Invading for the cause of good

Is it Time to Invade Burma ?

From Time

The disaster in Burma presents the world with perhaps its most serious humanitarian crisis since the 2004 Asian tsunami. By most reliable estimates, close to 100,000 people are dead. Delays in delivering relief to the victims, the inaccessibility of the stricken areas and the poor state of Burma’s infrastructure and health systems mean that number is sure to rise. With as many as 1 million people still at risk, it is conceivable that the death toll will, within days, approach that of the entire number of civilians killed in the genocide in Darfur.

So what is the world doing about it? Not much. The military regime that runs Burma initially signaled it would accept outside relief, but has imposed so many conditions on those who would actually deliver it that barely a trickle has made it through. Aid workers have been held at airports. UN food shipments have been seized. US naval ships packed with food and medicine idle in the Gulf of Thailand, waiting for an all-clear that may never come.

Burma’s rulers have relented slightly, agreeing Friday to let in supplies and perhaps even some foreign relief workers. The government says it will allow a US C-130 transport plane to land inside Burma Monday. But it’s hard to imagine a regime this insular and paranoid accepting robust aid from the US military, let alone agreeing to the presence of US Marines on Burmese soil — as Thailand and Indonesia did after the tsunami. The trouble is that the Burmese haven’t shown the ability or willingness to deploy the kind of assets needed to deal with a calamity of this scale — and the longer Burma resists offers of help, the more likely it is that the disaster will devolve beyond anyone’s control. “We’re in 2008, not 1908,” says Jan Egeland, the former U.N. emergency relief coordinator. “A lot is at stake here. If we let them get away with murder we may set a very dangerous precedent.”

That’s why it’s time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma. Some observers, including former USAID director Andrew Natsios, have called on the US to unilaterally begin air drops to the Burmese people regardless of what the junta says. The Bush Administration has so far rejected the idea — “I can’t imagine us going in without the permission of the Myanmar government,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday — but it’s not without precedent: as Natsios pointed out to the Wall Street Journal, the US has facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid without the host government’s consent in places like Bosnia and Sudan.

A coercive humanitarian intervention would be complicated and costly. During the 2004 tsunami, some 24 US ships and 16,000 troops were deployed in countries across the region; the mission cost the U.S. $5 million a day. Ultimately, the US pledged nearly $900 million to tsunami relief. (By contrast, it has offered just $3.25 million to Burma.) But the risks would be greater this time: the Burmese government’s xenophobia and insecurity make them prone to view US troops — or worse, foreign relief workers — as hostile forces. (Remember Black Hawk Down?) Even if the U.S. and its allies made clear that their actions were strictly for humanitarian purposes, it’s unlikely the junta would believe them. “You have to think it through — do you want to secure an area of the country by military force? What kinds of potential security risks would that create?” says Egelend. “I can’t imagine any humanitarian organization wanting to shoot their way in with food.”

So what other options exist? Retired General William Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations says the US should first pressure China to use its influence over the junta to get them to open up and then supply support to the Thai and Indonesian militaries to carry out relief missions. “We can pay for it — we can provide repair parts to the Indonesians so they can get their Air Force up. We can lend the them two C-130s and let them paint the Indonesian flag on them,” Nash says. “We have to get the stuff to people who can deliver it and who the Burmese government will accept, even if takes an extra day or two and even if it’s not as efficient as the good old US military.” Egeland advocates that the UN Security Council take punitive steps short of war, such as freezing the regime’s assets and issuing warrants for the arrest of individual junta members if they were to leave the country. Similar measures succeeded in getting the government of Ivory Coast to let in foreign relief teams in 2002, Egelend says.

And if that fails? “It’s important for the rulers to know the world has other options,” Egeland says. “If there were, say, the threat of a cholera epidemic that could claim hundreds of thousands of lives and the government was incapable of preventing it, then maybe yes — you would intervene unilaterally.” But by then, it could be too late. The cold truth is that states rarely undertake military action unless their national interests are at stake; and the world has yet to reach a consensus about when, and under what circumstances, coercive interventions in the name of averting humanitarian disasters are permissible. As the response to the 2004 tsunami proved, the world’s capacity for mercy is limitless. But we still haven’t figured out when to give war a chance.

