Once again, you hear people asking where our 'allies' are, and once again they are wrong.
In fact, twenty-one countries and two treaty organizations have offered humanitarian aid to the United States in response to Katrina.
The list includes Australia, Belgium, Canada, Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Britain, China, Jamaica, Honduras, Greece, Venezuela, the Organisation of American States, NATO, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, South Korea, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. [NOTE: Poland and Italy have since joined the list.]
What is tragic, is that President Bush has declined the aid (except for cash donations). He said,
"I'm not expecting much from foreign nations because we hadn't asked for it. I do expect a lot of sympathy and perhaps some will send cash dollars. But this country's going to rise up and take care of it."
WHOA! People are out there dying of thirst, starvation and disease. Not just in New Orleans but in outlying areas that we still didn't get into for several days (for example, here is a blog written by a person from St. Bernard parish (on the other side of New Orleans from the accessible side) where he has been describing what has been going on for the past few days. Despite the writer's obvious cyber-residency on the right side of the blogoshpere, it is still an interesting and informative read.
It would be fine to decline the aid if the situation was under control, and there was enough aid for the people who need it, but that just ISN'T THE CASE!! And considering how hard it has been to get anything to places on the far side of New Orleans, but how easy it might have been from the sea, Bush's arrogant denial of the aid, especially Chavez' which was made within hours after the storm hit, probably condemned many people to their death.
Considering that we have a President who has sometimes let emotion and 'payback' trump rational decision-making (I posted on this a few days ago, before the disaster) I have to wonder if it was just that he is 'too proud' to accept help from anyone else.
Meanwhile, this story is buried so the 'unilateralism crowd' will continue to bash the rest of the world for not sending help, blissfully unaware that it was offered and rudely slapped away.
UPDATE: Turns out that President Bush didn't just turn down humanitarian aid from foreign countries, he also turned down help from Chicago.