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Burma Faces Military Intervention “in the name of humanitarianism”

May 10, 2008

The case for invading Myanmar
By Shawn W Crispin

BANGKOK – With United States warships and air force planes at the ready, and over 1 million of Myanmar’s citizens left bedraggled, homeless and susceptible to water-borne diseases by Cyclone Nagris, the natural disaster presents an opportunity in crisis for the US President George W Bush’s controversial pre-emptive military policies.

A unilateral – and potentially United Nations-approved – US military intervention in the name of humanitarianism could easily turn the tide against the impoverished country’s unpopular military leaders, and simultaneously rehabilitate the legacy of lame-duck US
President George W Bush’s controversial pre-emptive military policies.

Myanmar’s ruling junta has responded woefully to the cyclone disaster, costing more human lives than would have been the case with the approval of a swift international response. One week after the killer storm first hit, Myanmar’s junta has only now allowed desperately needed international emergency supplies to trickle in. It continues to resist US and UN disaster relief and food aid personnel from entering the country. Officially, 60,000 people have died; the figure is probably closer to 100,000.

The US is prepared to deliver US$3.25 million in initial assistance for survivors, which if allowed by the junta could be rapidly delivered to the worst-hit areas using US Air Force and naval vessels, including the US C-130 military aircraft now in neighboring Thailand, and the USS Kitty Hawk and USS Nimitz naval warships, currently on standby in nearby waters.

With the host government’s approval, the US military led the multinational emergency response to the 2004 tsunami, including in the politically sensitive, majority Muslim areas of Aceh, Indonesia. The response to Myanmar’s tragedy, in comparison, is being undermined by the play of international power politics, including most notably the military government’s antagonistic relations with the US.

In the wake of the cyclone, the criminality of the junta’s callous policies has taken on new human proportions in full view of the global community. Without a perceived strong UN-led response to the natural disaster, hard new questions will fast arise about the UN’s own relevance and ability to manage global calamities.

This week, French Foreign Minister Bernard Koucher suggested that the UN invoke its so-called “responsibility to protect” civilians as legitimate grounds to force aid delivery, regardless of the military government’s objections. On Friday, a UN spokesman called the junta’s refusal to issue visas to aid workers “unprecedented” in the history of humanitarian work.

While Myanmar ally China would likely oppose a US military intervention, Beijing has so far notably goaded the junta to work with rather than against international organizations like the UN, and more to the point, it lacks the power projection capabilities to militarily challenge the US in a foreign theater. Most notably, the US would have at its disposal a globally respected and once democratically elected leader in Aung San Suu Kyi to lead a transitional government to full democracy.

Many have speculated that Myanmar’s notoriously paranoid junta abruptly moved the national capital 400 kilometers north from Yangon to its mountain-rung redoubt at Naypyidaw in November 2005 due to fears of a possible pre-emptive US invasion, similar to the action against Iraq. Now, Cyclone Nagris and the government’s woeful response to the disaster have suddenly made that once paranoid delusion into a strong pre-emptive possibility, one that Bush’s lame-duck presidency desperately needs.

Vote trumps storm for Burma leaders

Perhaps the most baffling aspect of Burma’s response to Cyclone Nargis is its insistence that the referendum on a new constitution will go ahead as scheduled on 10 May, except in areas immediately affected by the disaster.

Even at the height of the disaster the state broadcaster has devoted much of its airtime to cheerful entertainment programmes urging people to vote in favour of the new charter.

The military is reported to have commandeered large numbers of vehicles for use during the referendum, and in towns unaffected by the cyclone, like Mandalay, trucks have been driving continuously through the streets, blaring out the government’s pro-referendum message.

Residents contacted by the BBC have expressed their disgust that this is happening when so many are in such distress in the Irrawaddy delta.

It is a measure of the ruling military council’s determination that it is ploughing on even in the face of the worst natural disaster in Burma’s recorded history.

Myanmar Remains Reluctant To Accept Foreign Aid

Burma facing ‘apocalypse’

Waiting to help

US aid takes off

<!–Day Eight of the Cyclone disaster: –>The Burmese military junta reversed itself early on Saturday and said the United States can deliver one planeload of emergency aid, and maybe more – as the United Nations estimated the death toll could reach more than 100,000, partly because the regime has denied most aid and all relief workers for a week. Donors around the world have donated enough aid to last for three months – if Burma allows it to be distributed.

