The website of Britain's Ministry of Defense provides updates on its ongoing Operation Garron, which is providing British military assistance to tsunami relief operations.
Besides doing excellent work delivering medicine, supplies, food, and machinery to the victims, British troops are also lending a hand to other relief organizations. Like the U.N., for example.
In this photograph, we see part of what they've been tasked with delivering:
Looks like a nice, shiny new SUV. A Toyota Land Cruiser, if I'm not mistaken.
The picture is captioned, "United Nations vehicles disembark from the C-17 at Banda Aceh to help establish UN relief operations."
If the past indulgences of U.N. and NGO personnel in Afghanistan (where their expensive new vehicles earned them the nickname "the Toyota Taliban") are any guide, this SUV is only one piece of a massive, gleaming fleet that will shuttle various U.N. "coordinators" and "supervisors" around Indonesia in high style and comfort.
Land Cruisers aren't cheap. Base model MSRP is over $55,000, while those fitted for U.N. use almost certainly cost much more.
I wonder: How much medicine, food, and clothing could the Brits have delivered in place of that SUV? How many tsunami victims could have been helped for the same price? For the price of a whole fleet of them? For all the funds the U.N. will fritter away on luxuries for its own people?