October 09, 2005

30,000 and Rising

Pakistan is suffering through one of the most destructive earthquakes in world history. When the dust clears, there will be tens of thousands dead, including many, many children. Lacking sophisticated tools, Pakistanis are forced to dig out their loved ones with their bare hands. And that is just in the disputed area of Kashmir. Hundreds more have perished in India and Afghanistan.

Pakistan is the home of a good deal of militant Islamic fundamentalists, including many members of Al Qaeda, no doubt many of which perished in the disaster. It destroyed one of the most volatile areas in the world; Pakistan and India have nearly come to nuclear war over the area of Kashmir, fueling the fires of Jihad. The area that was destroyed housed several terrorist training areas, and waas home, briefly, to Osama bin Laden.

We have no reason to feel sorry for them. We have no reason to pay for them to dig out their dead, to offer our American dollars for medical supplies, to send our doctors and our emergency workers, and later our engineers to rebuild the primitive mud-brick buildings.

That's not what they would be doing for us.

After all, if the situtations were reversed, if a 7.6 earthquake had destroyed San Francisco, there would be parties in the streets of Palestine. Muslim clerics the world over would proclaim the earthquake a "Messenger of God" sent to smite the infidels. The disaster would be praised as a member of Muhammed's army, a Jihadist of the first degree, a hero to those who desire the destruction of the Western world. Every dead person would be another enemy wiped out by Allah.

If the situations were reversed, many of those lying beneath the rubble today would be kissing the ground in celebration of the bloodshed.

But the United States is not the Muslim world.

Immediately upon hearing of the disaster, we wired over $100,000. George Bush has pledge to help Pakistan "in any way we can." The US military, the most frequent targest of terrorist attacks, is assisting in the relief effort. We've pledged helicopters, aid, and troops. The American Red Cross is headed over, as is the Salvation Army. The USA Freedom Corps is on its way. American Express is collecting money, and bloggers are begging for donations. Tomorrow morning, as the Street opens for the week, major American companies will donate to the effort, probably in excess of a million dollars before the day is out. If the American people have money left after the Katrina effort, they too will pledge a few dollars, buy a rubber bracelet, or express their sympathy to their television sets.

In fact, they are expecting it. The country that many of their own people hate, is the first country to which they turn for help. Its the right thing to do, they say, to help them. The biggest country on the block has an obligation to take care of the weak ones. And we know it.

There is a lot to be said for a country that declares war on an enemy, but spares no expense in assisting the countries that harbor their enemy in times of extreme need. We did it in Indonesia, we will do it in Pakistan. And we will do it with a smile on our face, not because we want to, but because, although the United States happens to be that kind of guy.

Remeber this moment the next time your friendly neighborhood hippie tells you that somehow the Americans brought the wrath of fundamentalist Islam upon themselves by being an arrogrant, powerful nation. Remember this moment the next time Air America blames America.

It would be so easy, at this moment, to say, turn over Osama bin Laden, or no American dollar will cross your borders, and no American hands will aid in your recovery efforts.

It would be so easy, at this moment, to condition our aid, to hold the generosity and benevolence of this country hostage to the destruction of terrorist training camps or the dismanteling of Al-Jazeera sattlites.

It would be so easy, at this moment, to chalk up the death and destruction to the wrath of a god who has chosen sides in a religious war, who has chosen to smite those who do not live according to his will, to rain despair upon those who seek to destroy his chosen people, and who seeks to set an example of hatred for his followers.

Instead, at this moment, in a time of need, the United States offeres comfort to our enemy. In our time of need, our enemy laughed at our wounds and praised this nations pain. In a time of need, the United States offers our hands, our money, our sympathy, and our love. In a time of need, our enemy crowned a hurricane a private in their terrible god's army.

That is why we fight this war. That is why we will win this war. That is why all of us should be proud to live in this country, to fight for this country, and why all of us should be grateful to be citizens of this country.

Because we are a great country. Whether we happen to realize it or not.

Cross-posted at Posted by E. M. Zanotti at October 9, 2005 05:24 PM


Very good blog and passionate article:

Alas, as a once wide-eyed Peace Corps volunteer in the '60's, I much rue that all our goodwill and money and blood devoted in that region (South America as well) will scarcely change or turn enough hearts and minds there to make a true difference in how they regard us; as being an overindulgent, selfish (yes!) immoral oppressor which deserves every iota of misfortune and divine wrath would be wished for. The incredible silence by the leaders of the Islamic world -- even the lack of vehement public condemnation towards terrorism by Islamic communities here at home, bodes ill for our battle for "hearts and minds." (Bad enough the hypocritical woman's movements in the the free world are as quiet about their sisters in the Muslim world being enslaved again!) Their hatred for us is ingrained by their faith, not philosophy or ideology, so it's not going to phase out like communism or fascism. Even if the Iraq experiment falls, it will be in the long run a vital heads up for us to start shoving oil wells in with the reindeer and gear up more nuclear plants so we can fortify Israel and as totally as possible pull out of that can of worms of a region and let them manage all their affairs themselves, socially as well as humanitarian. They can damn well afford it and we shouldn't feel guilty-bound in not contributing lions' shares anymore. We've been sending Care packages around the world for well over fifty years now -- which is a failure of its whole purpose if you think about it.
So no, I don't believe we can win the vital majority of hearts necessary over there to turn fists and WOMDs away from us. I think it will have to take for NY or Washington to be vaporized by a terrorist nuke surreptitiously passed them by Iran and witnessing the resultant partying and celebrations in many regions of the world to have us realize and hard-swallow that fact that there's a big difference between being Good Samatarians and suckers.

James Greenidge

Posted by: James Greenidge at October 9, 2005 10:58 PM

YES! I wanted to blog about this too but will refer readers to here and your own blog. THANK YOU!!!!

Posted by: The Gray Tie at October 10, 2005 01:30 PM