Burma: We’d rather let people die than allow the US Navy to help

posted at 9:45 am on May 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

And the military junta in Myanmar will surely get that wish. With the death toll predicted to reach well into six figures, the US had dispatched the Navy to deliver badly-needed relief supplies to the cyclone-stricken country. However, despite allowing American C-130s to deliver cargo elsewhere, the junta refuses to permit the US Navy to help save lives:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Burma to focus on saving lives, not on politics, after the military government on Wednesday shunned a U.S. proposal for naval ships to deliver aid to cyclone survivors.

The U.N. says up to 2.5 million survivors of Cyclone Nargis face hunger, homelessness and potential outbreaks of deadly diseases. ….

Burma’s state-controlled media said that U.S. helicopters or naval ships were not welcome to join the relief effort.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said accepting military assistance “comes with strings attached” that are “not acceptable to the people of Burma.”

The report cited fears of an American invasion aimed at grabbing the country’s oil reserves.

The junta fears a collapse of its credibility more than anything else. If they are seen as so weak that the US has to step in and rescue the Burmese from the incompetence of the military dictatorship, then they risk a popular uprising when the country recovers. The junta already put down one round of demonstrations in the streets a few months ago, and now the people of Burma have even more motivation to put the dictators up against the wall.

According to USA Today, though, the fear of American invasion isn’t just an excuse. The country moved its capital in 2005 from Rangoon to Naypyitaw to keep the government from being easily captured by the Americans. For those of us here in the US, this sounds absolutely ridiculous. Other than a desire to see Aung Sang Suu Kyi freed and democracy return to the country, Americans don’t have Burma on the political map. We haven’t any ambition to launch ourselves into another southeast Asian military enterprise for any reason, let alone the Burmese.

The junta may do to themselves what they fear we will do to them. Once the people understand that we have food and medicine off shore but cannot deliver it because of the idiotic paranoia of dictators in Naypyitaw, starving and dying people will descend on the junta and rip it to pieces.

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They say we want to steal their oil. Burma has oil? Anyway, those are some miserable looking children who on top of it are probably orphans, too. All I can say is that we should keep trying to get aid to them.

Blake on May 21, 2008 at 9:51 AM

starving and dying people will descend on the junta and rip it to pieces.

One would hope that this would happen, that would be justice. I’m not holding my breath though.

4shoes on May 21, 2008 at 9:54 AM

starving and dying people will descend on the junta and rip it to pieces.

When citizens can’t look to their own “leaders” for help after a tragedy of these proportions, one can only hope that they have the strength and will to do just that.

scalleywag on May 21, 2008 at 9:58 AM

The junta may do to themselves what they fear we will do to them. Once the people understand that we have food and medicine off shore but cannot deliver it because of the idiotic paranoia of dictators in Naypyitaw, starving and dying people will descend on the junta and rip it to pieces.

Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. If a dictator can keep the citizenry right on the edge of starvation, survival is all they think about. Look at Zimbabwe. Other than a little bad PR, this gives the junta even more power.

a capella on May 21, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Sad, sad. Our guys did wonderful work bringing aid to the tsunami victims.

There is a very real risk to governments in letting the UN come in. I know the discussion is about the US aid, but they may fear similar results. Once the UN is allowed in, they don’t leave until they decide that it’s time. Sort of like handing your kids over to CPS. It’s abhorrent to us to allow anyone to die over paranoid fears of hostile US takeover, but we ought to be aware that the UN takes advantage of these situations to get its tentacles into more and more places. The Myanmar junta is clearly sophomoric in their grasp of worldwide politics, but their fears of the US may be generated by real-life experience with the UN.

TexasDan on May 21, 2008 at 9:59 AM

The junta may do to themselves what they fear we will do to them.

It’s called “projection”.

el hombre on May 21, 2008 at 9:59 AM

I imagine the government thinks a million fewer people are just a million fewer problems for them in the long run.

RBMN on May 21, 2008 at 9:59 AM

We should just start air dropping the aid where its needed without their permission. What could the Junta do about it?

