Jun 4, 2008

A Change of Heart

After 15 attempts to secure permission to deliver humanitarian supplies to victims of Cyclone Nagris, the U.S. has finally given up and ordered the USS Essex and its accompanying vessels to leave Myanmar's coastal waters. Short of violating the territory of a sovereign nation, there is little the U.S. can do absent what they refer to as "a change of heart" on the part of the military junta that runs the country.

That, of course, isn't going to happen, since you actually have to have a heart to change it, and the rulers of Myanmar quite clearly don't.

It's a little bit sad that, because Myanmar isn't technically in the Axis of Evil that we're probably just going to forget about it. I mean, they don't have any oil, so I suppose it may not be worth the bother.

True, they have been suffering under an oppressive military dictatorship since seventeen years before Saddam Hussein seized power in Iraq, but who can even find Burma/Myanmar on a map? Probably not an American kid, what with budget cuts to education and all -- gotta fund that Iraq war, right?

What motivation could we possibly have for making a fuss over Myanmar, other than those poor people we just can't give aid to?

Myanmar is currently building a nuclear power plant with Russia's help.

I'm sure that's entirely for the benefit of the people that the government cares so much about.

Myanmar has had several Saddam-style "99% turnout" sham elections since the 1962 military coup that ended democratic rule.

Sham elections are better than no elections at all, right?

Myanmar is rife with child labor, forced labor, human trafficking, and has effectively institutionalized sex slaves for the military.

Yeah ... okay, that's pretty evil.

It's probably too late now, but maybe the Bush Administration should have considered "Operation Drop Food on Burma" to show that we don't really care whether the evil motherfuckers in charge of the place want to let us help or not. At least we could have brought it up for a vote at the UN.

As it is, what little aid actually got to victims of the cyclone (estimates are that about 1 in 10 victims received some kind of aid) was actually repackaged by the government so it would look like it came from them.

Nice. I'm sure that change of heart is right around the corner.

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