Letter to President Bush on Earthquake Relief
November 1, 2005
President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C., 20500
Dear Mr. President:
A humanitarian catastrophe of almost unimaginable proportions is unfolding in the Himalayas, yet your administration seems remarkably unorganized in applying more resources. Has anyone shown you the wire service photos of frightened children standing in the rubble with nothing between them and the impending winter but a blanket? Reports tell of 2 to 3 million people who are without homes, hundreds of thousands who have received no aid whatsoever, and helicopter flights facing cutbacks because they have no aid to deliver. Is the world community prepared to turn its back on these people? Are you, the self proclaimed leader of the compassionate forces in the world, looking askance?
While hundreds of millions of dollars in aid have been promised by the international community, only a fraction of it has been received. What is urgently needed are tents for shelter and equipment for removing rubble, reconstruction and other materials in advance of the approaching winter. Lack of medical care is causing relatively minor infections to fester to the point where doctors are forced to resort to amputation. Reports from the scene tell us that the 80,000 dead from the earthquake may be matched by a second wave of preventable deaths, deaths attributable to disinterest and neglect among those who have the capacity to preserve these lives.
Our nation has large and well-organized communities of both Indians and Pakistanis. If the reports and the images of this tidal wave of human disaster do not move you, perhaps you and your party should prepare to explain to these communities why their brothers and sisters were not worth saving. The aid pledged by your administration so far amounts to a few hours worth of what you are spending on the boomerang Iraq War opposed by a growing majority of the American people. Please spare us from the suggestion that you, our history’s largest tax-cutter for the wealthy, including yourself, cannot afford to do more.
You have often loudly and publicly proclaimed your Christian beliefs, most recently in your support for Ms. Meyers’ nomination to the United States Supreme Court. Perhaps your religious beliefs could offer you some guidance in determining what is the decent course of action for the President to do in this moment of grave crisis for so many helpless families.