Sunday, January 9


Credit Colin Powell with finally saying what less sober minds have failed to say (or the more fearful opted not to be identified with) in calling for restraint and, by inference, a re-evaluation in both the volume and kinds of aid needed by the countries and peoples ravaged by the Asian tsunami. Fact is, and while it may have arguably taken too long to mobilize, there has now been in recent days a paroxysm of charitable giving that has simply overwhelmed those chartered with directing and administering it. When a million people show up to put out a house fire, it's conceivable that no one will even grab the fire hose or attach it to the hydrant. That's why so many have responded to polls by saying that they're far from convinced that money and relief supplies will get where they are needed most. Nonetheless, the basic instinct of good people is to help where help is needed and isn't it a fact in this age of instantaneous, world-wide communication that this planet's response to a natural disaster can become, in and of itself, a disaster in the making unless coordinated, managed, assessed and re-assessed. No doubt the blogosphere has helped fuel (and with the best of intentions) a charitable outpouring that itself is a major story. The recent tsunami, while disastrous in a magnitude that boggles the mind and imagination alike, nonetheless pales against the impact throughout the world of disease, famine, blight and civil strife. Powell, in his own way, is trying to remind us of that elemental fact.

I applaud the Secretary of State. I wonder if he'll be pilloried for saying what should be obvious to most -- that our hearts may already be getting in the way of our reason? For that, he may be called heartless.