What is wrong with the world?

On 9/11 a terrorist attack killed nearly 3,000 people. This was definitely a horrible tragedy that should have been prevented. Since then it's been used as a justification for massive impositions on personal freedoms in the US and in various other countries. It has also been one of the main justifications for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. While there were potentially some ties with Afghanistan the attempts to link Saddam Hussein with Al Qaida were pretty laughable and pretty much ammounted to taking advantage of the fact that most Americans would just lump all arabs together and not ask too many questions (and unfortunately this was mostly true). The US has used 9/11 as a justification to spend well over 100 billion dollars in war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. All in the name of "making the world safe".

On December 26, 2004 an earthquake off the coast of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia caused a tsunami which has already had a death toll of close to 150,000 and WHO officials are saying that total could double if aid efforts do not effectively help stop the spread of disease and starvation that is following the disaster. How much has the US contributed to this effort? $350 million. Do the math, assuming $150 billion spent on war efforts and 3,000 dead in 9/11, the US has spent $50 million per person killed on 9/11. 150,000 dead in a Tsunami and the US has spent only around $2300 per person killed.

I can't help but wonder how much better off the world would be if that $150 billion were spent differently. A Tsunami warning system in the Indian ocean would have helped warn many of the people and saved countless lives. Apparently, even 10 minutes of warning can have a huge impact on the number of lives lost. Spending some of the money on foreign aid would likely have improved the infrastructure in many of the affected areas. The lack of infrastructure has created numerous problems with sending relief to some countries and is contributing to the rising death toll. As well, medical facilities and staff could have been better equiped and trained which would make responding to a disaster like this much better.

Besides just helping reduce the number of lives lost in this disaster, $150 billion could make the US a leader in international aid. Reducing poverty and improving education around the world is a far better way to spread democracy than dropping tons of bombs on a group of people who already feel marginalised by the west.