Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oh Laura

From White House does the unthinkable; media look away by Deep Harm:

Those who depend on legacy news media for information are not likely to know that the White House yesterday risked derailing international efforts to provide help to the people of Myanmar. After a cyclone struck the southeast Asian nation on Saturday, tens of thousands are reported dead or missing, and many thousands more are without food, water, shelter and medical care.

One must look hard to find the full text of comments made at a White House news conference held yesterday by Mrs. Bush. But, do look.

In their entirety, the comments display a callousness toward Myanmar's situation, no little hypocrisy, and appear to deliberately antagonize the Myanmar government at a time when the UN and other international entities were conducting delicate negotiations to persuade reluctant Myanmar officials to let disaster relief teams into their country. Thus, the White House risked provoking Myanmar's junta into rejecting ALL external assistance offered by other countries and relief organizations.
The White House seemingly believes that one can convince people to accept help by first publicly humiliating them; is oblivious to the hypocrisy of criticizing another nation's response to a cyclone two years after its disastrous Katrina response; sees no moral barrier to treating people in peril as political pawns.

Culpability for Monday's press conference extends beyond the White House. As Congress waits for term limits to remove a clearly incompetent presidency, the death toll rises -- in Myanmar, in Iraq, and here at home, where the healthcare system is failing. For the millions affected by White House policies here and abroad, January 20, 2009, seems as remote as the rice paddies of Myanmar and the pre-Katrina streets of New Orleans. Sadly, many will not live to see that day.

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