Thursday, January 06, 2005

America Is A Crusader Nation
A Tsunami
Of Compassion, Care, and Hope


I hope SomeGuy, over at Mystery Achievement doesn't mind, but I think his post from today is so excellent, I'm just going to lift the whole thing. If you start to read, and are interested, click over and read his site daily, it is thoughtful and full of information on a continual basis:

All you'll ever need to read about the catastrophe that has devestated South Asia (as it pertains to the moral and spiritual condition of the West) is found in two posts.Via The Anchoress, Varifrank recounts what deserves to be a historic moment in European-American diplomacy:

Today, during an afternoon conference that wrapped up my project of the last 18 months, one of my Euro collegues tossed this little turd out to no one in particular:"

See, this is why George Bush is so dumb, theres a disaster in the world and he sends an Aircraft Carrier..."

After which he and many of my Euro collegues laughed out loud.

And then they looked at me. I wasn't laughing, and neither was my Hindi friend sitting next to me, who has lost family in the disaster.

I'm afraid I was "unprofessional", I let it loose -"Hmmm, let's see, what would be the ideal ship to send to a disaster, now what kind of ship would we want?

Something with its own inexhuastible power supply?

Something that can produce 900,000 gallons of fresh water a day from sea water?

Something with its own airfield? So that after producing the fresh water, it could help distribute it?

Something with 4 hospitals and lots of open space for emergency supplies?

Something with a global communications facility to make the coordination of disaster relief in the region easier?

Well "Franz", us peasants in America call that kind of ship an "Aircraft Carrier". We have 12 of them. How many do you have? Oh that's right, NONE. Lucky for you and the rest of the world, we are the kind of people who share. Even with people we dont like. In fact, if memory serves,once upon a time we peasants spent a ton of money and lives rescuing people who we had once tried to kill and who tried to kill us.

Do you know who those people were? that's right Franz, Europeans.

The second is from The Diplomad (Hat tip: TechCentralStation), who reproduces a SITREP written by a Dutch official at an EU team meeting at one of the disaster sites:

The US military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They completely have taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but is now completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operation room, teams of doctors, water and food. Most of the patients who were lying in the hospital untreated for a week have undergone medical treatment by the US teams by this afternoon. US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organize the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport.

A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven't been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground. IOM staff (note: this is a USAID-funded organization) is very busy briefing the incoming Americans and Australians about the situation.

In the TCS article its author, Jay Currie, uses a parable of a broken-down car to make a startling point:

Donald Rumsfeld famously talked about "the Old Europe". At the time he was taken to mean the ponderous unwillingness to commit to the Iraqi project exhibited by the French and the Germans in particular. However, in retrospect, he was making a cultural observation of much broader implication.[...]

Between the "can do", "let's try it" world and the carefully measured, sophisticated, "precautionary principle" world there is a canyon sized chasm. One world is brash, the other timid. One world learns from its mistakes knowing it will make more, the other vows never to make a mistake again.

To extend Jay's analogy: One world still has faith in a God of love and grace to whom one's response of gratitude for same is expressed (in part) by good works as an integral part of its self-understanding. The other has faith in a yet-to-be-born utopia founded on atheistic humanism where neither love, nor grace, nor the forgiveness of sins is possible. In the former, even the avowed non-believer is capable of uncommon valor. In the latter, even the believer himself is too afraid to do what he knows he should.

I don't know what disaster befell Catholic Europe that led to this present state of affairs. But I have a naseous feeling in the pit of my stomach that the damage it has wrecked will be much harder to repair than what happened in South Asia on St. Stephen's Day.