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Muslims and the tsunami
Mona Charen

Story

Prince Felix Schwartenberg of Austria was asked in 1848 how his country would respond to Russia's help putting down a Hungarian insurrection. "Austria," he replied, "will astound the world with the magnitude of her ingratitude."

Well stand aside, Prince, because Indonesia can now assume first place in the pantheon of ingrates. The world's most populous Muslim nation, horribly battered by the tsunami, announced that it wished to see American and other foreign troops who are providing disaster relief out by March 31. "The sooner the better," said Vice President Yusuf Kalla. The U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln was reportedly asked to withdraw from Indonesian territorial waters off Banda Aceh due to Indonesian "sensitivity" about U.S. training flights.

Our diplomats are doing what they always do, attempting to portray a knife in the back as a friendly pat. Thus U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia B. Lynn Pascoe was quick to assure the world that the deadline was just dandy. "We don't intend to be there a minute afterward. ... As I understand, the vice president was referring to a plan they have internally for the length of time it is going to take them to be set up and have transportation sufficient that they will not need helicopters. That's a perfectly reasonable position to me."

Really? It makes many Americans want to spit. Should we be leaning over backward to assure Indonesia that we won't overstay our welcome -- enduring heat, accidents, disease, expense and other hardships in order to help her people?

Here's an alternate theory: The Indonesian government's hatred for the United States overpowers even the most dire needs of its suffering people. That is a mighty hatred. Even Turkey gratefully accepted aid from Greece when the former suffered an earthquake in 1999.

Certainly the Indonesian government does not speak for everyone in the country. Many Indonesians have expressed their thanks to the United States and the rest of the world. But neither is it deniable that Islamic extremists have poisoned many minds in the Muslim world. As Paul Marshall reported in The Weekly Standard, a "prominent Islamist Website Jihad Unspun maintains the tsunami struck Thailand for supporting 'the Christian crusaders in the war on terror.'" The other nations on the Indian Ocean that suffered death and destruction were similarly deserving -- India for its "polytheism" and Sri Lanka for supposedly "giving its full backing to the Christian Crusaders inside the White House."

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I say we send their govt a bill for all the aid provided ! :bird:
 

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Did we really expect anything different then that?
We are still are generally still Christain and we are America no matter what we do we will never be more then the plauge of the world to the muslim extremist and even non extremists.
 

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jeez, oldbike, you're really sensitive about this and see america-haters everywhere. they've asked for withdrawal of soldiers 3 months after the tsunami. not just US but all other countries as well. Is it wrong? no, I don;t think so. there is a legal issue here. iraq is invaded. germany, south korea, and saudi arabia have US soldiers on their soil under specific arrangements. For foreign troops to be present in a country, surely there has to be some formal arrangement that defines what they are there for, how long they will stay, how their presence will be accomodated within the law (if a foreign soldier commits a crime, who makes the arrest? which court tries him? etc).

so foreign soldiers are in indonesia to help out. Indonesia wants to formalize a definite exit date. this is only fair and correct because the alternative is a military presence without clear definition and mandate. It is a question of maintaining the structure of soverignity. It is simply unimaginable to have foreign troops in your country ad hoc, without any sort of formal understanding about their presence.

THe only thing that indonesia can do is either get into a contract with the US about how long the troops will stay, what their duties will be, who will pay the bill for their presence, how they will fit into the law (this is a huge one. I am in the US on a visa that regulates what I do here and cannot do, how long I can stay, and a whole raft of rules and regulations. how do you accomodate foreign soldiers in this frame work?) and all that, or it can unilaterally set the conditions for the presence of the US soldiers. soverignity DEMANDS that one of these two things happen. The former however is a very long, drawn out, process take takes armies of lawyers and diplomats to negotiate and hammer out. ANd in this situation there is no need for it.

For one thing, foreign soldiers are there temporarily. The tasks they do are short term task. they CANNOT get involved in long term large scale tasks like road building, hospital constructions, etc without treaties, formal agreements etc. and that is something that they are NOT going to be doing. Its not their job and the US has not offered them for that purpose. THey have doing immediate need emergency work like search and rescue, setting up camps, providing food and medication and water in the disaster's aftermath.

for another thing, this applies to all countries, not just the US. how many countries should indonesia negotiate with? and what should happen while the negotiations are on? and how can it agree to different terms with different countries, which it would have to? and is there any need for such mind numbing and useless redtape bullshit when most of the short term relief work that foreign soldiers could reasonable be expected to do will soon be over? Isn't it much easier to simply set one blanket date for the withdrawal of all foriegn soldiers?

THe only alternative is if all the foreign troops had arrived under the auspices of the UN. then they would be there as UN staff, not as US or australian or whatever soldiers. and that would be proper by international law because they wouldn't imply the presence of foreign military power on soverign indonesian soil. But these soldiers are not there as UN staff. therefore, without a formal agreement, there HAS to be some formal understanding created about their presence and its duration.

THeir presence there is short term only. So indonesia has set a date of three months. WOuld you have been any less annoyed had it been 6 months? do you even want your soldiers in there for 6 months or a year getting bogged down in policing activities, law and order control, infrastructure rebuilding etc? do yo want US soldiers doing in indonesia what they are doing in iraq?

I doubt it.

THey are there for disaster relief and that is by its nature short term work and indonesia has correctly sought to formalize that by setting a short term ending date for their presence.

I for one can't imagine why you would want US soliders lingering around in indonesia past the relief efforts, without any sort of formal agreement of tpurpose and terms of their presence that would be to the satisfaction of US law makers and elected leaders.