Lunkinator on May 21, 2008 at 10:00 AM

I say “allrighty then.” The US has enough other concerns in the world than to force unwanted humanitarian relief on a nation most Americans couldn’t even find on a map.

Let Burma’s government collapse under its own inablity to provide relief if, even now, they are more concerned about the politics than the suffering.

highhopes on May 21, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Oh no, they’re uncovered our top secret plans for the epic conquest of….Burma.

I’m also confused at your assertion that “starving and dying people” will somehow overthrow a military force that is presumably armed. Please elaborate.

World B. Free on May 21, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Hint to the Naypyitaw dictatorship: build nuclear weapons and President Obama will come visit and restore your regime’s creditability.

thuja on May 21, 2008 at 10:07 AM

We should just start air dropping the aid where its needed without their permission. What could the Junta do about it?

Lunkinator on May 21, 2008 at 10:00 AM

That sounds great until some malcontent starts complaining that we are dropping pork products in Muslim communities or the color of the food packets is offensive to Thervada Buddhists, or some other “crime against humanity” that always rears its ugly head in these situations.

highhopes on May 21, 2008 at 10:09 AM

We should just start air dropping the aid where its needed without their permission. What could the Junta do about it?

Lunkinator on May 21, 2008 at 10:00 AM

For one it would be considered contraband and anyone caught would be killed along with their families.

Wade on May 21, 2008 at 10:09 AM

We should just start air dropping the aid where its needed without their permission. – Lunk

It worked in Berlin.

I blame this whole mess on Rambo!

Tony737 on May 21, 2008 at 10:10 AM

When innocent survivors are forced to die horrible deaths needlessly because of an evil few, then the righteous majority ceases to be a reality. The United Nations are eunuchs when it comes to being relevant.

volsense on May 21, 2008 at 10:10 AM

It worked in Berlin.

Because we were dropping into friendly territory, much different from this situation.

Wade on May 21, 2008 at 10:12 AM

That sounds great until some malcontent starts complaining that we are dropping pork products in Muslim communities
highhopes on May 21, 2008 at 10:09 AM

The only good thing about the Burmese government is its treatment of the Muslim community.

thuja on May 21, 2008 at 10:12 AM

We’d rather let people die than allow the US Navy to help

Take a good look at this Democrats ! This is the kind of government you are leading America toward, a heartless soulless communist government where the people’s only purpose is to sacrifice in order to maintain the comfort and power of those at the top.

Maxx on May 21, 2008 at 10:12 AM

starving and dying people will descend on the junta and rip it to pieces.

Hasn’t happened in North Korea and Lil Kim doesn’t even have a cyclone as an excuse. We need to drop leaflets explaining that we have shiploads of food and medicine offshore, but the Burmese government won’t let us bring it in.

Kafir on May 21, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Will the common soldier follow orders from such a callous regime? Sadly, I think the answer is yes, but the best hope for Burma is for the infantryman to rise up against the brutal dictatorship.

And I’ve read essays from liberals who want us to invade Burma due to the humanitarian crisis. So why Burma and not Iraq?

rbj on May 21, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Our guys did wonderful work bringing aid to the tsunami victims.

Yeah they sure did, go Squiddies! I wonder if Mrs. Obama was proud of her country then?

Tony737 on May 21, 2008 at 10:15 AM

I think that is just great!

It’s good to finally see someone pull themselves up by the boot thong straps.

At the end of the day, there is nothing that cures starvation and disease like mass deaths.

/s

TheSitRep on May 21, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Voice of America/Radio Free Asia should be broadcasting over and over telling the Burmese exactly what their government is doing here. Hopefully, some of them will hear it. What a terrible situation for the people of that country.

“…let it be our prayer that the effects of the Revolution may never cease to operate, until they have unshackled all the nations that have firmness enough to resist the fetters of despotism…” — Charles Pinckney, 1788

CP on May 21, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Because we were dropping into friendly territory

By dropping I should have been more exact, we were airlifting and landing in friendly territory.

