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No Relief for the Abraham Lincoln

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posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 08:07 AM
Some interesting insights from the Tsunami Relief front lines -
from our Navy guys who are doing some of the tough work
over there.

No Relief in Sight for the Lincoln
By Ed Stanton
Soldiers For The Truth - Defense Watch

It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline. I’d like to say that this has been a rewarding experience for us, but it has not: Instead, it has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid workers who have invaded our spaces.

What really irritated me was a scene I witnessed in the Lincoln’s wardroom a few days ago.... What I saw instead was a mob of civilians sitting around like they owned the place. They wore various colored vests with logos on the back including Save The Children, World Health Organization and the dreaded baby blue vest of the United Nations. Mixed in with this crowd were a bunch of reporters, cameramen and Indonesian military officers in uniform. They all carried cameras, sunglasses and fanny packs like tourists on their way to Disneyland.

As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of “Nice china, really makes me feel special,” in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact that he had no business being there in the first place.


As a result of having to host these people, our severely over-tasked SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of food and water every day to the most inaccessible places in and around Banda Aceh, are now used in great part to ferry these “relief workers” from place to place every day and bring them back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night. Despite their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief workers will not spend the night in-country, and have made us their guardians by default.

When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief group and asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the meals they ate, the fellow replied, “We aren’t paying, you can try to bill the U.N. if you want to.”

In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with hauling around reporters and various low-level “VIPs,” which further wastes valuable helo lift that could be used to carry supplies. We had to dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for Dan Rather and his entourage of door holders and briefcase carriers from CBS News. Another camera crew was from MTV.

As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to encourage our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do in the meantime is smoke cigarettes. They want our money and our help but they don’t want their population to see that Americans are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own government has ever done or will ever do for them.

To add a kick in the face to the USA and the Lincoln, the Indonesian government announced it would not allow us to use their airspace for routine training and flight proficiency operations while we are saving the lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our food and water. The ship has to steam out into international waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos have to fly longer distances and burn more fuel.

Ed Stanton is the pen name of a career U.S. Navy officer currently serving with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group.

[edit on 1/21/2005 by FlyersFan]

posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 08:14 AM

Originally posted by FlyersFan
while we are saving the lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our food and water.

This is one of the t-shirts that he's talking about.
This picture was taken over there during relief operations.

posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 08:27 AM
The Lincoln is pulling out...

posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 08:37 AM
While I tend to beleive this story on the face of it, (although I have to question just how much lift is wasted) I do have to wonder at the situation, becuase its already been demonstrated that the military is willingto 'fudge' these sorts of 'personal letters'. Recall, the letters from troopers in iraq that said roughly 'the iraqis like us, this is hard but good work, we should be here, we need your support', that were just form letters, written by brass, signed and sent out in large volume. Is this anything like that?

Would this annonymous author be required to, as in the conservative radio host 'scandal', reveal if he were receiving government support for these letters?

And, while I fully beleive the absurdity of the situation vis a vis the relief efforts, well, surely he doesn't pretend that WHO and the UN are useless, they are heading the relief effort, and US lift and transport capacity is important, but not the only thing going on there.

posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 08:38 AM
Twitchy - Considering what the author said, I'm sure that will make our
Navy guys happy. It sounds frustrating. They wanted to help
and what they got was slapped in the face by the governments
of the victims, and used and abused by the UN, media, and
'relief' agencies.

[edit on 1/21/2005 by FlyersFan]

posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 08:43 AM
Well this just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished. Why we have a whole carrier group there to help these ingrates is beyond me.

posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 08:44 AM

Originally posted by Nygdan
well, surely he doesn't pretend that WHO and the
UN are useless, they are heading the relief effort,

Having the UN head the relief effort is rather frightening.
I hope they can pull it off ... but considering the UN relief
operations in the past ... and considering the reports of
child porn trafficing and child prostitution that goes on
in UN 'relief' camps ... I'd say that sometimes the UN can
be WORSE than useless.

This is the UN's big chance to prove it's critics are wrong,
and that it can actually pull off a massive relief effort without
corruption and mismanagement and scandal. I hope they
are able to do it. However, considering the performance of
the UN in the past, I have no doubt that what this person
says COULD be true.

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