January 06, 2005
Dori Monson Tells It
Osama in the Midst of Tragedy
Dori Monson, King of Mid-day Talk in the Northwest on KIRO710-AM, can be counted on to have the words to tell the real story - and if not, then finds the picture that tells a thousand words.
As he does with this Getty Images photograph that tells us exactly where the challenge lies for our country (and the world), showing an Osama bin Laden tee shirt worn by a Tsunami survivor. Is he thinking 'where are you now, al Qaeda?', while looking at that victim?
As Americans, we can play a role in his mindset going forward from this moment. Which is an opportunity so unlike what we have had for over three years...
So incredibly symbolic, this photograph, undoubtably taken in Indonesia (verified by the license plate on the vehicle in the photo), links in our minds the issue between humanitarian aid and the war on Islamo-Facist terror.
It seems very strange to say it: This Tsunami event, tragic as it is, is the greatest opportunity for our country since 9/11, which is exactly what National Public Radio is reporting tonight.
We should all be giving thanks for the U.S. Navy and wonderful northwest-based groups like World Vision - because they are coming through for us, and 'get it' about the challenge. Indonesia is the most populace Muslim nation on the planet, India is number two. If ever there was a moment in human history for intersection of the terms "benevolent" "hegemony" and "humanitarian" - well, this is it. And it is happening, in the form of Navy Seahawk helicopters coming from the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, which thanks to this column from Michelle Malkin, has begun to receive credit for the crucial work being done to save thousands of lives.
Posted by P. Scott Cummins at January 06, 2005
08:45 PM | Email This
1. It is true that the aid being provided by the US should help our relations with the world. However, I heard on the news today that the religious leaders in Indonesia are telling the people that God sent the Tsunami to punish the foreigners in the country. It is starting to sound like some of the spin the Democrats would use.
2. No matter what we do, it's not going to change the way Muslims feel about the U.S. We could double our money again, and they wouldn't care. Not only are our relief efforts--no matter how extensive, or expensive--going to be ignored, but the Muslim community has gone so far as to start a rumor that the U.S. caused the earthquake with nuclear testing. Trying to win the "PR war" is futile.
I keep waiting for someone to ask what and how much aid Osama is sending to these devastated countries. If Patty Murray is to be taken seriously, we have to believe that he builds infrastructure, schools and hospitals. Therefore, shouldn't he be financing the rebuilding effort? If all he's sending is t-shirts, Jan Eggeland should be calling him stingy, not us.
We don't speak the language nor do we have the contacts necessary to play a PR game here. We have neither access nor a voice.
Having said that, we are doing the right thing, in conjunction with the other countries in providing aid and relief. It's the right thing to do when a neighbor is hurting, regardless of whether they love us or not. And having been through the Middle East/Far East/Near East a bit, I am confident that 1) the people who desire aid are appreciative, 2) those of a belief that honors those who give willingly see goodness in us, and 3) it's the right thing to do. Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddist, Shinto, it doesn't matter. All can appreciate those who come to the aid of a neighbor in a time of crisis, politics and agendas be condemned.
This is direct contrast to Restore Hope, our operations in Somalia which I was priveleged to be a participant in from day one. This is a multi-country natural disaster where the local politics is secondary. We shouldn't have been in Somalia, but I am proud that my former shipmates are out there, helping in every way they can in this disaster.
Sure, we've seen the video from the HSL squadrons dropping food and water in devastated areas. The desperation and appreciation of the locals having a dirty grey helicopter in their midst. The fatigue on the faces of the aircrew as they try to deliver relief while keeping the aircraft and civilians safe. It's heartening.
What we haven't seen on the news are the other efforts that go in. I saw a series of photos that detailed an operation to fill collapsible containers with water out of the Lincoln's supply. A custom built rig of pipes and faucets that created a production line of filling the bottles, with no lack of people on the working party to do the work. I'll guarantee you that extra clothing, food, stores all are being airlifted off to people who need it. The ship is no doubt cutting showers to an absolute minimum to ensure the maximum water is available to ship off. You didn't see any of that in the news, but it's happening.
All this from a crew that left on a four month casual cruise throughout the Pacific, taken from their Christmas liberty on the Asian landmass. They are the folks on the scene, and are doing an admirable job. It's the right thing to do.
Maybe on some level people will see those American flags, see US marked on the MREs, and somehow find themselves a little bit thankful that we are around. It would be nice. Even if that's not the case, we're still around and are willing to step in the next time. And the time after that.
That's just what we do.
5. I think they will still hate us, because America is always hated in spite of its enormous ongoing generosity (perhaps even because of it, in a wierd way). I never harbor hopes that 'being liked' can be bought. But it doesn't really matter, because the generosity we show is simply the right thing to do, and we'll keep on doing it for that very reason (hated or not).
Excellent comments SeaHag and Michele. No way to improve on what you've said.
P. Scott Cummins, this is an excellent post.
The man in his Osama T-Shirt also illustrates the total ignorance of most of the population in heavily muslim controlled nations.
The situation also illustrates just how outnumbered radical Islam is in fighting the US. Whole groups of radical islam were wiped out by the tsunami. That could never happen in the US, save for a direct hit of a massive meteor in the middle of the country. And even then, we'd have much of our military abroad.
The US has more than enough resource to simultaneously bail out a large portion of the world as we do in so many ways, ways that go far beyond the tsunami, and at the same time, wage war on the irrationalism that is radical Islam.
Our capacity to do right is breathtaking. Hopefully the US Military will save so many of the innocents in Indonesia just as it is saving so many of the innocents in Iraq.
Helping others is the right thing for individuals to do -- is it the right thing for our government to do on our behalf?
There is a famous speech by Davy Crockette that points out that giving money to charity that was extracted by force for the purposes of running our government is not exactly kosher.
I happen to believe that this is STILL the case.
Quote: "Mr. Speaker — I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it.
We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money..."
Right on, Sarah otu and all the other posters doubting that we can buy popularity and questioning the right of the govt to take our money and give it away in our name.
Point #2 - India is a mainly Hindu nation, not Muslim. Please, people, let's try to get our religions and nations right! Some big shot talk show guy made a similar mistake. There is a HUGE difference between Hindus and Muslims!!!
India is the nation on this planet with the second largest population of Muslims, Indonesia has the highest. There are almost no Indian Muslims within al Qaeda. India has something to teach us about tolerance within a broad spectrum of faith and culture.
India is a majority Hindu country. But there is enormous diversity within that faith as well. There are substantial populations of Buddhists and Sikhs as well.
May I suggest www.cia.gov for you to review?
11. The people in the picture don't look like most of the Indonesians I've seen. Where in Indonesia was the picture taken, maybe Irian Jaya(New Guinea)? I didn't think that area was hit by the Tsunami. This is probably some other area that is home to an ethnic/racial minority.