Wade on May 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM

My son, Matt the Marine, was on board the USS Keasrsarge when a cyclone hit Bangladesh late last year. They were on site within a few days, flying medical help, medicine and clean drinking water around the country.

Anyone hear about that?

N. O'Brain on May 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Cosponsoring bill to reward illegal aliens with in-state tuition and amnesty in 2005-2006
Sen. Obama is a cosponsor of S. 2075, the DREAM Act of 2005. S. 2075 would grant in-state tuition and amnesty to illegal aliens under the age of 21 who had been physically present in the country for five years and are in 7th grade or above. Such a reward for illegal immigration serves as an incentive for more illegal immigration.

DfDeportation on May 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM

And that relates to the tragedy in Burma how, Df?

Salamantis on May 21, 2008 at 10:19 AM

If Barack Obama would just go TALK TO THEM– couldn’t he solve this???

Ex-tex on May 21, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Re: Berlin

Because we were dropping into friendly territory

True, but we flew OVER hostile territory, dropping food to those we just recently conquered. I think it could be done again, unless govt troops are everywhere, then they’ll probably shoot anybody touching the food.

Tony737 on May 21, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Anyone hear about that?

I think I remember minor coverage of that.

Tony737 on May 21, 2008 at 10:26 AM

The people in Burma will not overthrow the army. They don’t have any guns. There is a lesson in that statement.

fleiter on May 21, 2008 at 10:28 AM

If Barack Obama would just go TALK TO THEM- couldn’t he solve this???

Ex-tex on May 21, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Yeh, Obama can show them how to eat their own words …. something he’s mastered.

Not very filling, but you walk away feeling all warm and cuddly.

fogw on May 21, 2008 at 10:28 AM

highhopes on May 21, 2008 at 10:04 A

While hundreds of thousands die, ya think we might be a little better than that?

Squid Shark on May 21, 2008 at 10:29 AM

DfDeportation on May 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Off topic, go start your own blog

Squid Shark on May 21, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Anyone hear about that?

N. O’Brain on May 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Nope, sorry to say, but not surprised I did not hear about it.

4shoes on May 21, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Yeah they sure did, go Squiddies! I wonder if Mrs. Obama was proud of her country then?

Squids are the shiz.

Squid Shark on May 21, 2008 at 10:31 AM

fleiter on May 21, 2008 at 10:28 AM

There certainly is.

wytammic on May 21, 2008 at 10:36 AM

What the Burmese gov’t is doing is unconscionable.

I suspect that high on their motive list is not wanting to “aid and abet” the US in anything that might improve our image abroad.

flipflop on May 21, 2008 at 10:41 AM

If Barack Obama would just go TALK TO THEM- couldn’t he solve this???

Ex-tex on May 21, 2008 at 10:20 AM

AHAHA, priceless.

scalleywag on May 21, 2008 at 10:44 AM

Tony737,
The Berlin airlift flights were flown through the designated corridor for air traffic; I think it is a mischaracterization to call it “hostile,” there were no attempts by the Soviets to shut down that corridor.

exhelodrvr on May 21, 2008 at 10:50 AM

There are tons of tragedies in the world everyday. Why does the media push some and not others? If Americans want to donate through charities fine, but tax dollars should not be going to this. There are plenty of Americans that are having trouble making ends meet, give them their money back and let them choose how to spend it instead of doling it out around the world.

LevStrauss on May 21, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Someone should ask U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon what the condoms are for.

chriscoolc on May 21, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Time to let a Marine Battalion or two stretch their legs

EricPWJohnson on May 21, 2008 at 11:34 AM

Oh no, they’re uncovered our top secret plans for the epic conquest of….Burma.

I’m also confused at your assertion that “starving and dying people” will somehow overthrow a military force that is presumably armed. Please elaborate.

