The flooding in Pakistan has displaced 2 million people, killed at least 1600 and affected 14 million. It should be affecting all of us. A disaster of global proportions, requiring a global response, as Gwynne Dyer noted on our show not long ago, it offers a hint of what we can expect if climate change continues on apace. While it’s not a cause and effect equation, if we want to know what rising waters look like? Look at Pakistan.
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The US has pledged 19 helicopters and 1000 marines for aid in the flood-ravaged regions, and the UN is asking for 460 million aid dollars. But we’ve already been pouring money into Pakistan—into drones and bombs, that is. We’ve been giving about $1.5 billion a year for military aid, and have nearly 100,000 soldiers in neighboring Afghanistan.
That, after all, is the war on terror! Terrorism is much more dangerous than some floods, right? After all, we keep approving budgets for war while voting down a bill that might’ve made a dent in the climate crisis.
To push the point: terrorism killed only 25 Americans last year. Hurricane Katrina killed 1836 Americans in a few days, and we haven’t seen a Global War on Flooding.
Not long ago, President Obama told Pakistani paper Dawn, “Our primary goal is to be a partner and a friend to Pakistan and to allow Pakistan to thrive on its own terms, respecting its own traditions, respecting its own culture.”
We could do that by shifting our disproportionate spending on war to spending on aid for the flooded areas. After all, we know the tragedy flooding brings.
Wrote Robert Naiman, “If it were war, our leaders would say, ‘Failure is not an option.’”