Credit Where Credit is Due

My buddy Kathryn has another interesting post up. She points out that it costs real money to use military units for rescue and aid, money that no one gives us credit for when they start to complain about how stingy the US is when it comes to disaster relief.

So how much money are we talking about here? To figure that out would take a big pile of research, but she has found the daily costs for operating an aircraft carrier.

So we should get some credit for diverting our military in order to save lives. But there’s something else that’s being ignored, and that’s the money we spend to maintain this capability even when we’re not using it. In Europe, for example, they’ve made the choice to allow their military to dry up in order to fund Socialist welfare programs. They say that they’re more moral, more caring, for doing this.

So how come we don’t get credit for paying for assets that are desperately needed when things really go to hell?

4 thoughts on “Credit Where Credit is Due”

  1. As soon as I learned that a US Navy task force was diverted to the tsunami area, I realized that a whole lot of money was needed to maintain and utilize those forces–money the US would never be given credit for in relief effort terms.

    But if not for the Yank and Aussie militaries, almost none of the promised aid would ever get delivered. Not only that, but probably only Japan, the US, and Australia (maybe UK) will ever make good on its promises of aid. The others all pledge a lot of money for PR value, then welsh on their promises.

  2. So how come we don’t get credit for paying for assets…

    Because that means facing up to reality. And if there’s one thing Europeans – and especially the UN – have excelled at, it’s hiding from or obfuscating reality. Facing reality would mean taking responsibility. It might even mean trimming six week holidays to four week holidays to pay for the capability to help deal with the world’s problems. It would mean going out into the mean, nasty, real-world places these things are happening and trying to fix them. That stuff is hard. It’s expensive. Dangerous too. Better to let the Yanks/Brits/Aussies do it. So much easier to sit in a nice cafe somewhere and bitch.

  3. James, In answer to your post’s final question, I think our national culture has made it a taboo to loudly demand credit for one’s own charitable works.

    My own, Middle-American (Milwaukee, WI) culture cousels: “Give generously, and let others tout it for you.” That could explain some reluctance among politicians to demand a public championing of this substantial global charity.


  4. Oh, James, there are a lot of reasons we don’t get credit, but they’ll be better in another post. I put up some stats on our actual giving (without the military assets) which show with graphics, here, how much better US giving looks when more honestly portrayed.

    But I would have guessed an aircraft carrier at MUCH more expensive than a mil a day. Doesn’t include the boys’ salaries, does it?

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