Tragedy has struck, and once again we see it in living color on our television screens and we watch in horror. As I write this post it is likely that thousands of Japanese citizens of all ages are in desperation, perhaps on the edge of death if aid doesn’t arrive quickly. This is where America can and will help, and it is when we are at our best.
Our military is already applying its broad capabilities to provide aid, air support, search and rescue, and logistical expertise to the area. We will spend hundreds of millions of dollars, risk our soldier’s lives, and perform thousands of heroic acts, and no one will know about the vast majority of it. We will do it because it is the right thing to do, and because it is what America does.
I hesitate to get political at such an emotional time, but I do need to say this much. For those who argue against American exceptionalism, or who say “we cannot be the world’s policeman”, I say tell that to the Japanese citizens who sit on their roofs tonight waiting to see an American Blackhawk or Chinook helicopter as it comes to rescue them and their children. Tell that to the people who will be stranded in the middle of nowhere for another 3, 5, or 7 days, and all they get for dry clothes and food and medical supplies is dropped from an American C-17 transport plane. Everything we do is irreplaceable, no one else can or will do it, certainly not in the volume and timeframe that it’s needed by the effected people.
In addition to military aid, the outpouring of private donations from American citizens will be huge and most surely no other nation’s people will donate even half as much as American citizens will. We saw this with the Haitian earthquake, and with every major tragedy including disasters in Pakistan, China, and Indonesia.
And so we pray and wish the best for those in Japan and their families, and we hope that our military and other rescue workers reach everyone in need before it’s too late. And yes, I think it’s reasonable for all of us to find time to take some pride in the great things our country does for others expecting nothing in return.