Reading the reports of the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami that swept ashore and killed thousands of people in southern Asia, I felt a curious sensation I couldn't quite describe. Later on, I realized what it had been: The news reports were describing a major international disaster -- and not one of them blamed George W. Bush.
It's gotten to the point where I reflexively expect that the media will link anything bad happening to George W. Bush. Poverty, global warming, terrorism, the return of Pauly Shore -- they're all Bush's fault.
So imagine my surprise when I found the news stories about the earthquake to be 100% Bush-free. Apparently, the quake was simply a natural disaster that, believe it or not, was not caused by Dubya, the neocon conspiracy, or even Karl Rove, for that matter.
I should have known it would prove too good to last.
This post by Tim Blair alerts us to the reactions of Sydney Morning Herald readers. According to them, Bush is responsible for either the quake itself, the destruction it caused, or both. Below, I include a few, along with my responses.
A pity our army is busy fighting America's immoral war when they should be providing assistance to the affected areas. -- Shane ArnoldActually, Shane, an army's primary purpose is to fight wars, or, through a show of strength, to deter enemies from fighting. (That's why they get all those cool guns.) An army is not a national rescue organization.
As to the issue of morality, was removing Saddam -- the immediate tangible outcome of the war -- immoral? Do you have any condemnation left for the "insurgency" with its suicide bombers, beheadings of innocent relief workers, and intentional mass-murder of Iraqi citizens? Or have you spent all your anger on the forces that are trying to make a free Iraq possible?
These divine winds show that the Gods are displeased with the world's state of affairs. -- Tomoyuki YamashitaYamashita-san, thanks for contributing the least intelligent comment of the day. Living in the 21st century, I prefer to think that the quake was the result of plate tectonics, not an angry God. (Or Gods, as you put it. Are we talking Shinto spirits here, Buddha himself, or what? Buddha doesn't seem like the vengeful type. Work out your theological worldview and get back to me.)
Second, if "the Gods" are displeased with "the world's state of affairs", why did they take out their anger on poor little Sri Lanka? Why not go after the big dogs?
Finally, I thought good liberals like yourself (apparently) are supposed to decry the creeping influence of religion in American politics. You're not helping the cause when you argue that we should design our foreign policy to keep God(s) happy.
This latest tragic disaster should open all our eyes to the fact that the world seems to already have its "hands full" coping with seemingly ongoing natural disasters rather than creating such man-made disasters as we have contributed to in Iraq. -- Wayne GregorySure, Wayne, Iraq under Saddam was heaven on earth before America got involved. Your comment reminds me of what Chris Rock said about people complaining that crack is destroying the ghetto: "Yeah, like the ghetto was so nice before crack." The analogy falters, however, because America is actually working every day, fighting against a vicious, nihilist "insurgency", to turn Iraq into a better place.
Second, you talk about the world having its hands full coping with natural disasters. It would be more accurate to say that certain countries have failed to prepare adequately for natural disasters, because they take it for granted that more advanced, wealthier nations like America will rush to their aid. Maybe if the countries hit by the tsunami had had warning systems in place to minimize damage and save lives, "the world" wouldn't have its hands so full with the aftermath. Instead, we learn from the Guardian News Service that:
"[a]n early warning system that could have saved thousands of lives lost in the devastating tsunamis that swept around the rim of the Indian Ocean yesterday was talked about but not acted on by governments in the region."For its part, America seems to take care of itself every time it's hit by disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes. (Heck, Wayne, some of our recent disasters have even been man-made.) Somehow, the world never seems to have its hands all that full with America's problems.
Don't expect a genuinely compassionate response from the U.S. Government, as a "war on earthquakes" will not be as profitable as good ol' terrorism -- Nick LovedayYamashita-san's comment was simply irrelevant, but yours, Nick -- yours is actually in conflict with existing, provable fact. America has already pledged to give "all appropriate assistance" to the nations worst hit by the eathquake, and U.S. relief efforts are underway in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
This should not come as a big surprise; after all, we've done it before.
At the same time, it's a never-ending source of amusement to listen to critics of the war simultaneously argue that (1) it's costing America way too much, and (2) Bush started the war to enrich America by stealing Iraqi oil. Which is it?
That's enough for now. But if an asteroid ever hits the earth, it will be interesting to watch Bush get blamed for that, too.
The death toll from the various tsunami has now topped 21,000.