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Waving goodbye to goodwill

One of the first big news stories I blogged about was last December's devastating Indian Ocean tsunami and the ensuing relief efforts.

The outpouring of aid from many nations was impressive, but in the days immediately after the tsunami hit, it was the U.S. military that played the most important role in getting relief and assistance to people who urgently needed it.

As the Associated Press reported on January 3:

A massive American military relief operation picked up steam on Monday with U.S. helicopters dropping off cartons of food aid in Sumatra and U.S. warships with 2,200 Marines arriving in the Malacca Straits to begin ferrying supplies to the tsunami-battered island.

...On Monday, the USS Bonhomme Richard and two other warships carrying a Marine expeditionary unit, dozens of helicopters and tons of supplies steamed into the Indian Ocean to join in relief operations off the hard-hit northwest coast of Sumatra.

...The ships are part of one of the largest U.S. military missions in Asia since the Vietnam War ended in 1975. The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and its battle group are operating off northern Sumatra, the hardest hit area, and U.S. airlift operations are being flown out of Utapao, a base in Thailand used to stage bombing missions in the Vietnam era.
At the time, some people thought America's actions might improve our standing in the Muslim world. John P. Howe, III, the CEO of aid group Project HOPE, wrote:
Today, a U.S. Navy ship sits off the coast of Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country with 240 million people. The ship Mercy doesn't bristle with armaments — it is alive with compassion. It serves as a floating hospital, with nearly 100 American civilian doctors and nurses onboard recruited by Project HOPE. All of them are volunteering their time to help care for the victims of the tsunami.

...Through a mission like this, we are saving lives, repairing families, and restoring the capacity of local medical providers to care for their fellow citizens. Equally important, we are showing the wary people of this region that Americans are thoughtful and caring.
But if Muslim goodwill toward the U.S. ever materialized as a result of the tsunami relief efforts, it is certainly gone now. A single false report of a desecrated Koran was all it took. Americans delivered thousands of tons of aid, and saved thousands of lives, but in the end, it counted for nothing. Or at least not enough to forestall violent riots and cries for a holy war against the United States.

When the next disaster strikes a Muslim nation, Americans will undoubtedly once again provide assistance, as we always do. But we should do so with the knowledge that our good deeds must be their own reward, for we shall receive no other.


Anonymous said...

It would be a mistake to let the MSM dictate to you the state of the Moslem mind vis-a-vis America. It is like when some group is protesting in Tokyo against America and CNN shows the few hundred protestors as if they represent the Japanese mind. Of course, the thousands walking by and thinking "losers" and "idiots" aren't shown.

It is the right thing to provide assistance and many are forever grateful. How many? More than the MSM want you to believe.  

Posted by bob

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bob. Although I didn't support the relief efforts for their utility in changing minds, the desperate human need was enough in my opinion, I am sure many in Indonesia remember.

There are children in Indonesia whose first, and most abiding, memory of America will be Marines helping out after the disaster. This will I believe make a difference for years to come. 

Posted by Dave Justus

Anonymous said...

So the U.S. military isn't satanic, lock, stock and barrell. They do some good along with the bad. So what. Some folks here at GB are so twisted, they want to say the "one false report of Koran abuse'' is what turned people against the U.S. Um, what cave do those folks live in? Firstly, the detentions and Gitmo are considered illegal by many and egregiously unjust by many, many others. Moreover, the abuses at Abu Ghraib are horrifying to all but the most cruelly myopic (like R. Limbaugh, who compared the perversions and fatal torture to "fraternity hazing.''). What sort of media world inspires people then to say antipathy toward the U.S. is stoked "by a single false report." What media ecosphere allows that kind of blatant balderdash to spread?? 

Posted by bunkerbuster



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