The US has come under criticism along with other western nations by Jan Egeland of the UN and other entities like the New York Times (I know, old news). We all now have seen the images of US helicopters landing in remote, unvisited villages, the reports of $350 million in pledged aid and the outpouring of private gifts to disprove the above. RealClearPolitics highlighted the following quote from Charles Krauthammer that bears repeating. I tried compiling some of these statistics earlier, but this quote sums it all up:
"We are six percent or less of the world's population, yet we give almost half. We are a very small number of people, relatively speaking, and we carry the weight of a dozen countries. Secondly, we maintain a military structure that keeps the peace of the world.....Who is in the Indian Ocean with the aircraft carriers, helicopters, skilled personal? No one has the infrastructure in the world, we spend almost half a trillion dollars a year on our military structure, which is essentially the fire department of the planet and it is always at the disposal of people hit in a national disaster.....Incidentally on food aid, we give 60% of all the food aid in the world. It is simply irresponsible to talk about the U.S. as anything other than the most generous nation on the planet."
The devastation is very hard to comprehend. It amazes me that over 100 people died in Somalia, over 4,000 miles from the epicenter.
So many other blogs are covering this story so well that I was going to stay away from blogging on it. I saw former President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton on Larry King Live tonight. Their effort to raise the level of attention, long term, to the reconstruction endeavor is great.
If you haven't donated already, may I recommend World Vision to you. Prior to the tragedy they had over 3,200 people in the region. They can make immediate good use of your donation. My wife and I gave, and our prayers are with the survivors as they deal with massive devastation.
UPDATE: Mark Steyn has a wonderful commentary that sums up the above nicely.