Clare Short is a former UK official. She has made plain her belief that the United Nations should have been the sole decision-maker with regard to any action in Iraq. She has been strangely silent about the UN’s role in the “Oil-For-Food” scam that directed millions of relief dollars away from the people that needed the support and into the pockets of a murderous tyrant, his minions, the UN Secretary-General’s son, the UN official tasked with oversight of the program, and nations that would later seek to become obstacles to every attempt to apply the consequences of the UN resolutions they themselves had voted for. And to follow that performance up, she’s holding this crook-infested organization up as the planet’s most moral authority:
|::::::::||“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.
“Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme.
“It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.”
Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters.
She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with.
“I don’t know what that is about but it sounds very much, I am afraid, like the US trying to have a separate operation and not work with the rest of the world through the UN system,” she added.
(Emphasis mine.) To make a statement like that, you have got to be completely blind – willfully or due to delusion – to the actions and inactions this body has taken in the last 2 years. Hell, why not go back as far as Bosnia? Let’s just all recall the events of the so-called “UN Safe Zone” of Srebrenica. Briefly put, the UN guaranteed the safety of Bosnian muslims by creating an enclave in Srebrenica and declaring it a weapons-free zone. The Bosnians who entered surrendered their weapons to the UN forces – Dutch peacekeepers – who were providing security. Tens of thousands of Bosnians were there under the watchful eye of a force of 600 lightly armed Dutch. (Note: you read that right – the UN provided a whole 600 troops, lightly armed.) The enclave was laid to siege in May by Serbs who began shelling the place in early July. The Bosnian muslim fighters asked for their weapons back but the UN refused. The UN commander on site then requested close air support. Two days later, the UN commanding general, one General Janiver, finally agreed to the request after initially refusing. The planes were launched but told to abort the attack after the shelling stopped. The Serbs were supposed to vacate the area by 6:00 am the following morning or face air attack.
At 9:00 am the following morning, the colonel in command of the enclave was informed by the UN that his request for air support had been submitted on the wrong form. The wrong form. They required the request to be re-submitted – who the hell asks a battlefield commander to submit a written request for air support in the first place, let alone on a specific friggin’ form?!? – but the aircraft had to return to a base in Italy to refuel since they’d been airborne since 6:00 am.
Make a note of that: the aircraft were on station to provide air support at 6:00 am as originally planned but were required to stay in a holding pattern for 3 hours because the UN didn’t get the request on their precious specific form.
The planes returned at 2:30 pm – 8 and one-half hours later than planned – and dropped 2 bombs on Serb positions. Two. 8.5 hours, tens of thousands of civilians depending on them for their very lives against a foe that had already busted UN enclave borders, 600 of their own people being laid to siege and they authorize two…freakin’…bombs. Of course by that time several of those “peacekeepers” were now hostages and the Serbs holding them forced the UN to withdraw. The Serbs then came in, separated out all the men between 12 and 77 from the women and children – who were placed on buses and shipped out of the area – and then summarily executed those men and boys. 7,000 of them. The UN did nothing. US forces committed to the area began operations to counter the Serbs. Not being complete idiots, they agreed to leave certain specific areas and the area began to stabilize. I say began because we still have forces over there keeping the peace that the UN was wholy incapable of doing.
This is the outfit Ms. Short would have you believe is “the only body that has the moral authority” to handle the relief efforts. And I haven’t even touched on the UN’s “relief efforts” underway in Africa. Let the UN run the show in southeast Asia and you might just have Sumatran and Sri Lankan women forced to prostitute themselves for bread and water. Ms. Short’s assertions that the UN can not only be trusted to participate in this effort but should, by right, lead it is one of the most singly moronic statements I’ve heard all year. And in 2004, that’s saying something. Ms. Short should stick to complaining about topless models in British newspapers and leave the important issues of the day to professionals who can grasp reality.
I mentioned in my earlier post about the Vatican’s newspaper story regarding aid Israel was offering to Sri Lanka that I’d write again if anything new arose. It has. Catholic World News puts up a story correcting their earlier work saying that previous piece was based on a “crucial error in translation”.
|::::::::|| Vatican, Dec. 30 (CWNews.com) – The following is a corrected version of a story that appeared on CWNews.com earlier this week, in which a crucial error in translation caused a serious misinterpretation of the news. CWNews apologizes for the error.
