Thursday, December 22, 2005

**UPDATE**: Earthquake Relief in Pakistan

In a previous post, I called for the U.S. to do everything it could to help earthquake victims in Pakistan. I said it would improve the image of the U.S. in the nation whose madrasas birthed the Taliban and whose population is general radicalized and anti-American - i.e. an ideal breeding ground for terrorists. Indeed, persons involved in the London bombings were linked to Pakistan.

Well, this is another, "I told you so."

U.S. helicopters have flown 2,500 sorties, carried 16,000 passengers and
delivered nearly 6,000 tons of aid. Just as importantly, the Chinook has become
America's new emblem in Pakistan, a byword for salvation in an area where until
recently the U.S. was widely and fanatically detested. Toy Chinooks (made in
China, of course) are suddenly popular with Pakistani children. A Kashmiri imam
who denounced the U.S. in a recent sermon was booed and heckled by worshippers.
"Pakistan is not a nation of ingrates," a local businessman told me over dinner
the other night. "We know where the help is coming from."

The extent of the U.S. military's assistance, well-known to Pakistanis,
barely registers on the radar screens of most Western news outlets. That's a
pity, because it overlooks one of America's most significant hearts-and-minds
successes so far in the Muslim world. The assistance also illustrates
another frequently overlooked fact: When it comes to foreign aid, the Department
of Defense is one of the biggest contributors, and what it provides is something
no other country can replicate. (WSJ)


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