World B. Free on May 21, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Try imagining young soldiers or local security confronted by unarmed starving people. I don’t know how they could pull the trigger especially when they themselves know their leadership is wrong.

shick on May 21, 2008 at 11:34 AM

We could fly in and land a batallion of Marines and appropriate air support to take over the nearest large airportand start relief efforts. Or begin food airdrops to the starving people… along with weapon shipments.

michaelo on May 21, 2008 at 11:34 AM

Behold the consequences of the “War for Oil” rhetoric.

baldilocks on May 21, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Amazing, and not the least bit surprising. The leftists need to stop living down to our expectations…

Jaibones on May 21, 2008 at 11:42 AM

True, but we flew OVER hostile territory, dropping food to those we just recently conquered. I think it could be done again, unless govt troops are everywhere, then they’ll probably shoot anybody touching the food.

Tony737 on May 21, 2008 at 10:21 AM

I think it cold be done. I seem to remember reading that their weather radar was insufficient to warn them of the incoming cyclone. One wonders what their AAA is like. They probably have the latest stuff but, as is so under all dictatorships, don’t properly maintain it and/or can’t get any spare parts. We could probably be in and out before they can get a bead on us. Just sayin’.

The Berlin airlift flights were flown through the designated corridor for air traffic; I think it is a mischaracterization to call it “hostile,” there were no attempts by the Soviets to shut down that corridor.

exhelodrvr on May 21, 2008 at 10:50 AM

The territory was indeed enemy territory. Whether attempts happened are irrelevant. The Soviets simply declined to start another war so soon after WWII.

baldilocks on May 21, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Re: Berlin

Because we were dropping into friendly territory

True, but we flew OVER hostile territory, dropping food to those we just recently conquered. I think it could be done again, unless govt troops are everywhere, then they’ll probably shoot anybody touching the food.

Our treaty allowed air corridors (essentially highways in the sky) that we used in the Berlin Airlift. Had the Russians blocked those (by violating airspace or shooting down allied air transports) it would have been an act of war.

Amendment X on May 21, 2008 at 11:58 AM

The politicians in Burma almost make Democrats look good. There’s got to be something they’re hiding there that they don’t want us to see.

The U.N. has the power to deploy troops. Those weasels won’t do it. We need to stay out of it until the U.N. gets involved.

orlandocajun on May 21, 2008 at 11:59 AM

To the Burmese people: Use a rock to get a knife. Use a knife to get a gun. Use a gun to get more guns. It’s all about will.

Wyatt Wingfoot on May 21, 2008 at 12:01 PM

The report cited fears of an American invasion aimed at grabbing the country’s oil reserves.

For those of us here in the US, this sounds absolutely ridiculous.

Ridiculous to some of us, sure, but not all. Here are the tragic results of the Left’s long and loud accusations of US imperialism, “no war for oil,” and all the rest of it.

America’s lying Marxists have helped convince Burma’s murderous Marxists that the real enemy is the US. And now, the innocent people of Burma are paying the ultimate price for it.

Gilda on May 21, 2008 at 12:12 PM

And I’ve read essays from liberals who want us to invade Burma due to the humanitarian crisis. So why Burma and not Iraq?

rbj on May 21, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Excellent point, yet the question is where did the Burma Junta get the idea that America is a nation bent on invading countries for their oil, expanding its empire, is “evil” and cannot be trusted?

I’m certain the constant leftard meme of “no war for oil” or “America is empire building” (or whatever the moonbat meme of the day is) has helped foment this belief among some nations that America is “evil” and goes to prove words have consequences. With that said is it any surprise that the Burma Junta is not allowing the US to unload its Navy vessels to provide aid to their people because of paranoia of the evil West having other motives like stealing their oil, etc!

Don’t get me wrong, dictatorships like the Burma Junta are paranoid on their own (as most dictatorships are) but when you look at this situation in this perspective it is not out of the realm of possibility that the constant America hating meme from the left has sowed the seed of distrust among many foreign nations to the point that when a catastrophe occurs they have become so paranoid they refuse our assistance, I personally don’t think that logic is beyond the realm of possibility.

Again words have consequences and IMHO the leftard moonbat constant “America is Evil” meme has helped foment a general distrust of America throughout the world which makes the above comment from rbj ironic in that the left thinks the US should intervene yet their constant America bashing has made the providing of critical humanitarian aid very difficult and the result is further suffering and death.

