Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Just Another Link
On George W.'s
Ponderous Chain

'Twas already a ponderous chain, George W.!

Bush to make "brief" tsunami statement, $20million is a "loan", not aid

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of Americans remain missing two days after devastating tsunamis struck Asia, but the State Department says a large number have been located and are safe. Responding to the disaster, the U.S. Agency for International Development added $20 million to the already promised $15 million.

The State Department said Tuesday that 12 Americans had died, seven in Sri Lanka and five in Thailand.

Bush administration officials sought to allay concerns about the missing Americans, saying it might simply be a matter of not getting in touch with U.S. authorities in Asia....

Describing the $20 million as a "line of credit," Ereli said, "We have identified an additional $20 million that we will be working to make available" to countries struck by the worst natural disaster in four decades.....

On Wednesday, President Bush is to make a brief statement at his Texas ranch about the Asian disaster following a regularly scheduled National Security Council meeting during which he will be updated on relief and recovery efforts, said White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy. LINK

Of course, this story has been scrubbed neatly and replaced by a less gut wrenchingly heartless version (Maybe someone has cached the original):

U.S. Boosts Quake Relief to $35 Million

32 minutes ago

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

CRAWFORD, Texas - U.S. aid to victims of an earthquake that sent deadly waves crashing onto shores in Asia and Africa has been doubled to $35 million and is likely to be much more in an international aid effort expected to run into the billions.

President Bush is making a brief statement at his Texas ranch Wednesday about the Asian disaster following a regularly scheduled National Security Council meeting, where advisers will update him on relief and recovery work, White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy said Tuesday.

Duffy declined to say whether the United States was planning to pledge more aid at this time. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday that the United States will be a "major contributor" to an international assistance effort expected to run into the billions for victims of this week's earthquake and tsunamis, which killed at least 60,000.

"As we continue to get our hands around the size of the effort's needs, that will continue to be addressed and assessed," Duffy said. "Secretary Powell clearly said that this is just the beginning — this is all preliminary — and the first thing we need to do is get a good assessment of what's absolutely necessary."

U.S. Agency for International Development chief Andrew Natsios told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the $35 million aid package has drained his organization's emergency relief fund, forcing it to ask Congress or the White House for more money.

"We just spent it," Natsios said. "We'll be talking to the (White House) budget office." LINK (Same as above)

And if that's not enough to add tonnage to the existing chain George W. is forging in this life...

Aid grows amid questions about Bush

Should vacationing president have spoken out?

By John F. Harris and Robin Wright

The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

Bush's deepened public involvement puts him more in line with other world figures. In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder cut short his vacation and returned to work in Berlin because of the Indian Ocean crisis, which began with a gigantic underwater earthquake. In Britain, the predominant U.S. voice speaking about the disaster was not Bush but former president Bill Clinton, who in an interview with the BBC said the suffering was like something in a "horror movie," and urged a coordinated international response.

Earlier yesterday, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the president was confident he could monitor events effectively without returning to Washington or making public statements in Crawford, where he spent part of the day clearing brush and bicycling. Explaining the about-face, a White House official said: "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.' "

Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing the president's view of his appropriate role. LINK

Ponderously heavy sigh.


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