Foreign aid for Katrina’s victims

They’re offering, but so far we’re not accepting.

James Lileks has a nice little slam at — you guessed it — France, for failing to offer to help the victims of Katrina. That’s right: first Lileks and his buddies make every effort they can to wreck the French economy because Chirac wouldn’t back Bush over Iraq, and then they complain that France isn’t pitching in to help out in our hour of need. Now that’s real chutzpah.

But Glenn Reynolds points out that France is, in fact, ready to help, proving that the French are rather larger in spirit than some of the Froggy-bashers.

Apparently as of now the Federal government is refusing, or at least not acting on, offers of help from abroad. Consider this from the Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica was among the nations offering what help they could. But the Kingston embassy, while stating its appreciation for the support, politely declined the offers, saying in a statement: “The United States Government is not yet requesting international assistance at this time.”

Well, why not? Maybe Jamaica has hospital ships. Last time I checked, Kingston was closer to New Orleans (by water) than Baltimore, from which a U.S. hospital ship is to depart tomorrow.

There’s a report on Daily Kos of Canadian help being refused, but I can’t find that reported elsewhere. What is reported is that Canada has offered whatever aid we want, but that no request has yet been made.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that the rescue effort is so badly organized right now that the people on the ground can’t figure out what it is that other people have that they need. That’s the reason competent organizations do advance planning.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com