Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Politics of Death

Over at Eschaton Atrios has made some hay over the stingy amount of aid offered ($15m) for the recovery after the earthquake and tidal waves (Apparently we have added $20m more to that number) and is comparing that amount with the cost of the inaugural festivities. The gala, not including beefed up security, will cost $40m. That is a lot of party, people.

Well the latest number out of Asia is over 50,000 dead and I would venture a guess that we are still a long way off from the peak on the number of deaths directly related to the disaster.

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - Mourners in Sri Lanka used their bare hands to dig graves Tuesday while hungry islanders in Indonesia turned to looting in the aftermath of Asia's devastating tsunamis. Thousands more bodies were found in Indonesia, dramatically increasing the death toll across 11 nations to more than 52,000.

But the ministry said it had not yet counted deaths along the inundated and shattered towns of Sumatra's western coast, which soldiers and rescue workers were unable so far to reach — including the district of Meulaboh, where earlier the head of another agency estimated that 10,000 people were killed.

When those regions are included in the ministry count, the death toll could rise dramatically yet again

And we spend something like $5.8 billion per month in Iraq. Read it again, and compare. $15 million total for disaster aid and something on the order of $200 million per day in Iraq.

A smart politician would turn this to an advantage. Really, what the fuck is he doing have big inaugural galas with 140,000 soldiers' asses on the line in Iraq alone? The prospects for meaningful peace look less likely with every passing day. There are tens of thousands dead in Asia and countless more devastated by homelessness, disease, and without the barest essentials for living. And he wants to have a party.

Really it fits this guy's pattern. He has earned political capital and is going to spend some of it on a little shindig in HIS honor. Is it any wonder he is so loathed by so many?

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