Thursday, January 20, 2005

The command is clear. But is the heart engaged?

Reflecting on the response of Bush pere and fils to the tsunami, contrasted with Clinton, in the post below, I remembered this comment by Sen. Boxer in the Rice confirmation hearings:
BOXER: And if you're going to become the voice of diplomacy, this is just a helpful point. When Senator Voinovich mentioned the issue of tsunami relief, you said -- your first words were The tsunami was a wonderful opportunity for us. Now, the tsunami was one of the worst tragedies of our lifetime, one of the worst, and it's going to have a 10-year impact on rebuilding that area. I was very disappointed in your statement. I think you blew the opportunity. You mentioned it as part of one sentence. And I would hope to work with you on this, because children are suffering; we're worried they're going to get in the sex trade. This thing is a disaster -- a true natural disaster and a human disaster of great proportions. And I hope that the State Department will take a huge lead under your leadership in helping those folks in the long range.
A small point, but not an unimportant one. Everything depends on perspective, of course; on where you stand, and what you choose to look at. Is the suffering of human beings truly an "opportunity" for us? Or an obligation?

The difference is important.

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