Tuesday, October 11, 2005

THE HORROR CONTINUES to get worse in Asia. Over 30,000 people are now confirmed dead in Pakistan alone. One thousand in India. People in many areas are running out of food and water, and much of the region that was hit the hardest is extremely remote and inaccessible. It sure is easier to drop bombs in mountainous areas than it is to get life-saving relief aid to mountainous areas, isn't it?

Also, reports of looting have begun.

"They've lost everything. They have no clothes, no food, nothing," resident Asim Butt told Reuters. "People have started looting things from shops."

Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah! After Hurricane Katrina!

Here's Shakespeare's Sister's take on this:

I guess some of the buses carrying NOLA evacuees must have ended up in Muzaffarabad, because everyone knows that it's only wild-eyed negroes who do that sort of thing.

Oh -- this just in. Turns out the people in Pakistan are, like, starving and stuff after a natural disaster and delayed relief efforts. Huh. Maybe the people trapped in New Orleans after Katrina were just doing whatever they needed to survive. Gee.

Steve Clemons tells us that the U.S. has pledged $50 million to start with. Sounds like a lot of money. But considering that Congress just appropriated $50 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and that the total spending on Iraq and Afghanistan so far is $350 billion, $50 million is really very stingy. After all, we are the most prosperous country in the world, right? And the Bush administration is willing to give the Pentagon as many blank checks as it wants for the purpose of -- let's call a spade a spade -- killing people and blowing up their buildings. Right? So why would the U.S. pledge a paltry, measly $50 million to feed, clothe, house, and comfort people who have lost everything they had in life except the clothes on their backs?

Rightly or wrongly, many of the people who live in that part of the world think it has a lot to do with their nationalities, ethnicities, and religious traditions.

This is a world to which Americans must reconnect. Many muslims in the world are ambivalent about us -- and as one scholar told me recently, muslims don't believe that we value them as people and value their lives.

These quakes that have created such devastation in Kashmir, Pakistan and India -- are tragic -- and America should send as much of its machinery of support there to do something real for these people.

Or, we should not act surprised when the "war against terror" does not seem to be making a dent in terrorism.

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