Indonesia is a muslim country and muslim sentiment in the world, expecially after iraq has turned against the US. the Indonesian govt has to show that the US presence is limited and not indefinite.

what I think is going on here is that indonesia does what it has to, which is set boundaries to the presence of foreign soldiers (all, not just US) on its soil, and the media and super sensitive americans immediately spin it into how america is being told to get out. Its all spin.

you reacted pretty harsh when India said it didn't need aid for this disaster. I think you need to cool down a bit and quit obsessing about anti-americanism so much. seems like americans are starting to hate the non-american world as arbitrarily as some non americans hate america. You would do much better to become more sensitive to other people's positions and compulsions and see what motivates them, instead of automatically assuming that everybody is driven by anti american hatred.
 

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Haru-

You are obviously failing to realize the fact that the US should be able to keep soldiers where every it pleases for however long it pleases. This is not a difficult concept to grasp :rolling:

:808875-bs:
 

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Hmm, I note that Indonesia was fighting what amounts to a civil war prior to the tsunami. Could it possibly be that they simply don't want foreign interference in an internal matter?

Given the charges of corruption, human rights violations, etc. leveled by GAM, it's quite possible the gov't doesn't want the world finding out exactly what it's been up to the last decade or so.

Then again, "They hate us" sells more newspapers... :smirk:
 

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Novos while I was in Europe I read an article that stated Al Jazeera and an Islamic web-site were reporting that the tsunami was intentionally started with an underwater atomic blast by the United States :lol: I didn't hear the Al Jazeera report nor read the internet report but still found the article amusing :grin: Its funny how dense some people really are.
 

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seems like the bush administration doesn't agree with this mona female that you're quoting.

The American ambassador here said Thursday that the United States was not troubled by the Indonesian government's demands that aid workers in Aceh Province register and that all foreign troops be gone by the end of March, describing the restrictions as "reasonable" and "unremarkable."


"It's their country," Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe said at a news conference at the fortified American Embassy, adding that "they have every right to decide" how long American troops are needed.

He said Indonesia's intention to have foreign troops leave and its own people take over the reconstruction after 90 days "sounds like a perfectly reasonable position to me."

In an interview Thursday on the PBS program "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said he would not characterize the announcement as a deadline. "It was an expectation that the work would be finished and there would not be a need for foreign troops after three months," he said.

This is a highly nationalistic country, and the Bush administration is clearly concerned about the reactions of Indonesians to the presence of the American troops.

On Thursday, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz sought to play down the decision, saying he expected American military relief operations to end well before then.

"I would hope that we would not be needed as a military long before March," he told reporters traveling with him to Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka to inspect damaged areas. Mr. Wolfowitz added: "For any country it is a sensitive issue to have foreign troops on your territory. It would be sensitive in the United States, and I can tell you that it is extremely sensitive in Indonesia."


still, if you want a simplistic "those dirty muslims hate us" interpretation because its more fun, go for it.
 

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Haru its an article and of course we don't get the full context or the expression taped interview would give but the quote "the sooner the better" from the Indonesian VP was a lil tactless wouldn't you agree?
 

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Slorch, Indonesia and Malaysia are two different countries. :crazy:

Spaz, certainly the Indonesian vice-president could stand to learn a little tact, and Americans are just the ones to teach it. "Bring it on!" :waytogo:

Some Americans complain that the impoverished nations of the world don't rush aid to us when we suffer a natural disaster in which several dozen people die, but I wonder how long those same Americans would tolerate foreign military forces operating in our country.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
TravellinJones said:
Slorch, Indonesia and Malaysia are two different countries. :crazy:

[/ QUOTE ]

TJ, you and my wife would get along very well. :smirk: I can see it now, the two of you laughing and pointing while I fumble about. She takes great delight in my Mouth O' Marbles, various mis-types, etc. What's your address? I'll gladly give her cab fare! :waytogo:
 

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TJ I was refering to a possible reason why people may react the way they do to the VP of Indonesia's words. I wasn't trying to make a comparison to US leaders and their tact or lack of.
 

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maybe the V.P. could have been more diplomatic. oh and BTW Banda Aceh was once the epicenter of the jihadist command structure. I wonder if Allah is sending a message?? and Nuclear esplosions register differently on the seismograohs, IIRC.
 

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So, my question is; Do they want ALL Americans/Foreigners out? Or, just the troops?

There are ALOT of people helping out over there, different charities and rescue/clean up crews. Do they want all of them out?

If they want everyone that's not native to leave, that would certainly be detrimental to the future well being of their Country.
 

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I think three months is enough to rebuild enough infrastructure for the Indo Army to take over- they're probably worried about loosing any initiative over the insurgents they might have thought they had- then again, I wonder if there are any insurgents left. Still, the Indo gvmnt should have approached this more diplomatically- has anyone checked to see if donations have been affected? I couldn't find anything yet. Also, the rhetoric and control of the regime may be threatened by the appearnce of U.S. forces that aren't giant thugs with guns, and this creates yet another problem for both the Government and the insurgents. The problem with rhetoric is that personal experience reduces the effect, and threatens the status quo. Anyway, I feel it's better for us to manage the aid effort, since the corruption levels are reduced. As for whether it applies to all foreigners or not depends on who you're talking to- the original message and the spin put on it by the State Department have confused the issue significantly.
 

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I don't really have an opinion on the subject, I just feel really bad for all the victims of the tsunami. But if after the recent devastating hurricanes in Florida, the Russian military showed up and said, "we're here to help", I think America would lay down some rules about how much they can help too :laugh:
 
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