Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Politicizing the Tsunami

The death toll in the wake of the tsunamis that hit southeast Asia may rise above 100,000. The number is just staggering. Think back to 9/11, and the horror you felt (assuming you were horrified) as those two towers in south Manhattan came tumbling down. Now imagine that instead of just two buildings collapsing, there were sixty. Or imagine that you turned on the television and watched a WTC-sized building full of people collapse once every five minutes . . . for five hours straight.

Earlier this week we were told by a UN official that the US was being "stingy" in its proposed tsunami relief package, which currently stands at $35 million. Instead, we should just raise our taxes in order to help. The UN apparently doesn't acknowledge aid from private charities like World Vision. Aid must come from the federal government (i.e., taxes) to count.

As if that wasn't a stupid enough, then we were told that the disaster was the result of global warming. In other words, it's the fault of the industrialized West; or in global-speak, the fault of the United States, since major polluters like China apparently get a pass because they're still "developing" and Europe gets a pass because they're oh-so-socialist.

How long before we learn that this is all George Bush's fault?

Last night on Hannity and Colmes, Nancy Skinner tied everything up with one big bow of blame, saying that if we weren't spending money on the military in Iraq, we'd have enough money to help. (Yep. It's George Bush's fault) After doing all they could to politicize the tsunamis, Colmes and Skinner blamed conservatives for politicizing the event by using it to attack the UN. (Sometimes I wish Fox News would post transcripts of its shows. I hope someone got it, because it was a real telling hour of television. All I can find is this anti-Fox News, lefty-skewed version of events.)

Is it just me, or do these lefties always blame the right for the very things they do themselves ?

So how much aid is enough? At this point it's still too early to know exactly what is needed, but the US is doing all it can to help. In the coming days and weeks, further assessment will make clear how to better direct funds, supplies, and "boots on the ground." The US is always first in line to commit aid to disaster relief efforts. But it's never enough for some people.

Allow me to get geeky for a moment.

One of the better episodes of Star Trek: Voyager involved an encounter with a group of refugees who ask the captain for supplies. She agrees to help them. But they soon discover that Voyager is a lot more advanced than they realized. Before the end of the episode they're reduced to extortion, threatening to destroy the ship unless they get more supplies.

Sound similar? "You're the United States!" cries the global left. "You should increase taxes on your citizens until we've decided that we have extorted enough money from you. You should give all your money to us so that we can begin global redistribution of wealth" (right after we skim 85% off the top to line our own pockets).

More: Lileks offers this stinging rebuke to those whose environmental policies eclipse their sympathy.

I wonder if those who rooted for hurricanes also muttered an “attaboy” for tsunamis. Same idea, after all. Earth striking back against all that tacky development. Settling scores. Nature got some of its own back. Gaia's stern rebuke against building resorts that employ people to wait on bored Swedes instead of . . .well, doing whatever they would be doing otherwise. Preferably something that was nice and non-impactful, like growing jute to make the backings for those nice carpets they weave, the ones with the clever patterns. Marsha got one from Thailand, and it's perfect for the foyer, such a pity to think what happened to the people who made it. Makes you almost want to walk around the carpet for a week. Out of respect. Do they grow jute? Or does it come out of the ground or something? Anyway. Build a resort on an ocelot habitat and these things happen. Pass the butter.


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