking the appropriate diplomatic skills necessary to handle international relations? But I digress …)
Something tells me that Senator Kerry won’t be saying that now about the international relief effort coaltion, no matter how small some of the countries are who are offering that assistance.
To those of you out there in the international community taking part in the Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort, saying "thank you" doesn’t seem to be quite enough to show appreciation for how you’ve responded to the devastation brought to the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. But I’ll offer the thanks anyway I know the US and some of the countries we’ve had issues with in the past likely won’t ever be found sitting around the campfire singing Kumbaya (at least I hope not!) but you’ve shown once again that when the chips are down on the table, you can and will do the right thing. Sincerest thanks to you all.
(Cross-posted at BlogsForBush)
Related: Michelle Malkin blogs about the massive amounts of assistance the great state of Texas is offering to Hurricane Katrina victims. God Bless Texas!
UPDATE 10PM: Aid Offers Will Be Accepted From Countries
Linking up with OTB’s Traffic Jam
Don’t forget you can still contribute to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund or any one (or more!) of a number of other great organizations out there mobilizing to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. If you do contribute, please log it here at the TTLB contribution page as he is tracking the amount of money raised from each blog. Logging it is totally anonymous – in other words, you don’t have to give a name. Just an amount, the charity you donated to, and the blog that encouraged you to do so.
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