In other words “the leftard moonbats lied and people died!”

Liberty or Death on May 21, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Once the people understand that we have food and medicine off shore but cannot deliver it because of the idiotic paranoia of dictators in Naypyitaw, starving and dying people will descend on the junta and rip it to pieces.

We should air drop millions of flyers to the Burmese people informing them of same…

Meanwhile, the fabulously rich oil nations of the world sit back and watch as people starve to death, their people oblivious to it due to media censorship. I recently read a summing up of relief efforts during the tsunami. It was shameful.

Babs on May 21, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Any tinpot dictatorship(or dictator) worth its salt has to claim to be afraid of a US invasion. See: Chavez, Hugo. That seems to legitimize them in their own minds.

Lunkinator on May 21, 2008 at 1:01 PM

The left’s canards about American Imperialism and invading for oil, creating AIDS to wipe out Aficans, etc. can be traced back to the USSR’s agiprop campaigns of the 1960’s-1980’s. The soviets knew that planting those seeds of distrust around the world would grow and flower for generations.

They were spectacularly successful in getting the college crowds here and in Europe to take their messages and repeat them ad naseum. We are seeing the results of their efforts – the failed communist regime reaching out from the grave with a vengence.

in_awe on May 21, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Adviser: The people have no rice.
Junta: Let them eat oil.

jgapinoy on May 21, 2008 at 1:10 PM

I didn’t know they had oil.

oldleprechaun on May 21, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Maybe the junta knows what a few good men are capable of.

aceinstall on May 21, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Maybe we *will* go in and take their oil… after disease has ravaged the land and there aren’t any people left, including the junta, because they wouldn’t take our assistance. At that point, there’d be nobody around to care.

I remember hearing an interview on the radio, NPR no less, talking about one of this junta’s former Cambodian neighbors, Pol Pot. This was several years ago, when that scumbag was dying. Remember, this is NPR, National Public Radio. The person interviewed said, to start, “I think we can all agree that Pol Pot is going to Hell. Even those who don’t like or agree with the concept of Hell make an exception for him.” The interviewer agreed.

Anyway, not to wish hard times on anyone, but I’d like to think that Pol Pot is preparing to give a WARM welcome to his neighbors. Maybe the plague that surely has to be starting among the suffering people has started, or maybe it’s about to start. When it ravages the helpless and all we are allowed to do is watch, here’s hoping that the junta isn’t immune.

flutejpl on May 21, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Keeping the myth of the evil United states alive is more important than saving real lives. It makes sense, in a predictably twisted and jealous sort of way.

Christine on May 21, 2008 at 1:51 PM

The report cited fears of an American invasion aimed at grabbing the country’s oil reserves.

If we really wanted to invade you, we wouldn’t have to wait for a disaster.

amerpundit on May 21, 2008 at 2:01 PM

Wow, someone has turned down our foreign aid offer? If only the remaining countries in the world could follow, we might wipe out our national deficit.

It’s their loss.

RMCS_USN on May 21, 2008 at 2:13 PM

This is going on in Burma, all the while, the U.N. is investigating the USA for racism??

http://www.snappedshot.com/archives/2108-UN-To-Investigate-Racism-In-The-US.html

I guess it’s safe to say who the U.N. is cheering for this November.

Conservative_SAHM on May 21, 2008 at 2:59 PM

i wonder what the US government would have said to China, or Russia if they offered to ship in supplies after Kitrina? I would be surprised if the answer would be any different from Burma’s. If/when the people request our help then maybe we can do something but as I see it the gove doesn’t want it, the people are not asking for it. So why would we butt into a problem that isn’t any of our business serves none of our national interests, and would change the world’s opioion of us from compassioniate people wanting to help, to cowboys interfereing. No we should stay out to sea until the help is requested in a loud and clear message either from the gov or from the people.

unseen on May 21, 2008 at 4:25 PM

Take a good look at this Democrats ! This is the kind of government you are leading America toward, a heartless soulless communist government where the people’s only purpose is to sacrifice in order to maintain the comfort and power of those at the top.

