Sad news after the Christmas Season
This week has not been full of good news. The biggest issue of course is the Tsunami disaster in Asia. The last count I saw was 115,000 dead. This is not necessarily unprecedented as far as number of lives lost, although it is one of the worst, but it is unprecedented in the vast geographical scope of the disaster. Please make sure you donate to some of the relief funds. My wife and I donated to the Red Cross using Amazon.com's home page and it was very easy, but whether you donate to them or someone else, please just donate.
We also need to encourage our President to do more. It took him days to publicly offer any kind of condolence, since he was so busy on his vacation in Crawford Texas. His initial offers of aid were phenomenally small. He has now pledged 35 million dollars in aid, which might sound reasonable, but remember we have spent 200 billion (that is 200,000 million) on the war in Iraq. It seems to me that it would be a public relations boon for the U.S. to spend all we can to assist the mostly Muslim victims of this disaster, instead of only spending money on killing (sorry, liberating) Muslims.
Fortunately Americans (and millions more around the world) are stepping up and offering help on their own, and I am hoping you will too.
The other sad news this week is from Iraq, where hundreds more have been killed in military action, suicide bombings and executions. We are only one month away from the elections, and it will be a miracle if they go well. I hate finding myself in this kind of a position, but I really hope that the election goes well, even though it will be a victory for Bush. The Iraqi people have suffered enough from our actions.
Take Fallujah. One of the most famous quotes from the Vietnam war was from an army officer: "Well Sir.. We had to destroy the village to save it." I think this applies fairly well to Fallujah. The city simply doesn't exist any more, there are no citizens living there, it is just a pile of rubble which is continually being fought over by our troops and the insurgents. Civilians who recently tried to return simply gave up and went back to their refugee camps, vowing they would never return. They say their homes are destroyed, and there is nothing left.
Well done! Is this our new strategy? Simply destroy every Iraqi city until the people are all in refugee camps? I know that the U.S. military will say that it is not their fault, they were only liberating the city from the foreign terrorists and insurgents, but they know that the majority of the fighters in Fallujah were Iraqis. While these Iraqis may be the enemy, they are fighting to defend their homes from an occupying power. They are rebels fighting for self determination (at least in their own minds). While the country would be far better off with a solid democracy and being out from under Saddam's boot heel, we have no guarantee that this will be the final outcome. Far more likely at this point is a Shiite dominated religious government similar to that in Iran. So if you are a secular Sunni, I can understand 100% why you wouldn't be too happy with the idea of U.S. backed elections.
It is just so sad that our soldiers and the Iraqi people are dying in record numbers, all because we were misled about the threat that Iraq posed to us. Remember this war did not start in order to liberate Iraqis. It started because they were going to give Nukes to Al Qaida who was going to use them on our cities. Oh how far we have come.
So what is the ray of light? The ray of light in this situation is what you can do yourself. You can support our brave troops who are in an intolerable situation, placed there by their commander in chief. You can give generously to relief agencies who are doing miraculous work in Asia, Africa and Iraq. You can get involved, and help people understand the realities of our world. You can do something.