Being kept from these American people also by their Military Rulers have been the uncounted offers of assistance from Nations all around the world, including: *Venezuela* has offered their Medical Airlift Command for the evacuation of peoples trapped in these devastated regions; *Holland* has offered the resources of their Public Works Ministry (and who are the acknowledged World Experts for below sea level water evacuation procedures); *Russia* has offered over 100,000 temporary living structures, along with Military Personal to assist their American counterparts; *Iran* has offered 1 Billion US Dollars in immediate assistance and guaranteed 5,000,000 barrels of oil at $35.00 US Dollars; *China* has offered their Military Rescue Forces (Who are acknowledged as one of the best in the world for rescuing peoples in flood ravaged areas.)
All of these offers, and more, the Military Leaders of the United States have declined, and for the their previously stated reason: "/The United States Government and its People Respectfully Decline your offer of assistance and refer you to our previous State Department Bulletin (NCO:1378 in which we had stated that this remains an internal action/."
Debunked by this press conference with Condeleeza Rice:
You have the updated list of countries from every corner of the globe that are offering their help, countries like Canada and Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Israel, China, Azerbaijan, the Philippines, El Salvador, Australia, Turkey and many others. I want to note in particular that we received a generous offer of support from Sri Lanka, a country that, as we speak, is still recovering from its own massive natural disaster. Every contribution is important; and over the past few days, I have been in contact with a wide range of officials from other nations and international organizations to respond to these offers of support.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, there was a report yesterday that Russia has been refused -- I mean that its offer has been turned down. Is there anything to that?
SECRETARY RICE: We have turned down no offers. I think that, obviously, when something like this happens -- we had a task force set up, we had to make certain that everybody knew the vehicle to use to channel contributions.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, no offer has been turned down, but according to FEMA, from them at least, no offer has been accepted yet. I mean, what good is it to have, you know, nearly 60 countries step forward and offer assistance and apparently, at least as far as FEMA is concerned, they haven't been able to accept any of those offers?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, as we are speaking or perhaps just a little bit before we were speaking, there is a group that is working. Harry Thomas, who is the Executive Secretary here at the State Department and is the person who is in charge of coordinating this international effort, he is working with FEMA to go through the list, to see what might be used in the short term.
Obviously, in some cases, in places like New Orleans, it's a matter of access; but, to see which of the offers can be taken up immediately, which others might need to be taken up somewhat later, but we are matching those offers now to the needs on the ground.
QUESTION: Does it really make sense to accept money from these poorer nations? We probably already give aid to them and, in effect, we'd just be turning around and giving the money back.
SECRETARY RICE: I think there is something that is very valuable in people being able to give to each other and to be able to do so without a sense of means, so to speak. And I was myself deeply touched by what Sri Lanka has wanted to do. I think people are just reaching out to the United States. And we're very grateful that people are reaching out to the United States.
Last question? Yeah. Oh, okay. Yes, and then Jonathan you've got a question.
QUESTION: Can you confirm that you had a phone conversation with the French Foreign Minister about help that France would like to give to Louisiana? And could you give me the answer, please?
SECRETARY RICE: I did talk to the French Foreign Minister, to Mr. Douste-Blazy, this afternoon. And he talked about some pre-positioned equipment that they had not far from the United States. And I said to him what I've been saying to everyone, which is that we are working very closely with the Department of Homeland Security to match up what is available with what is needed, and that I would get back to him. But I did, indeed, speak with him today.
And there is no sign of "State Department Bulletin (NCO:1378)" anywhere.
Still thought it was worth posting to see if it had gone far. Seems someone likes portraying, in poor taste, the US government as too proud to accept help.
Well, I can't speak to the state Dept, but I know there is no one being "held" in the Superdome. My sister's (actual sister, not FOAF) Army Grd unit is down there and is in charge of that area, part of TF Ponchatrain. She's the unit CC, so I'm pretty comfortable with the larger picture I'm getting from her... Which is that 99% of folks in that area have been evacuating, they are doing bldg, by bldg checks and begining cleanup.
Here's a bit from her last note: "We are operating a warehouse now for FEMA to bring in supplies for the businesses that are going to begin opening and trying to get the city back on-line. Schools will not be able to start for awhile in the New Orleans Parrish so kids will be behind in the school year and the schools are not looking very good. We worked on the Bywater Hospital and got the power working again, drained all the water, cleaned up 4 floors and got it somewhat ready for the staff to come back in and asess the damage and what they would need to get it open to start the healing process in the local neighborhood."
She also mentioned something I have not really seen in the news, which is the tremendous support they are getting from neighborhood citizens who are doing cleanup, helping with security, guiding folks around etc. Not everyone down there is a gun-toting thug (although there were a lot of those also).
While the timliness of the original response may be questioned, the resources, manpower etc are available and working. I guess the ofers for Aid are really moot points, when they were first offered, no one really knew the situation or what we needed... and once we knew, we pretty much had ewnough resources of our own moving in. Like many instances, the offer is nice, we know we've got helpful friends, and if we do need specialists, we know where to get them.
War 'the stench is supposed to be truly eye watering' lok