In previous posts, I've written about "Dr." Hilmy Bakar Almascaty and his attempts to force foreign relief workers in Indonesia to obey the dictates of Islamic Sharia law.
Until now, I've thought that "Dr." Almascaty, however arrogant he might be, spoke only for fringe groups of radical Muslim extremists. Surely the Indonesian government must appreciate our efforts to help its people?
Well, it seems the answer is "No, it doesn't."
The Guardian reports that Indonesia has ordered all foreign troops engaged in relief efforts -- you know, the folks who are working long and hard to save the lives of thousands of Indonesians -- to leave the country by the end of March:
Indonseian vice-president Jusuf Kalla said troops should be gone "the sooner the better", and added that three months should be enough time for them to complete their work.Gee, thanks, guy.
It would be no big deal if this demand were merely a slap in America's face. We can take it. But it's ordinary Indonesian people themselves who will pay the price for this foolishness:
Wary of Indonesia's sensitivities, US marines have scaled back their plans to send hundreds of troops ashore to build roads and clear rubble. Commanders have also agreed that their troops would not carry guns while on Indonesian soil, and that the majority of troops would return to ships stationed off the coast after each day's work.Jakarta's arrogance is costing Indonesian people their lives. It's unfortunate that Americans care more about Indonesians than their own government does.
Getting help to the neediest is already a logistical nightmare, with roads having been washed away or blocked by fallen trees.