Thursday, March 17, 2011

Obama Administration Displays Breathtaking Hubris Toward Japan - UPDATED

How unbelievably arrogant is this, reported by Scarecrow of FDL?

You would think that the US would be bending over backwards to provide whatever help the Japanese request or need but without presuming to suggest that we know better than they how to handle a situation that has gone well beyond previous events and experience and off the charts when one checks the “what should you do if” manual. 

Yet there was Chairman Jaczko, head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission telling Congress with certainty that all the cooling water in Unit 4′s spent fuel storage pool was gone and that given the extreme levels of radiation, evacuations should expand to about 50 miles. [About 80km - ed.] That was bad enough.

The Chairman did not explain how the US had superior or different information from the information the Japanese officials have been providing. One can draw an inference from the fact that the temperature levels reported for the storage pool, while elevated on Tuesday were not available on Wednesday. Did that mean there was no water to measure? We don’t know. 

Far worse, however, was the anonymous statement given to ABC from an unnamed White House (or senior) official, presuming to tell the Japanese that they face a long and dire future:
“It would be hard to describe how alarming this is right now,” ABC quoted the anonymous official as saying. . . .
“They need to stop pulling out people — and step up with getting them back in the reactor to cool it. There is a recognition this is a suicide mission,” the unnamed U.S. official was quoted by ABC as saying.
Jeebus... and not even for attribution to a source.

"We are the United States of America, and we know more about everything in the world than everyone else in the world. Pay attention to what we say, and obey us when we tell you to send people to die," our government did not say, but may as well have said. Whatever happened to a simple, direct offer of whatever help we can offer? The Obama administration's response sounds so... Republican...

This is shameful behavior on the part of the U.S., contributing not one iota to the solution of a problem no one has ever had before. If Japan does not say in diplomatese, "Just STFU," we will be fortunate.

UPDATE (morning of 3/17): quite apart from the Obama administration's arrogance, there really does seem to be a problem of leadership in Japan, making a bad situation worse. David Dayen of FDL has ths story.

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