[AFP May 16] US lawmakers have asked President George W. Bush to consider “humanitarian intervention” in cyclone-hit Myanmar after its military rulers refused to allow foreign experts to direct relief efforts despite rising deaths.
Forty-one members of the House of Representatives wrote to Bush on Thursday asking him to “strongly consider” backing efforts by France, Britain, Germany, Denmark and other nations to gain entry into the devastated Irrawaddy Delta region “to provide urgent life-saving humanitarian aid.”
[The Guardian, May 17] These are obstacles made of shadows, that will crumble as soon as they are challenged and someone has the courage to push through the aid the Burmese desperately need – over, around or through the military regime. International precedent may well be set, but no one in Burma needs a history lesson. The military can’t handle this crisis, and there is a crying need for those who can.
[NY Times, May 14] The magic of this is that an enormous amount of assistance can be provided while maintaining a small footprint on shore, greatly reducing the chances of a clash with the Burmese armed forces while nevertheless dealing a hard political blow to the junta. Concomitantly, drops can be made from directly overhead by the Air Force without the need to militarily occupy any Burmese airports.
[The New Yorker, May 14] But if the fear of Baghdad and Falluja is what keeps foreign powers from saving huge numbers of Burmese from their own government’s callousness, that will be one more tragic consequence of the Iraq war.
On the other hand, if it’s going to be done, it should be done quickly. I know all the arguments why we shouldn’t. But there are at least a million counterarguments why we should.
[Time, May 10] That’s why it’s time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma.