Terrible End to 2004
After a hiatus from posting, I'm back in 2005. So much has happened in the last two weeks, I don't even know what to say about it. Watching and reading coverage of the tsunami is beyond comprehension as the death toll rolls upward at an unbelievable pace. When numbers get that big, they really don't mean anything to me. So the deficit is currently $7,546,103,668,294? Might as well be a bajillion gazillion dollars to me. I just can't wrap my brain around figures that high. But when I hear the number of fatalities from this disaster, and when I realize that the death toll is only going to rise as disease festers in the wake of the initial waves, I feel horrible that I can't begin to fathom such a scale of death.
Senator Richard Lugar (R) said today that US aid for the crisis may reach the billions. I can only hope he wasn't speaking incorrectly on the matter. I understand -- albeit only slightly -- the complexities of the US budget, and I realize that the gap between congressional sessions is the worst time to allot large sums of money, but we need to give all we can to help those in need.
It always strikes me as supremely sadistic that those with the least always seem to get hit the worst when nature strikes. During the American hurricane season, it's usually the trailer parks and low-income areas that are devastated; the AIDS epidemic, though a serious problem world-wide, is most catastrophic in the poorer African nations; and of course, many of the Indonesian areas completely destroyed by the tsunami are the least equipped to deal with such a massive disaster.
I hope, in addition to financial assistance, that the US can dispatch troops to the more remote areas that in some cases have yet to be reached by emergency response teams. If our government is content to be the world's police, we should agree to serve as the world's EMT as well. America has now pledged the entirety of its foreign disaster assistance budget, but it is still only 1.75% of the money budgeted for the war in Iraq.
I may not comprehend spectacularly large numbers as well as others, but I believe the federal aid for hurricane-stricken areas on the Atlantic coast was in excess of $4 billion. Indonesians don't vote in American elections, but they deserve to be helped as if they did. Any nation with the means -- be they American or Arabic, European or Asian -- must do their part in this disaster.
This is something you smash the piggy bank for.
Labels: US Policy