***

The death toll due to the hideous cyclone that hit the Burmese land lately is rising as we speak. The number shows no sign of stop due to the delay of aid in the country mainly because of the cruel military dictatorship which is controlling the country, and those who are having the unrighteous power over the country right now are sending unbelievable messages to the world that they will only accept aid reliefs under certain conditions which simply can be taken as “silent death sentences” for people who really need instant aid which are not reaching them at all. According to this article, not much actions are taken and even if they were taken, they are all delayed due to the intolerable manners of the juntas.

Will America fly in and do some “dictatorship cleaning” in order to ease the situation ? Well, but I think the country would not need a war right now which will only worsen things up and which will also only lead to a bigger number of deaths. What would be the most optimum solution for this catastrophe ? Leaders of the world and experts of political science, this is the only thing I have to say : be fast !

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10 thoughts on “Invading for the cause of good

  1. I am all for America helping out other countries who need it and ask for it. If a country doesn’t want help OR doesn’t ask for help, then too damn bad. We keep sticking our noses where we shouldnt. If the country of Burma is to proud or to stubborn to ask for help then too bad. Let em figure it out that they need help on there own. Even if they dont want to help there own people for whatever the reason, then that is there choice and they have that right to decide what they want to do for their people. Just like our government decides our fate, their countries government decides there. Let em struggle until they ask for help and avoid all confrontation.

  2. We should ask ourselves how much human conscience we truly possess when we can watch a group of thugs such as the Burmese leaders, through their selfishness, ineptitude and political ambitions, literally cause the death of tens of thousands of Burmese people.

    Those of us who think that we should resolve all such issues through peaceful and diplomatic means, I remind that every hour of our inaction results in more deaths of innocent men, women, and children.

    Although Burmese military is half a million strong, its military capabilities are severely limited. Also, the majority of the population is firmly against the regime.

    It is time to stop reading about Jenna’s wedding and start putting severe pressure on our politicians to move and save some lives while they can still be saved!

  3. >> Prior Deployed
    The country is not represented well in the diplomatic side of it
    right now for the people do not have the chance to even choose
    who they want to govern them.
    You may want to recall the rally of the monks that happened last year.
    It is not that the people does not want help,
    for even if they want the help badly,
    the help will not reach them at all for they are all filtered or stopped
    by the inconsiderable power which is over them.
    I just pray that things will get better for the people there.

    >> Roman
    Who’s Jenna, anyway ? *hehe*

    Yeah, you are right, Roman.
    It is lives we are talking about now and
    the issue of who’s ruling and who’s not is pretty much nonsense.
    But, it is not as easy as how we would like to think it is.
    I bet things are being done for the good as well at this very moment.

  4. I’m on firefox. I dunno lah, your current font appears as the new squiggly font from WordPress for me. It’s not too bad for headlines, but it appears for your body text as well, which just makes it too damn much effort to read :S

  5. I’m on Firefox as well and the font seems fine to me though. *hehe*
    Since you are the designer pro, let me know what should I do with it.
    Here’s the CSS details of this “Journalist” theme design I like for WordPress.

    /*
    Theme Name: The Journalist
    Theme URI: http://lucianmarin.com/
    Description: The Journalist is a smart, minimal theme designed for professional journalists.
    Version: 1.3
    Author: Lucian Marin
    Tags: white, two columns, fixed width, light, minimal
    For the WordPress community (GPL), enjoy it guys.
    by Lucian Marin – lucianmarin.com
    */

    body {
    background:#fff;
    font-family:Georgia, “Times New Roman”, Times, serif;
    font-size:14px;
    color:#222;
    padding:0;
    margin:0;
    border-top:#333 2px solid;
    }

    * {
    padding:0;
    margin:0;
    }

    #container {
    width:950px;
    margin:0 auto;
    }

    #container h1 {
    font-size:28px;
    font-weight:normal;
    padding:20px 10px;
    }

  6. Jenna is George Bush’s daughter who recently got married. Interestingly enough, she’s a school teacher.

    What’s happening in Burma is a real pity, and no mistake. Describing their govt as a group of thugs – it’s exactly that. They don’t seem to care about the well-being of their own people.

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