DATE: 12/29/2004 09:17:00 AM
Four Years Later - And the media still misses Bill Clinton. This article in the Washington Post revises and extends the comments by Jan Egeland of the United Nations regarding the stinginess of the United States. It throws a little Bush-bashing into the mix to boot:
Although U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland yesterday withdrew his earlier comment, domestic criticism of Bush continued to rise. Skeptics said the initial aid sums - as well as Bush's decision at first to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch for the Christmas holiday rather than speak in person about the tragedy - showed scant appreciation for the magnitude of suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work facing such nations as Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia.Yes, after a natural disaster of Biblical proportions, with their relatives lying dead around them and their cities destroyed, I'm sure the people of Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia were thinking 'what I really could use is a presidential proclamation of sorrow.' Read the rest of the article, though - try to find the "domestic criticism" of which the author speaks. Two people are quoted. One is Leslie H. Gelb, who has been a critic of the administration on the war. The other is an anonymous State official - the Washington Post's favorite kind of source.
Actions speak louder than words. President Bush has sent the military to the area, aid is already arriving and more is on its way. We have pledged millions as a government and people are giving more on their own.
Gelb's comments about impressing Muslims with the good we do in Indonesia ring false, given how the Muslim world has responded to our goodwill in the past. We rescued Muslims from tyranny in Iraq, saved them from ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kuwait and have provided assistance in countries like Somalia. If they haven't understood yet that we are a benevolent country, they never will. Maybe that should make people like Gelb understand that we're hated for reasons that have nothing to do with our actions - it's who we are, not what we do that makes us the enemy of radical Islam.
Personally, I think it's great that Bush doesn't participate in the lip-biting 'I feel your pain' empathy B.S. the media wants him to show. In this case, the American people seem to be responding quite well on our own. We don't need the president to feel for us.