Maxx on May 21, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Why would anyone on the left think this sort of government is a bad thing? They’ve been tirelessly working toward it with all their energy for decades. They never see this sort of outcome as the end result, even though it inevitably is. They always see a shining future. When that shining future fails to materialize, it will be someone elses fault. They will be the betrayed. They will prepare to start all over to do the exact same thing. It is the very definition of insanity.

trigon on May 21, 2008 at 6:04 PM

i wonder what the US government would have said to China, or Russia if they offered to ship in supplies after Kitrina? I would be surprised if the answer would be any different from Burma’s. If/when the people request our help then maybe we can do something but as I see it the gove doesn’t want it, the people are not asking for it. So why would we butt into a problem that isn’t any of our business serves none of our national interests, and would change the world’s opioion of us from compassioniate people wanting to help, to cowboys interfereing. No we should stay out to sea until the help is requested in a loud and clear message either from the gov or from the people.

unseen on May 21, 2008 at 4:25 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_response_to_Hurricane_Katrina

Russia
Was one of the first countries to offer assistance. Up to four jets were placed on standby at the airport Ramenskoe near Moscow as early as August 30, including heavy Ilyushin Il-76-TDs with special evacuation equipment, medical equipment, a water-cleansing system, a rescue helicopter BK-117 and two special cars; and a passenger IL-62, which brought 10 coordinators and 50 rescuers, as well as 6 tons of drinking water. On September 6, the Bush administration gave its approval.

China never offered any aid.

The people of Burma are not asking because there are NO lines of communication to do so. I saw, recently, that some media units have been in Burma, secretly, and they’ve been talking to the people of Burma who are begging for help. They take whatever aid the reporters are able to give at the time, which is usually a few packs of rice. We help because it’s the RIGHT thing to do. These people are being blocked out by their govt and really have no means to get word out. It’s been weeks now and there are still bodies lining the river banks and streets. It is a terrible situation for the people of Burma.

Conservative_SAHM on May 21, 2008 at 6:05 PM

The report cited fears of an American invasion aimed at grabbing the country’s oil reserves.

So this is why Ron Paul voted against the resolution.

Excuse me. Dr. Paul.

OneGyT on May 21, 2008 at 7:06 PM

God rest the poor dear souls of those who die in the name of the archaic barbarity of Islam… but if that’s what they want, fine, send the Navy to China to help them then.

SilverStar830 on May 21, 2008 at 7:19 PM

No we should stay out to sea until the help is requested in a loud and clear message either from the gov or from the people.

unseen on May 21, 2008 at 4:25 PM

That’s ignorant. Do you really think those people are choosing to die slowly with no food or clean water amongst rotting corpses and sewage? Watching their children die from disease? We as Americans help because we want to help, because we can help and we don’t care who they are or what religion they are or what natural resources they have. We are a bunch of wealthy people who are in a position to help and don’t like to stand by and watch others suffer.

4shoes on May 21, 2008 at 10:09 PM

i live in neighboring thailand and have been a burma-watcher for quite a while.

as i have said before, this is a completely paranoid totalitarian government bent exclusively on its own survival and its complete grip on power. i think that americans may have a hard time comprehending just how evil this regime is and what it is capable of.

they care nothing at all for the people and to expect any humanitarian impulse from them at all is folly. after all, they have been waging an aggressive campaign of extermination and forced relocation of the karen and other minorities in the provinces for decades.

it’s no coincidence that george orwell got a lot of inspiration for 1984 and other works while in burma (NOT myanmar).

if the people try to rise up we will witness another vicious crackdown. i guarantee you that it will not be pretty.

don’t pray for an uprising. it will be another bloodbath.

pray for international pressure that will reduce the eventual total number lives and livelihoods destroyed by the cyclone and this evil regime’s self-serving response to it.

homesickamerican on May 21, 2008 at 11:25 PM