Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Foot in Mouth

Jan Egeland, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, has made a warm meal of his own foot.
In a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York, Egeland called for a major international response -- and went so far as to call the U.S. government and others "stingy" on foreign aid in general.

"If, actually, the foreign assistance of many countries now is 0.1 or 0.2 percent of the gross national income, I think that is stingy, really," he said. "I don't think that is very generous."

...Egeland, at the U.N. news conference, said the cost of the devastation will "probably be many billions of dollars. However, we cannot fathom the cost of these poor societies and the nameless fishermen and fishing villages that have just been wiped out."

"The important thing is that we give and that we as citizens also demand that our countries give generously to those who have been so hard hit."

Egeland is already backpedaling from these comments, which have widely been denounced as in poor taste.

His yardstick is badly designed for measuring the aid contributions of the United States. In this country we limit the grip of the government over the national economy as much as possible. We're not likely to change it to suit the sampling methods of the UN.

Shame on Egeland for trying to use shame as a lever.

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