Vatican, Dec. 28 (CWNews.com) – The Vatican newspaper has denounced a decision by Sri Lanka to reject emergency aid offered by the Israeli government. Sri Lanka declined the Israeli aid because it would have been furnished by a military team.
Calling for “a radical and dramatic change of perspective” among people “too often preoccupied with making war,” L’Osservatore Romano chastised the government of the stricken Asian nation for putting unnecessary restrictions on an Israeli offer to furnish medical help.
The Vatican paper observed that in what “should be a time for unconditional solidarity,” some world leaders seem incapable of escaping a “small-minded approach that restricts their horizons.” The suffering caused by the tsunami has created “a mass of deaths, across borders,” L’Osservatore observed. The fact that the devastation swept across different societies, cultures, and nations should help to reinforce the universal perspective, the paper suggested.
That’s some error. To convert (by mistake) a complaint about Israel declining to provide aid to Sri Lanka over into a scolding of Sri Lanka for declining the offer is a pretty large change in journalistic direction. Perhaps the Catholic World News needs to find someone that speaks better Italian. Of course I’d love to show you the original article, but CWN has pulled the article from public access. You try not to see that as a conspiracy, but….
I took note last night of the link at Amazon.com collecting donations for the Red Cross. When I read about it, the total figure collected was somewhere around $200,000. By the time I wrote about it in my earlier post, it was up over $500,000. I just checked again: $1,686,997.62. It says 30,790 of us have given. That averages out to $54.79 each. If you haven’t given – and if you can – please consider doing so.
Amid the news of the past few days, I almost missed this note. Jerry Orbach was likely best known as the actor playing Lenny Briscoe on NBC’s Law & Order. He died Tuesday night from prostate cancer. “Law & Order” is one of my favorite shows and Orbach’s character my hands-down favorite on the series. This wasn’t his only gig in show biz, however:
|::::::::||On Broadway, the Bronx-born Orbach starred in hit musicals including “Carnival,” “Promises, Promises” (for which he won a Tony Award), “Chicago” and “42nd Street.”
Among his film appearances were roles in “Dirty Dancing,” “Prince of the City” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
A true entertainer. So long, Jerry. We’ll miss you.
For the 2nd time in less than a month, the leadership of my Church has managed to piss me off. This time, they’ve shot their collective mouth off about disaster aid being sent into the area devestated by the tsunamis, in particular to Sri Lanka. The Vatican newspaper editorial accused Israel of declining the request for aid. The only problem is that Israel did no such thing. In point of fact, they had a cargo plane on the tarmac, loaded with 80 tons of supplies and had 120 emergency responders ready to lift off to Sri Lanka. When the Sri Lankan officials heard of this, they requested the Israelis stand down and abort the mission.
In the ensuing discussion that followed, it first appeared that Sri Lanka was refusing the aid entirely. Sri Lanka clarified that they would accept the supplies and also a smaller, 50-member medical team. Exactly why they didn’t want the original group of responders isn’t clear, but I suspect that some of those were security personnel and Sri Lanka didn’t want that kind of presence.
The point is all of this was known before the Vatican’s editorial was published. I’m hoping there’s some reasonable explanation for this but it seems, at best, to be sloppy researching. At worst, willful bias. I await further word from Rome.
The recount requested by Greens and Libertarians for the Ohio election results has confirmed that President Bush won the State of Ohio by over 118,000 votes. The State’s Electoral College votes have already been cast earlier this month with all 20 casting for Bush. With Ohio now confirmed, the election is over.
|::::::::||TOLEDO, Ohio – Election officials finished the presidential recount in Ohio on Tuesday, with the final tally shaving about 300 votes off President Bush (news – web sites)’s six-figure margin of victory in the state that gave him a second term.
The recount shows Bush winning Ohio by 118,457 votes over John Kerry (news – web sites), according to unofficial results provided to The Associated Press by the 88 counties. Lucas County, home to Toledo, was the last to finish counting.
Officals from the 2 parties who requested the recount and from the Kerry campaign all said they just wanted to make sure every valid vote was counted. Right. Interesting that they took no such interest in States where Kerry won by far shorter margins. While the situation is now a closed matter, there’s this little item to think about:
|::::::::|| The Green and Libertarian party presidential candidates asked for the recount and raised the $113,600 required under state law for the process.
