The picture that is emerging from the work on the ground -- where even NGOs such as Oxfam say they are moving around the countries on military helicopters, rather than through self-sourced transport -- is increasingly one in which foreign aid budgets might most effectively be diverted to support military operations, dressed in their own uniforms, rather than "going blue" and falling into line behind UN "leadership."There's lots more, all of it damning. I'm still gearing up for a big "why-the-U.N.-is-bad" post, but articles like this make big chunks of the case all by themselves.
CNN reports that the U.S. has agreed to disband its coalition of nations -- itself, Australia, Japan, India, Canada, and the Netherlands -- providing tsunami relief, and will "blend its role into the broader U.N. effort."
Interestingly, the headline reads, "U.N. taking over relief effort", but the actual article says "The United Nations will take over coordination of tsunami relief and reconstruction efforts from a core group of nations".
We're letting the U.N. take over "coordination" of the relief efforts. Not the relief efforts themselves.
I'm guessing the U.S. figured this would be an easy way to show how nice and multilateral it can be, by letting the U.N. persist in its delusions of relevance. But I'm also guessing that U.N. "coordination" will not add any value, and may well make things worse.
For starters, the pace of actual relief efforts will necessarily slow down, as U.N. officials hold lengthy and superfluous meetings to coordinate them. Relief funds will also be diverted to provide better-than-necessary accomodations for U.N. personnel, whose colleagues are notorious for the swanky digs they occupied in postwar Iraq.
The well-intentioned U.S. gesture may end up being a costly one, with the tsunami vicitms paying the price.
A commenter on this post over at Roger L. Simon's blog has this to say about the U.N. presence in Afghanistan:
My experience with the UN over the past 18 years is in Afghanistan. Here's what I've seen since 9/11...There's more. Read the whole thing, as they say.
The UN and associated NGOs ran through years of aid funding in a matter of months. Now when money cannot be found for reconstruction, the UN issues reports criticizing the parsimonious Americans. Meanwhile, the UN and NGOs live like pashas. Hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for Afghans have been transformed into fleets of top-of the-line Toyota Landcruisers, villas and estates to house their workers complete with swimming pools, an endless supply of underpaid servants, luxurious furnishings (accented with looted antiquities,) the latest laptops, video equipment, cases of Johnny Walker Blue and the bling bling...perks that might even seem excessive to Ken Lay are justifiable expenses charged off to the US. No accountability, no oversight. They don’t bother cooking the books, they don’t even keep the books!