It's good to be US

In the immediate aftermath of the Asian tsunami, the early words of the New York Times and Washington Post were not a plea to Americans to open up their pocket books and be generous to the afflicted. No, the tragedy was viewed as an immediate opportunity to criticize President Bush as being "slow to respond" by waiting several days to have a press conference to offer words of condolence. As if words could actually do something. Others carped that it was a lost opportunity to win back the affections of Muslims around the world.  Further whining was done by Jan Egeland of the U.N. about how stingy Western countries were and how American tax rates were to low. Even now, with every media communiqué we read regarding American's leading the effort in disaster relief, the remarks are prefaced by our slow initial response.

The reality should be clearly in focus now nine days after the disaster. The three most critical elements of a relief effort in a disaster of this magnitude are food, water and medicine. The people who are in place and delivering this relief are mostly from the United States. Within four days of the tragedy the United States had deployed off the coast of Indonesia the USS Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln is a Nimitz class carrier and has capabilities beyond the abilities of the United Nations or anyone else in the world. It can deliver electricity to light a major city and it can purify 400,000 gallons of water per day. It can provide an enormous mobile platform for any kind of operations.

The main outreach to the most decimated and remote regions is being done by the helicopters of the Lincoln. In addition, the Lincoln has an operating theater and hospital on board. This is only one ship. The Lincoln is accompanied by a main battle group of as many as 30 additional warships that have similar, although proportionally smaller, capabilities, along with food preparation facilities and supplies to feed tens of thousands. Perhaps the President didn't bother with public relations cheap talk because he was too busy mobilizing this tangible response.

Not only has the U.S stationed this awesome naval capability in the region, we have also responded with C—130 aircraft, which are the primary transports that the military uses in hauling goods. These aircraft, with their short runway capabilities, will be the primary workhorses in delivering relief directly to the affected areas. This hardware will be on the scene doing the lion's share of the work necessary to relieve the suffering going on in this region, while the UN officials streaming in focus on coordinating  (with each other) and ensuring that 24 hour room service will be available for jet—lagged UN officials staying at five star hotels.

Those hotels are expensive, so let's talk about the money. How dare Jan Egeland suggest that the United States is stingy! Nobody is even attempting to calculate the actual costs of the US military capabilities being deployed. Maintaining such a force, to be used when needed,  is an expense beyond the capability of any other country on earth. The American taxpayers provide this emergency relief every time it is needed and welcomed, and get in return mostly scorn and protest over our 'war—mongering.'

The additional money that will be provided directly to these countries and to relief agencies by both the government of the US and the average person through corporate and personal donations will be staggering. It won't be done because we want to curry favor with a particular religious group.  It will be done because Americans care about the people and the world we live in and because we are empathetic with those families who have lost loved ones. We respond to the need to alleviate human suffering.

When all is said and done, years from now Americans will look back with pride as to how we as a people responded to this tragedy. Other countries will be left to do some soul searching. After all, we have one actress in the country who has donated more money than some countries.

In the immediate aftermath of the Asian tsunami, the early words of the New York Times and Washington Post were not a plea to Americans to open up their pocket books and be generous to the afflicted. No, the tragedy was viewed as an immediate opportunity to criticize President Bush as being "slow to respond" by waiting several days to have a press conference to offer words of condolence. As if words could actually do something. Others carped that it was a lost opportunity to win back the affections of Muslims around the world.  Further whining was done by Jan Egeland of the U.N. about how stingy Western countries were and how American tax rates were to low. Even now, with every media communiqué we read regarding American's leading the effort in disaster relief, the remarks are prefaced by our slow initial response.

The reality should be clearly in focus now nine days after the disaster. The three most critical elements of a relief effort in a disaster of this magnitude are food, water and medicine. The people who are in place and delivering this relief are mostly from the United States. Within four days of the tragedy the United States had deployed off the coast of Indonesia the USS Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln is a Nimitz class carrier and has capabilities beyond the abilities of the United Nations or anyone else in the world. It can deliver electricity to light a major city and it can purify 400,000 gallons of water per day. It can provide an enormous mobile platform for any kind of operations.

The main outreach to the most decimated and remote regions is being done by the helicopters of the Lincoln. In addition, the Lincoln has an operating theater and hospital on board. This is only one ship. The Lincoln is accompanied by a main battle group of as many as 30 additional warships that have similar, although proportionally smaller, capabilities, along with food preparation facilities and supplies to feed tens of thousands. Perhaps the President didn't bother with public relations cheap talk because he was too busy mobilizing this tangible response.

Not only has the U.S stationed this awesome naval capability in the region, we have also responded with C—130 aircraft, which are the primary transports that the military uses in hauling goods. These aircraft, with their short runway capabilities, will be the primary workhorses in delivering relief directly to the affected areas. This hardware will be on the scene doing the lion's share of the work necessary to relieve the suffering going on in this region, while the UN officials streaming in focus on coordinating  (with each other) and ensuring that 24 hour room service will be available for jet—lagged UN officials staying at five star hotels.

Those hotels are expensive, so let's talk about the money. How dare Jan Egeland suggest that the United States is stingy! Nobody is even attempting to calculate the actual costs of the US military capabilities being deployed. Maintaining such a force, to be used when needed,  is an expense beyond the capability of any other country on earth. The American taxpayers provide this emergency relief every time it is needed and welcomed, and get in return mostly scorn and protest over our 'war—mongering.'

The additional money that will be provided directly to these countries and to relief agencies by both the government of the US and the average person through corporate and personal donations will be staggering. It won't be done because we want to curry favor with a particular religious group.  It will be done because Americans care about the people and the world we live in and because we are empathetic with those families who have lost loved ones. We respond to the need to alleviate human suffering.

When all is said and done, years from now Americans will look back with pride as to how we as a people responded to this tragedy. Other countries will be left to do some soul searching. After all, we have one actress in the country who has donated more money than some countries.