There has been a rash of comments on posts covering the tsunami relief either bashing the US for not doing more or (when its pointed out that the US is actually doing something) that it doesn’t matter how much the US does, it should be doing more. The US government should have given more, unless it’s given more, in which case it should be giving more. US citizens are stingy and should donate more, unless they’ve donated millions of dollars already, in which case they should be donating more.
First of all, when it comes to opinions from our friends overseas, I don’t really care. (Yes, yes. I realize that my position probably just means that we should be giving more.)
A commenter on my own site kindly forwarded a list that “proved” the US wasn’t doing much on a per capita basis. These lists are all the rage these days. For those that really care, anyway. The commenter (refreshingly not anonymous this time) noted that the US was only contributing only 2.3 Danish kroners per citizen compared to 76 kroners per Norwegian. He finished
Come on USA – you can do much much better than that!!!!!
And I responded
How many aircraft carriers has Norway contributed? How many helicopters? How much airlift? How many personnel?
Come on Norway and Denmark — You can do much better than that!!!!! Just send one measly little aircraft carrier and then we’ll talk Kroners.
Besides, the numbers in the article you mention are badly out of date. Private citizens and corporations of America haven’t contributed 677 million kroners, they’ve contributed 2509 million kroners at the current exchange rate. (Other nations, too, have increased their totals, I’m sure).
USS Lincoln: Paid for at a cost of around 22,800,000,000 Kroners of US taxpayer money and kept manned and at sea with additional billions Kroners of US taxpayer money.
Its funny that no one really wants the US to keep out of international politics. They just want us to keep out of international politics that don’t benefit them.
So this morning Chuck Simmins (whose Stingy List now shows that private US citizens and corporations have donated about 2,859,153,224 kroners) points out a post on Varifrank that goes something like this:
Today, during an afternoon conference that wrapped up my project of the last 18 months, one of my Euro colleagues tossed this little turd out to no one in particular:
“See, this is why George Bush is so dumb, theres a disaster in the world and he sends an Aircraft Carrier…”
After which he and many of my Euro colleagues laughed out loud.
and then they looked at me. I wasn’t laughing, and neither was my Hindi friend sitting next to me, who has lost family in the disaster.
I’m afraid I was “unprofessional”, I let it loose –
“Hmmm, let’s see, what would be the ideal ship to send to a disaster, now what kind of ship would we want?
Something with its own inexhaustible power supply?
Something that can produce 900,000 gallons of fresh water a day from sea water?
Something with its own airfield? So that after producing the fresh water, it could help distribute it?
Something with 4 hospitals and lots of open space for emergency supplies?
Something with a global communications facility to make the coordination of disaster relief in the region easier?
Well “Franz”, us peasants in America call that kind of ship an “Aircraft Carrier”. We have 12 of them. How many do you have?
Some day, the “rest of the world” is going to look back and realize that it should have been a little nicer at times to ol’ Uncle Sam.