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Ben Franklin's bifocals December 31, 2004

Disaster in Relief?

As the old year comes to an end it is clear that the new one will present a unique opportunity for this great country. The disastrous tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean Basin the day after Christmas causing devastation that Richard Norton Smith accurately called "almost biblical" in scope needs no further description. The pictures below will serve better than any poor words could. Since a large Muslim country was among the hardest hit, we now have a chance to show the world, and the Islamic part of it in particular, how good and generous this nation can be in a time of need. The President talked the talk when he went on Arab TV after the Abu Ghraib disaster and described the American people as good and generous in nature. Now is the time to walk the walk, Mr. Bush.

After several days of silence, the President did finally make a public statement and promised more aid. He is now sending Colin Powell and his brother, the Governor of Florida, out to the devastated region. Perhaps someone will ask Jeb Bush how many billions in aid the State of Florida received in an election year following the devastating hurricane season of 2004. I know the $0.35 Billion that the US has pledged to the tsunami relief effort so far may be only a beginning, but it will be interesting to see how much we eventually commit to these devastated countries when there is no "battleground state" issue involved. The number will also likely be compared to the $20 Billion supplemental the Administration will ask Congress for shortly to finance the next increment of the Iraq War and Occupation.

tsunami coming in from sea
tsunami on shore tsunami breaking
tsunami people fleeing

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