Sunday, July 16, 2006

U.S. Navy revisits Aceh (Simeleue) on humanitarian mission, Jakarta protesters rally for Lebanon

Some images and stories from the U.S. Navy about the current USNS Mercy humanitarian mission to Simeleue island off the coast of Aceh:

Navy Cmdr. Jesus Mallari examines a girl at RUSD Simeulue Hospital

Navy Aviation Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Thomas Baker carries a young child from an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter aboard the U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19)

Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four Zero (NMCB-40) construct a bridge for RUSD Simeulue Hospital.


Elsewhere in Indonesia, 5,000 peaceful protesters assembled in Jakarta rallied against the Israeli attack on Lebanon. Comments by a protester clearly attribute the U.S. as ultimately responsible for the Israeli actions:
"The United Nations can't do anything about Israel's agression and the
United States unreservedly supports any action by the Zionist state," protestor Mohammad Sidiq told AFP (Antara)

Indonesia is potentially our best friend in the Islamic world, but the perception of America's endorsement of the disproportionate response (collective punishment) against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the deliberate targetting of the Lebanese government and civilians, is another dark mark on America's credibility on peace issues and human rights. Our actions in the past week including a U.N. Security Council veto on a resolution condemning Israel's invasion of Gaza, and a proposal to supply Israel with jet fuel at a time when Israel is dropping bombs on civilians in Lebanon are noted in the world press.

If rational people can not get control of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, they can at least get out in the streets and protest the violence being financed with our tax dollars, and state a strong preference for using our military capacity in humanitarian endeavors like the USNS Mercy tour in SE Asia and Oceania.


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