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has estimated that the recount will end up costing taxpayers $1.5 million.
The fee for a recount is – get this – $10 per precinct to be counted. Ten bucks. You don’t even need the accountants to know that hauling in election boards to perform this task costs more than that, by a longshot. So now the taxpayers of Ohio, who are already not in the best shape financially, get to cover the $1.38 million in costs that the laughably low recount fee didn’t handle. Wonder how many teachers and firefighters that would’ve paid for?
Enough, already. It’s time to accept the results and get on with some important work. If election validity and making sure that “every valid vote cast is counted” is your particular passion, that’s great. Do something about it. Suggest real proposals to fix what ails the system and be prepared to work at it. And don’t just complain about it around the water cooler, write your reps and let them know you’ve got ideas. Maybe they don’t listen as well as they could, but if you never write them to let them know, whose fault is it that they don’t do what you want?
Like most of the people on the planet, I have watched in rather helpless sadness the reports of the tsnamis hitting the shores of 10 or so Southeast Asian countries. I have friends here with family in India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. My sympathies have gone to them all as they strive to find out what has happened to members of their families. So many others in the blogosphere have been providing better coverage of the news than I could hope to, so let me direct you there.
Powerline and The Belmont Club are providing several items on their pages. I’ll let you scroll down their sites to find them all rather than link to a specific story. There’s also several amateur videos beginning to come in. Jordan Golson has at least 3 of them and more will be coming in.
If anything specific comes up, I’ll provide update. Consider giving support, if you can, via the Red Cross or some other relief agency you prefer.
Most of the techie community is aware of and reads regularly the entries posted on Slashdot. Good stuff over there, specifically related to the technology front. They have a humongous readership and something interesting happens when someone gets a mention in one of their posts. It’s called The Slashdot Effect.
|::::::::||Slashdot consists of submitted articles and a self-moderated discussion on each story. In response to the stories, large masses of readers simultaneously rush to view referenced sites. The ensuing flood of page requests, known as a slashdotting, often exceeds the ability of the site to respond in a timely manner, rendering the site slashdotted and, for many visitors, unavailable for a time, occasionally exceeding the site’s bandwidth limitations or causing servers to slow down. “Slashdotted” is sometimes abbreviated as “/.ed.”||::::::::|
Just as the tech community is familiar with Slashdot, the blogosphere is quite familiar with Glenn Reynolds of the Instapundit blog. Getting a mention on his site results in what the blogosphere has dubbed an Instalanche.
|::::::::||Because of its popularity, an Instapundit link to another site can cause the traffic of that site to spike. Such an increase is often referred to as an “instalanche“, an Instapundit avalanche.||::::::::|
Picture for a moment, then, what happens when a story gets covered by both Slashdot and Instapundit. I give you the story of 2004 MN4, a chunk of rock almost a half-kilometer wide zipping along through space and which, for a brief period, concern existed that it might just whack into the Earth. (Newest figures show that’s not gonna happen this time.) I can only imagine the heat put off by the routers and web servers of the NASA site as the bone-jarring thunder of an Instalanche enhanced and surrounded by the seething electrical nimbus of the Slashdot Effect came crashing down on their circuits. Gads… Glad I’m not the administrator.
Ahhhhhhh, the relief. The laptop completes bootup and establishes the link to the household wireless, reporting a good link at 36 Mb. Interesting, but the real statistic is the speed report of the link that router is sitting on: 512K up/ 720K down. Blogs appear in their entirety within seconds of the request. The e-mail application reports all messages downloaded – even after being away from home for a week – in less than 7 seconds. Both the O/S, anti-virus, and the spyware killer software download updates simultaneously while I click from 1 web page to the other, not even noticing the drag on the bandwidth.
Broadband. Ain’t nuthin’ like it.
What? Beg Pardon? Who – me? Of course not. I can quit this high-speed linkup at any time. I’m in complete control. Honest. Really.
Doctor’s note: subject left eye twitch, reported in last update, increased 60% during this post. Continued observation recommended.
Today was my father’s birthday. He’d have been 70 today, quite the milestone. I called Mom today, as my siblings did, just to let her know I was thinking of her… and of him. It was a long drive back from the Ohio valley to northern Virginia and that kind of thing leaves you lots of time to think. And recall.
Happy birthday, Dad.