Inky reader W.W. e-mails to comment on our remarks about the U.N.’s belittling of the massive outpouring of U.S. public and private aid to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami (see Tsunami of Griping, Jan. 4). The idea behind the complaints: we ought to raise taxes and channel the money to U.N. aid-o-crats instead of directly to the victims of the Dec. 26 tidal waves. So W.W. writes:

“The United States does bear some responsibility for Third World problems: The stupid banning of DDT, a ban made against every scientific measure, has allowed millions to die of malaria every year. Our long-term aid to the tsunami’d should be the encouragement of the individual freedom and property rights that are the necessary precursors to any society climbing out of poverty.”

And speaking of the U.N., the wonderful blog Diplomad (run as an underground operation by the few Republicans in the U.S. Foreign Service) is tracking day by day the U.N.’s non-efforts to help out tsunami survivors in Aceh, the Indonesian province hit hardest by the rolling waters. The U.S. military, which is spearheading relief efforts along with Australia, has its headquarters in the town of Banda Aceh and is doing a terrific job–which the U.N.-o-crats resent mightily. Here are some posts from Diplomad:


“A colleague came back from a meeting held by the local UN representative yesterday and reported that the UN rep had said that while it was a good thing that the Australians and Americans were running the air ops into tsunami-wrecked Aceh, for cultural and political reasons, those Australians and Americans really ‘should go blue.’ In other words, they should switch into UN uniforms and give up their national ones.”

Jan. 3:

“In this part of the tsunami-wrecked Far Abroad, the UN is still nowhere to be seen where it counts, i.e., feeding and helping victims. The relief effort continues to be a US-Australia effort, with Singapore now in and coordinating closely with the US and Australia. Other countries are also signing up to be part of the US-Australia effort. Nobody wants to be ‘coordinated’ by the UN. The local UN reps are getting desperate. They’re calling for yet another meeting this afternoon; they’ve flown in more UN big shots to lecture us all on ‘coordination’ and the need to work together, i.e., let the UN take credit. With Kofi [Anan] about to arrive for a big conference, the UNocrats are scrambling to show something, anything as a UN accomplishment. Don’t be surprised if they claim that the USS Abraham Lincoln is under UN control and that President Lincoln was a strong supporter of the UN….

“More on ‘The UNcredibles’: WFP (World Food Program) has ‘arrived’ in the capital with an ‘assessment and coordination team.’ The following is no joke; no Diplomad attempt to be funny or clever: The team has spent the day and will likely spend a few more setting up their ‘coordination and opcenter’ at a local five-star hotel. And their number one concern, even before phones, fax and copy machines? Arranging for the hotel to provide 24hr catering service. USAID folks already are cracking jokes about ‘The UN Sheraton.’ Meanwhile, our military and civilians, working with the super Aussies, continue to keep the C-130 air bridge of supplies flowing and the choppers flying, and keep on saving lives — and without 24hr catering services from any five-star hotel . . . . The contrast grows more stark every minute.”

Jan. 4:

“The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats. Just today the city’s Embassies got a letter from the local UN representative requesting a meeting for ‘Ms. Margareeta Wahlstrom, United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance in Tsunami-afected countries.’ Wow! Put that on a business card! And she must be really, really special because she has the word ‘coordinator’ twice in her title!

“The letter, in typically modest UN style, goes on to explain that ‘Ms. Wahlstrom’s main task will be to provide leadership and support to the international relief effort. She will undertake high-level consultations with the concerned governments in order to facilitate the delivery of international assistance.’ Oh, and she’ll be visiting from January 4-5.”

Later on Jan. 4:

“She has spoken! At a large meeting this afternoon, she and the local UN rep, Mr. Bo ‘Please Wear Blue’ Asplund have announced the arrival of yet another ‘United Nations Joint Assessment Team.’ But this one is very, very ultra- special. According to the UNocrats, it’s not ‘just another assessment team.’ Oh, no, banish that thought! You see, ‘This assessment team will coordinate all the other assessment teams.’ In addition, the UN will set up a ‘Civil-Military Coordination Office to coordinate [that word! that word!] all military assistance because the military do not have experience in disaster relief (!)'”

No, this is not an Onion parody. (Thanks, Volokh Conspiracy, for the lead-in.)