There is too much to say about this disaster. For whatever causes global weather patterns to grow more violent, or earthquakes and volcano eruptions to happen, natural disasters are on the rise. An arrogant government that puts its politics ahead of the welfare of its own people is an equally outrageous disaster. The Myanmar Junta Government is self destructing at the expense of millions of human beings. That is only the first and most obvious consequence of this behavior.

Again, I emphasize the “Ripple Effect”, because, anything that happens on one side of this planet will ultimately be felt on the other side. Whether the Ripple becomes an economic hazard or a health hazard or food hazard depends on the success of First Responders. When First Responders, regardless where they come from, are prevented from addressing the immediate needs of the victims, then, the worst case scenario is invited to take over.

Burma’s happy little junta is proving to be a sick little junta. What kind of mentality or political dogma decides the value of humanity? Would that the roles were reversed and the new military capitol were in the path of the cyclone? Would the 75 year old, Than Shwe, in poor health, who is worried about what will happen to his cronies and family after he’s gone. He expects the formalisation of the armed forces’ dominant role in the constitution will protect them. But, if that picture changes, and the casualties and angry victims outnumber his military clones, there will be a civil war nightmare in Myanmar. The casualties will be terrible. Outside military intervention may be the least of all evils in the eyes of the victims.

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7 Comments
  1. May 11, 2008 5:10 pm

    First,and FOREMOST,I’m flabbergast that I’ve been introduced to site with this many BRAINWAVES. I THANK YOU for the digg Ravenscawl.
    The only blood to be drawn for a hijacked thread is that of the ones that have been, and will be, exposed,and BOSSKITTY seems to
    be a great hunter.
    The regional catastrophies seem to be growing in four year increments.Between the two of you, where do you believe the next
    example of earthen reprisal will be? And, how soon after our national elections?
    (‘Vincent Yettes/ Mohandas Lighque’)

  2. May 11, 2008 9:37 am

    Thanks, I love the link – got your email. Thanks.

  3. ravenscawl permalink
    May 11, 2008 7:48 am

    The belief that when one sees something, therefore it must must be true. Is the whole foundation for the DUMBING DOWN of the population.(“Seeing is Believing”)
    The same TECHNIQUES are used in not only in EDUCATION,
    RELIGION but MARKETING as well!

    http://vincentyettes.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/whitting-accomplises-all/
    for an interesting and like view of this subject.
    Sorry if it seems I’ve Hijacked the thread.

  4. May 11, 2008 7:16 am

    You are so right. Bush’s thoughts are programmed by his handlers. Every time he sways from their programming, we get Bushisms. His policies are prepared in advance by the Cheney and PNAC – Bush will do whatever they tell him. Your follow the money statements are so true. Most people do not have the attention span to do that. Once Bush handlers decide they want precious gems and rice we will invade and call it ‘humanitarian’.
    Americans are programmed to make decisions on 30 second sound bytes and use the toilet during commercials. Americans have been programmed by commercial marketers since the advent of mass communication. I have tried to do a social autopsy on this phenomenon. It is a complex subject that few want to digest. I posted on this last June:
    Bush – Cheney Playbook … Quote Hermann Goering
    Americans are lab rats …

  5. ravenscawl permalink
    May 10, 2008 11:27 pm

    Burma’s most marketable natural resources are Gems
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/01/11/burma17729.htm
    and Teak and Iron woods.
    With respect George W. Bush does not have the last
    say. That is reserved by the Money Handlers which includes Chevron,Total SE., S.Korea ,World Bank
    and The U.N Bank just to name a few.

  6. May 10, 2008 4:50 pm

    Ravenscrawl, I agree, they may not be there for invasion but according to the Asia Times, US is being invited in by neighboring countries. Did you notice the article encouraged George Bush to save his “pre-emptive” legacy by making a humanitarian invasion …
    Burma has some marketable natural resources and is/was a major rice producer.

  7. ravenscawl permalink
    May 10, 2008 12:25 pm

    The US Warship are not there
    to invade they are there to PROTECT their ASS
    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/052200-01.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/03/24/burma15557.htm

    By INTERNATIONAL the U.N. CAN
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsibility_to_protect
    But will they

    Just Follow money!

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