Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Samantha Power's Motorcade 60 MPH Hit and Run: What Is a Little Boy's Life Worth In The Great Scheme Of US Foreign Policy?

In April,  Obama appointee UN Ambassador Samantha Power's speeding entourage hit and killed 7-year-old Birwe Toussem at 60 mph on a two lane road in rural Africa - and did not stop because it was "too dangerous". Her staff didn't bother to tell her about it until after they reached their destination. She did return after wrapping up the day's photo-op meetings, at a more leisurely pace of 25 mph. And promised his family she would "compensate them for their loss"

Now, we learn that her idea of compensation was probably less than the rest of her expenses totaled for that single day of her "humanitarian" trip:  $10,000, two cows, and a truck load of USDA "Commodities".

McClatchy DC reports today:
"State Department officials said the cash payment was 1 million Central African francs, roughly $1,700. Cameroon's GDP per person is about $1,300.
"Cameroon's government, aid organizations operating in the area and the U.N. — which also had officials in the convoy — contributed another 5 million francs, bringing the total cash payout to more than $10,000.
"In addition to money, officials said the U.S. government provided a pair of cows; hundreds of kilograms of flour, onions, rice, salt and sugar; and cartons of soap and oil. Still to come: A well that will provide the village with fresh drinking water.
"State Department spokesman Jeffrey Loree called it a "compensation package commensurate with local custom, as well as the needs of the family and village."
The BBC reported on the incident in April:
"Ms Power's motorcade was moving at a fast speed when the sixth vehicle in it hit the boy after he darted on to the two-lane highway near the small city of Mokolo, the Associated Press news agency reports.
"The vehicle that struck the boy stopped, but was then ordered by US security forces to continue travelling through the unsecured area, AP reports.
"Ms Power later met children at a camp for people who fled attacks by Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in the region. "All of you who are attempting to fight this terror, the United States stands with you,'' she said, AP reports.
"Boko Haram is the most dangerous militant group in the region."

The UK's Independent is very blunt:
"The news agency said the motorcade was traveling at speeds of more than 60 mph, while villagers lined up along the sides of the road.  ....
"The vehicle that hit the boy initially stopped but was ordered by American security forces to continue traveling through the unsecured area. An ambulance in the US caravan immediately attended to him.
 "......The motorcade moved at a significantly slower pace for the rest of the day. "

Even the NYT notes the convoy used a safer speed "for the rest of the way" :
 "Ms. Power was not informed of the accident until after she arrived in Mokolo for her first meeting, with a local official.  ...[After the day's meetings concluded, Power returned to the scene of the accident.] Mr. Cooper said her security officials had balked at returning to the village, but Ms. Power had insisted, saying, “I’m going.”
"This time when the convoy arrived in the village, there were no laughing and waving children running on the side of the road. Instead, hundreds of villagers, surrounded by dozens of black-clad Cameroonian soldiers, stood near the road, staring stone-faced at the motorcade.
"The vehicles, engines idling, sat on the road for 30 minutes as Ms. Power went in to pay her respects to the boy’s parents.
"When she got back in her car, the convoy resumed its journey. For the rest of the way, it continued at a speed of about 25 miles per hour."

Why did I mention above that Samantha Powers is an Obama appointee? Because her response to this incident reflects the callous disregard of this Administration in general for principles of common decency, and a complete failure to learn and apply lessons from history.

Yes, she did return after learning about it, but we see no sign that she considered it more than the proverbial "tragic accident". Her only statement about it has been  to say at the time that "...she learned of the death with "great sorrow." She said she met with the boy's family to "offer our profound condolences and our grief and heartbreak."

Nothing to admit that these speeding convoys of armored vehicles have no business tearing through rural villages on roads lined with the very people they are supposed to help at speeds that would be illegal in the US.  Nothing to admit that driving away after running over a human being is morally reprehensible, and a felony in most US states. Do she and her team have "Diplomatic Immunity" for doing something that in America carries as much as 15 years in jail  and treble damages in civil claims?  American soldiers are prosecuted , by either local courts or US Military courts, for leaving the scenes of accidents in foreign countries, and face jail regardless of fault or even if they were unaware of the accident.

Throughout Donald Trump's life and career are story after story of him responding immediately to help when he sees something happening: stopping his limo to confront a mugger or sending his own plane to transport a sick child. We still see this during the campaign, with CNN reporting that  Mr Trump :
" completely stopped his speech after a woman in the crowd fainted.
"Is she OK?" a stern-faced Trump inquired multiple times, in addition to calling for a doctor and demanding his aides get the woman a glass of water.
"We love our people, we've got to take care of our people," Trump said. "Who cares, we'll hold it for a couple of minutes."
...."After a couple of minutes passed, the woman gave Trump the OK to continue. Trump told the woman to rest backstage and to return for the end of the speech.
"And if she wants me to stop, I'll stop on a dime."
I just have a feeling that President Trump would expect his appointees to follow the same rules in other countries that he would expect them to follow here: the same for everybody.

UPDATE: Thanks to Bill Quick over at Daily Pundit for the link!

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