Saturday, January 01, 2005

Blaming US

Writing about the tsunami, Brit Gerard Baker, who notes that humans have always sought to assign blame to something when natural disasters strike. It used to be that humans ascribed the "wrath of God" to such things, he rites, but in a secular world, this tsunami has been given as evidence that there is no God (we'll ignore the epistimelogical inconsistencies of that assertion for now...). Thus, according to Baker, "In the absence of a deity to decry or appease when the earth moves in such devastating fashion, humankind reaches for the next best thing - orldly authority." And who would that authority be? Yes, local governments will get some blame. But...
"In the past three days I [Baker] have been impressed by the originality of the latest critiques of the evil Americans. The earthquake and tsunami apparently had something to do with global warming, environmentalists say, caused of course by greedy American motorists. Then there was the rumour that the US military base at Diego Garcia was forewarned of the impending disaster and presumably because of some CIA-approved plot to undermine Islamic movements in Indonesia and Thailand did nothing about it.

To be fair, even the most animated America-hater, though, baulks at the idea of blaming George W. Bush for the destruction and death in southern Asia. But the US is blamed for not responding generously enough to help the victims of the catastrophe. A UN official this week derided Washington's contribution as stingy."
While Baker comes to the defense of American, its citizens and President Bush (at least obliquely), some Americans haven't been so optimistic. As John Podoheretz reminds us, now is not the time for playing the blame game. It seems too many who oppose the President politically have let their ideology usurp their reason. It seems 2005 will see no decrease in the "blame America" or "blame Bush" rhetoric. In sports this phenomenom has a specific term that can be applied: sore losers.

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