unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)

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unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)
Monday, September 12th, 2005 11:51 am

Der Spiegel is reporting that a plane carrying 15 tons of food rations from Germany intended for Hurricane Katrina victims was turned back by the US last week because the Bush administration considers it embarrassing for Americans to receive aid from overseas.

Why was the aid not accepted?  As it turns out, the US Department of Agriculture had rejected the rations -- originally prepared for NATO troops -- out of fear they may be tainted with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the agent thought to cause mad cow disease.  Despite intensive efforts on the part of Germany's foreign ministry, the US government refused to give the plane flyover rights.

But officers at a US base in Pensacola -- where previous German aid planes had landed -- believe there was another reason.  In reality, the critics said, the Bush government was trying to avoid embarrassing images of Europeans making food relief deliveries to the States.  After all, the meals had already been certified by NATO as BSE-free.  Additionally, the same types of meals have been used in common deployments in Afghanistan, and they've also been consumed by American troops.  Startled by a query from SPIEGEL on Friday evening, the US Embassy here in Berlin said the ban on the pre-prepared meals delivered from Germany would be lifted.  Indeed, the shiny, new US Ambassador to Germany, William Timken, had only recently thanked the German government for the first 20,000 donated meals -- all of which have already been eaten by Katrina victims.

Which is the more embarrassing, and the more shameful:  America accepting overseas food relief for victims a major natural disaster, or American citizens starving after that disaster because their government is too vain to be seen accepting foreign aid to feed them?