What a tragedy. Almost unbelievable, specially in the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. Mother nature, truly, is not to be mocked. It brought home to me just how extensive is the area affected by this cataclysm when I heard a comment a couple of days ago in a BBC Radio4 news programme that more than 90,000 square miles of the US is affected more or less severely - that is almost the same area as the whole of the UK!
So much is being written about this disaster, and its aftermath, that I have felt that to add my little voice to the tumult of comment about it was rather superfluous. Lots of comment is being made about the reactions of the local, State and Federal authorities to this crisis, a lot of it critical. I know too little about a lot of the lead-up to what happened a few days ago to make any sensible comment on whether any of the visceral criticisms being made, particularly of the US Federal Government and the US President, are soundly-based or whether they are merely a reflection of the intense partisanship which has been a notable feature of US politics these past few years. So I am not even going to try. More importantly, I think, now is NOT the time. There will be plenty of time for recriminations after the immediate crisis is tackled and I have no doubt that in the vibrant democracy that the US is that the post-crisis analysis by Congress will be pedantic in its delving into the minutest detail of what might have been done better not only this past week, but long before, too.
What has prompted me to write this post now, though, is some of the comments that are being made about charitable donations to help alleviate the dreadful after-effects of Hurricane Katrina. Many organisations are acting as useful conduits for donations to help combat this tragedy and I am sure that they all do good work. It so happens that I make regular donations by Direct Debit to one of the major charities involved, namely the Red Cross (through the British Red Cross) although it is my intention to make a specific additional donation to the American Red Cross (click on the 'Donate Now' link) to aid them in their efforts in this particular case, as suggested by the British Red Cross here.
Whilst I am absolutely positive that The Salvation Army makes a vital contribution to many worthwhile causes and is undoubtedly doing so in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I shall not be making a donation through them. I used to donate regularly to The Salvation Army, both in terms of hard cash and by donations in kind, but I stopped doing so a few years ago once I began to understand just what is their policy on one particular issue - the UK part of The Salvation Army has a similar stance of course, as can be seen here. Naturally I do not presume to make any comment on what other people say about donating to this organisation (whether it be Glenn at InstaPundit, or David at Freedom and Whisky), but I prefer to offer what meagre help I can to organisations, like the Red Cross, which do not seek to impose any particular ideology or belief system upon anyone else.