Column: A tsunami by any other name

By Chuck Prochaska

When I received my invitation to attend President Bush’s inauguration last week and saw that tickets to the inaugural ball were $150 alone, I decided instead to forgo the inauguration and donate that amount to George Clooney’s Tsunami Relief Drive.

Then I laughed at my own joke.

Without a doubt, the most important event that took place over our winter/Christmas/ Hanukkah/ Kwanzaa/ Festivus/ Solstice/ non-denominational time of rest (I’m sure I still offended someone) was the tsunami in Southeast Asia. This terrible event has incredible implications for the United States, which are becoming clearer every day. Here is my overview of the tsunami’s impact so far, and what is potentially to come:

  • Predictably, the United States has emerged as the most benevolent nation in the world. We were initially criticized for only pledging $35 million in aid, but as the situation became grimmer, we upped our contribution tenfold. Not to mention, private contributions will soon dwarf Congress’ proposal. Not to mention, our military is guiding the entire relief effort. Not to mention, the United States is relaxing tariffs on Southeast Asian goods so their economy may grow at our expense. Not to mention…
  • A solid majority of the affected region’s populace practices Islam. Southeast Asia is known to harbor some of the world’s deadliest Islamic terrorists. Yet, cleric Sheik Fawzan Al-Fawzan, professor at the Al-Imam University, claims that the tsunami was Allah’s punishment of “fornicators and corrupt people.” If this was true, wouldn’t the tsunami have wiped out frat houses and the Clinton Presidential Library? It must be a lovely convenience to go through life saying, “Allah made me do it.”
  • Given that Muslims were predominantly affected by the tsunami in Indonesia, it is ironic that Arab nations rank the lowest in financial aid and relief donations. Here is Osama bin Laden’s big chance to claim the moral high ground in his little jihad. Other, more legitimate Muslim leaders could demonstrate Islam is the “religion of peace” that their colleagues at the New York Times claim it to be. Yet, bin Laden does nothing while oil-rich Saudi Arabia pledged $10 million, felt guilty, and upped it to $30 million. Kuwait, a wealthy nation with a high number of Southeast Asian immigrant workers, raised their contribution from an embarrassing $2 million to a pathetic $10 million. You’re welcome, Osama. The “infidels” are cleaning up the mess caused by “Allah” so that your soldiers may resume the jihad against Christianity. Hypocrisy – 1, Common Sense – 0. Maybe we are the crazy ones.
  • Speaking of terrorists, I have a terrible feeling that the U.S. relief team composed of military and Red Cross workers is about to experience the violence of Islamic terrorism very soon. Scattered reports, while not immediately verifiable, speak of the quiet relocation of known Muslim terror groups to the affected region. Perhaps they are coming to assure that their jihads and mosques are operational and, once they are, prepare to push the “outsiders” away from this region. Islamic extremism knows no decency. These barbarians do not play by our rules, or any rules for that matter. If this becomes the case, the United States must immediately abandon the tsunami relief effort before it becomes a third front on the war on terrorism.

So far, the U.S. aid contributions have been outstanding. I am proud to be a member of a nation who sets religious, ethnic and geographic differences aside to help our brothers and sisters on the opposite side of the world in their most desperate hour. However, not all that glitters is gold. A tsunami by any other name would be as tragic, but we must not forget that the war on terrorism rages on. Our enemies certainly won’t.