Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bangladesh, The US treads lightly.

Ruth Fremson for The New York Times

A mosque in southern Bangladesh was not spared by a cyclone that struck on Nov. 15 and killed more than 3,000 people.

Published: November 24, 2007

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Nov. 23 — As an American warship with more than 3,000 troops arrived off the coast of Bangladesh to help deliver food, water and medicine to the most remote corners of this cyclone-battered country, United States military officials took pains on Friday to say they would not take any steps that might seem intrusive.

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A Bangladeshi military copter carried aid to Nalcity Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Adm. Timothy J. Keating, the commander of American forces in the Pacific, said American troops would work alongside Bangladeshi troops and make joint decisions about where American military assets would be helpful.

“This is not a U.S.-only operation; it’s in support of Bangladeshi operations,” he said at a news briefing after meeting with Bangladeshi Army officials here in Dhaka, the capital. “We are not just going to come storming ashore.”

The approach illustrated how tricky it has become for American troops to deliver even humanitarian aid to a friendly Muslim-majority nation.

The Bangladeshi Army’s chief of general staff, Maj. Gen. Sina Ibn Jamali, acknowledged that there was “sensitivity” to American military involvement in the nation’s relief operations. He said the Americans had been invited because his own military-backed government lacked the aircraft, in particular, to distribute aid swiftly to areas that needed it most.

“They will be working with us, uniform and uniform,” the general said.

The Associated Press reported that members of a small Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, protested the American military presence after Friday Prayer at Dhaka’s largest state-run mosque.

The American vessel, Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship equipped with 20 helicopters and three landing craft that can maneuver in coastal areas, was stationed Friday about 30 miles off the southern coast of Bangladesh.

United States military officials said that only a handful of American troops would be on Bangladeshi soil at any time, with most marines and Navy personnel staying aboard the Kearsarge and coming ashore to deliver supplies. Admiral Keating said the troops would stay as long as they were needed.

A second American ship was on its way, packed mostly with supplies. The Americans said they expected to start delivering aid as early as Saturday.

The Kearsarge arrived as aid workers warned of an imminent risk of water-borne disease from the Nov. 15 cyclone and, eventually, a worsening of childhood malnutrition, which already hovers around 48 percent, according to Unicef.

Although the cyclone’s death toll was put at nearly 3,200, according to Bangladeshi Army officials, with 1,700 more people still missing, the government estimated that the storm had affected more than six million Bangladeshis by destroying homes, fields and fish ponds.

The Bangladeshi military continued to ferry food and clothing to the cyclone zone. On Friday afternoon, a Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter made its last run to a small town called Nalcity, where the cyclone had uprooted tall trees, blown off tin roofs and flattened acres of rice fields.

The birds scattered and the dust blew furiously as the helicopter descended, bearing dried dates and biscuits as well as saris and lungis, the basic clothing for Bangladeshi women and men.

After reading the above story and looking at the CIA profile of Bangladesh why might helping this grief stricken country be an issue?


Anonymous said...

what do you mean by the question>>>>>>>>>

manpreet kaur said...

"The approach illustrated how tricky it has become for American troops to deliver even humanitarian aid to a friendly Muslim-majority nation." Helping in this issue is very sensetive, because it is a nation having many difficulties with other nations surrouned by it.Such as India,due to the issue in the past about pillars.What step can Bangladesh take to stop corruption in their nation(you said something about corruption perhap reoccuring)?

Anonymous said...

I personally think helping Bangladesh would be helpful but it would also be bad. It is bad because we spent trillion's on the war of Iraq but only gave Bangladesh a million something for the damage. I do agree with what Manpreet said, helping them is a very sensitive issue because they are really going through a lot but It would also be helpful because Bangladesh is a country that needs help specially that now because of the cyclone. "Although the cyclone’s death toll was put at nearly 3,200, according to Bangladeshi Army officials, with 1,700 more people still missing, the government estimated that the storm had affected more than six million Bangladeshis by destroying homes, fields and fish ponds."
I think that is pretty shocking. Also as the CIA said, "Many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; water-borne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic," and this is without the cyclone hitting Bangladesh... just imagine how bad it is now there?

-Anta R.

Samantha Ross said...

I agree with Manpreet and Anta helping Bangladesh is a sensitive issue. As Anta said Bangladesh is a country that does need our help. Our country can help them, but how are they going to help some other country when they can't even help their own country. The cyclone was a horrible tragedy. I feel is we go and help Bangladesh, after we give them the help they need we would ask for something in return. Because our country is all about money, we would be putting a lot of money into Bangladesh so we would want something equal to however much money the country spent. I feel going to Bangladesh won’t be a good idea, even though it would be the nice thing to do. Their country is not a safe condition now and before. And there are already enough problems from our troops in Iraq I don’t think there needs to be any more. There has to be another way we can help Bangladesh without physically being there, but what is it?

John said...

I agree with Sam completely, helping them would be the right thing to do. We go to other counties and try and get them to play nice, but when it comes right down to it we could take a bit of our own advice. How can we get others to help stop stuff like Darfur when we won't help out when needed. Helping out wiould not only be the right thing to do but it would also give us a firmer base to try and help more people. The reason we need to tread softly here though, is because it is inhabitied by a muslim majority, and historically, they haven't been all that pro-american or pro-western world. By helping them maybe we could make some valuble allies, it isn't always about money there are other rewards as well.

Wesley M. said...

I completely agree with everyone that posted and said that it is a sensitive issue. I also agree with John saying that we need to take our own advice. We spend so much money on wars and being the aid to the world when we neglect our own country.

Anonymous said...

I think the US would do more for other countries in need to get moral support from any country, other than helping its self like samantha said, look what happen in the case of the levie braking in New Orleans it took american troops about a week to get there and help out with the distruction of hurricane katrina. Most people in NEW ORLEANS didnt get any help food or water for a matter of days.


Anonymous said...

i agree with anta, but i have two questions. Even though america is one of the biggest countries ever, who says who have an obligation to help out bangladesh? People guilt america so much. My other question is, how can america help anyone out when they answered poorly to katrina? TO help someone means that you are able and ready to help another. America was struggling to help the victims of Katrina so i ask how can they help bangladesh? This doesnt mean that im saying that we should help them but if we are, how?
_peterson saint cyr