Bush Pledges Relief for South Asia: But Not Through the U.N.

I didn’t catch Bush’s remarks yesterday on relief efforts to aid victims of the horrific earthquakes and tsunamis in South Asia. But Papa Bear drew my attention to a phrase that was conspicuously absent from Bush’s speech: “United Nations”.
Bush spoke of “building an international coalition”, and having “established a regional core group with India, Japan and Australia to help coordinate relief efforts.”
No mention of working through — or with — the U.N. at all. Not even a little bit.
The President of the United States doesn’t make such an omission by accident, especially in a prepared speech like this one. And while we’ve certainly seen some obvious disdain for the U.N. from Bush and his administration before, this is about as blatant a snub as I can think of short of actually telling Mr. Annan to pound sand.
Good. I’ve expressed my problems with the U.N. before, and since then, the Oil-for-Food scandal has been exposed to such a ghastly degree that it should make any thinking person pause before deciding that the U.N. is an effective or honest organization through which humanitarian aid should flow.
The United States is generous both as a government and as a people, and we will most certainly help where it is needed in South Asia. But there’s no reason why we have to provide false legitimacy to a failing, corrupt bureaucracy by allowing the U.N. to act as a intermediary between American generosity and those in need — particularly given that the U.N. has proven time and again that doing so would endanger, rather than improve, the chances that aid would truly reach and help those who need it most.
Update: Captain Ed points out that British minister Clare Short noticed the omission as well, and isn’t happy about it. Damned shame about that…

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