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December 31, 2004


My apologies for the light blogging over the past week or so. I'm back on track now.

I just heard on the local news that six members of the Fairfax County Search and Rescue Team have left for one of the areas hit by the tsunami. This, mind you, from the ever so "stingy" United States. Although I haven't done the research to prove it, I'd be willing to bet good money that teams from all over the country are headed to areas damaged by the wave.

And by now many others have written about how, far from being stingy, we are quite generous in our aid. The points that I've heard made are along the following lines:

  • The initial $15 million pledge was just that; initial. More is sure to come. And, indeed, of this writing, President Bush has increased the amount to $350 million, and suggested that more may be on the way.
  • Direct food shipments are not taken into account in most of the calculations that purport to show that we do not contribute at the same level as other countries. In 2004 we will have provided $2.4 billion in food aid, cash, and other humanitarian relief.
  • Private aid is not counted in the figures usually cited, either. The U.S. is home to many charites that do good work around the world. Some send money or other needed items. Others send people to do work, usually through churches or organizations like the Peace Corps. One suspects that since these contributions are outside of the UN bureaucracy, and thus out of their control, they don't like them.
  • The U.S. military can and does provide resources that are simply unavailable elsewhere. the USS Abraham Lincoln Battle Group and other elements of the Seventh Fleet are headed for or are already in the area. They are carrying supplies and medical groups, and the helicopters to effectively distribute them.
  • The U.S. has set up a special coalition of nations to provide aid. They are, besides us, Australia, India, and Japan. Predicatably, a former UN bureaucrat, more concerned with her buddies losing their jobs than worrying about the victims of the tsunami, has cried foul. (hat tip lgf)
These are things that we often don't get credit for. But enough review of what you already know. All of these are good and true. And it's necessary to state them again and again.

I'd just like to add two more things we should get credit for but do not, things that I haven't seen yet elsewhere:

  • We have imposed a sort of pax Americana over the world that works to benefit all right-thinking people. The cost for this is enormous. And, contrary to what the lefties and assorted anti-America types of the new Fifth Column say, our military power does work to advance the values that we hold so dear.
This second is only partially tongue-in-cheek:
  • That we have to put up with all of the incessant complaining, bitching, moaning, whining, griping, gnashing of teeth, and just plain out anti-Americanism of so many around the world, especially western Europe and the UN, has got to count for something. We've even been blamed for the tsunami. The Brits to this day are derided as "imperialists!", yet their navy single-handedly ended the slave trade that was prevalent throughout much of the world(for which they get no credit, of course), and at no benefit to themselves. Like them, we will just have to shoulder our burden, and do what we know to be right.
Now go have a Happy New Year.

Posted by Tom at December 31, 2004 6:21 PM

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