Monday, May 12, 2008

Muscle Into Myanmar?

An article on Time Magazine's site is receiving a lot of attention, because it posits that maybe it's time to "invade" Myanmar in order to ameliorate the burgeoning crisis. Time editor Romesh Ratnesar is also defending his position on NPR's Talk of the Nation this afternoon, and I'll put up a link once the discussion is archived. (Update: link here)

The following press release was issued on 5/11/08 by the 31st U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit:

ABOARD USS ESSEX, At Sea , May 11, 2008 - Marines and Sailors with the Essex Amphibious Readiness Group are preparing for possible humanitarian assistance operations to aid cyclone-stricken Burma.

The Essex Amphibious Ready Group, along with 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is steaming to support potential humanitarian-assistance operations in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Burma May 1 and 2. Some estimates have put the death toll at more than 100,000. So far, the Burmese military government has allowed only one U.S. shipment of relief supplies.

"This is what we are here for," Navy Chief Petty Officer Andres Carillo, of the USS Essex, said. "It's our mission to help those in need."

The amphibious readiness group includes the forward-deployed amphibious ships USS Essex, USS Juneau, USS Harpers Ferry and USS Mustin. The servicemembers are working to fill more than 14,000 5-gallon plastic water bladders with fresh water. In the event of humanitarian operations, the water could be loaded onto landing craft and helicopters to be distributed to those affected by the cyclone...

What do you think? Is it time, as Ranesar believes, to "give war a chance"? Or should NGOs and the international community continue to work through established channels, no matter how frustrating the efforts might be?

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