We are pleased to hear that our government’s initial relief response to the Asian tsunami of $35 million was not its last one. The natural disaster that occurred there last week is one of the deadliest on record. At this writing the death toll has surpassed 150,000, and no one is projecting with confidence how high that number eventually will climb, particularly with the likelihood of disease and other post-event threats still looming.
We don’t know whether recent announcements from the Bush Administration that the United States will be sending significantly more relief aid in the months ahead was a planned escalation, as it claims, or a response to criticism from the international community. But if the president sees this country as the leading force for good in our world, then we must demonstrate our commitment to compassion as well as enforcement.
Americans have historically been a giving people in times of crisis. This is our chance to prove to an increasingly skeptical global neighborhood that we still are. -DR