Friday, May 09, 2008

This is what makes me proud of my country

Well, one of the things.
The governing military junta in Myanmar has agreed to allow a single U.S. cargo aircraft to bring in relief supplies for victims of a devastating cyclone, Bush administration officials said Friday.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the United States welcomed the go-ahead to land a U.S. militaryC-130 in the country on Monday. He said he hopes this is the beginning of continued aid flowing into the country from the United States and other nations and international relief agencies.

Earlier Friday, Ky Luu, director of the U.S. office of foreign disaster assistance, had said that skilled aid workers were being forced to sit on the sidelines as victims of last week's cyclone die. His comments reflect the mounting frustration among the United States and other countries as they wait for permission from the military-led government to begin trying to help.

Said Johndroe: "We will continue to work with the government of Burma to allow other assistance. We hope that this is the beginning of a long line of assistance from the United States to Burma."

"We are very concerned about the people of Burma," he added.

Johndroe also said that while the U.S. still has limited leeway to help, "One flight is much better than no flights.

This is a country whose government hates us, and what are we doing? We're jolly well begging them to let us come and save their lives. We've got nothing to gain from this. There's no profit potential, no political capital to be won. We're simply humbling ourselves and asking to be allowed to give away some of what God's blessed us with. Why?

Because we're Americans, and this is what Americans do. Remember that the next time some loud-mouthed pissant starts ranting about all the evil we unleash in the world, or shouts "God damn America" from a pulpit. When people are hungry, or homeless, or in danger, Americans are the first ones to step up to the plate. We are, by and large, some of the most generous people on the planet. Even to countries that treat us like dung. Notice that when the story first broke and President Bush called for sending aid, he didn't use the press conference to badmouth the Myanmar junta. (And if ever a government had some badmouthing coming, this is it.) Say what you will about his policies, the president understands what it is to be American. How many of his detractors would have left politics out of the equation?

I'll salute the flag and sing the national anthem. I'll cheer when soldiers go by on parade. I support our military endeavors, whether or not I think a particular operation is a good idea. But the time I'm proudest of my country is when we're handing out food and saving lives.

God bless America. And then may He help us bless the rest of the world.

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