|Column Archives||Biography||Books/CDs||Publishing Info||Opt In/Out||Feedback||Home|
|Though They Hate Us, We Will Help||
In the aftermath of the shocking natural disaster across southeast Asia, the United States has, as it has always done, led the global effort by providing the largest amount of financial aid to the affected countries. Yet, Americans are called "stingy." Granted, the United Nations official who made this statement later recanted it; however, the charge was leveled and continues to resound around the world.
Enemies of America and enemies of President Bush have jumped on this phantom bandwagon. Now we hear, in various mutations, baseless attacks generally along the lines of, "The United States hasn't done enough to help," and "President Bush doesn't care about the suffering of people." Some have even implied that America is to blame for the disaster in the first place!
Facts are ignored. Bias is believed.
Leonard Pitts, a writer for the Miami Herald, addressed this phenomenon this week in his article, "You've Got Your Truth, I've Got Mine."
"We like to see ourselves as principled types who sift the facts before forming an opinion," Pitts writes. "But for most of us, this is pure poppycock. We are perfectly willing to ignore any fact that contradicts what we believe."
We are seeing this disregard for facts in the propaganda and politicization surrounding the disaster relief. The United States will provide more aid to the Muslim countries impacted by the tsunamis than any other country, yet most Muslims will continue to hate us. The United States will provide more expertise than any other nation, yet some in Europe and Canada will still insist we are holding back resources. The United States will contribute its military might to deliver critical supplies to people in need, yet American liberals and their comrades in the left-wing media will continue to loathe our fighting forces.
The facts, so far, are this: The U.S. has pledged an initial amount of $35 million in government aid. Long-term relief will be determined as the needs are assessed, says the State Department. The Pentagon has dispatched a dozen ships, Navy surveillance planes, and Air Force cargo planes to rush in humanitarian aid. The United States government provided 40% of all the relief aid given in the world last year and will, no doubt, provide the bulk of relief in this disaster.
Yet, a Paris-based organization is being repeatedly cited when charging that the U.S. gives a mere pittance in aid when compared to its Gross National Product. (One can't help but question the wisdom of thoughtlessly placing more money at the disposal of the United Nations when they refuse to account for billions of scandalized dollars -- money certainly not properly managed and possibly stolen.)
What the French, and many other European countries, completely miss is that America is not a socialist country. Massive amounts of aid come through private relief organizations, like World Vision, Save the Children, Bread for the World, and dozens of others. Our own organization, LIFE Outreach International, is already funding assistance and exploring the most effective ways to continue helping. We will likely play a part in the long-term relief by expanding our ongoing efforts in India and Thailand to care for orphans and provide clean drinking water. Millions of dollars in aid will come from Americans without going through the U.S. government.
However, many within our own country and around the world will ignore these facts. President Bush will be criticized. America will be hated. And bias will be believed.
Unfortunately, this blindness to the truth only does further damage. We must work to overcome personal bias and realize that Americans give out of moral conviction, not monetary compulsion. As a matter of fact, real solutions to most pressing problems can only be effectively addressed and corrected when the biggest menace of all is cast aside: mean-spirited bias.