Sunday, November 13, 2005

NY Paramedics Are Heroes

60 Minutes this evening had a segment on 13 New York paramedics who, on their own with no official support, went to Pakistan to help earthquake victims. These brave men and women were helping hundreds of people. Even weeks after the quake, these paramedics were the only help some of these people had received. Working with inadequate supplies, but lots of Yankee ingenuity and American can do attitude, they were making a difference in the lives of people who had never even seen an American before this. They are truly heroes.

They made the point that the people of the remote valley they were in would have a positive image of Americans for years to come. This reminded me of an article I read a few months ago (I can’t recall the actual source or author) that suggested that we finance a fleet of hospital ships. These ships would be state of the art and could bring world-class medical help to places without such facilities. While they would provide help around the world on an on-going basis, these ships could also be quickly moved in an emergency to areas of greatest need.

While part of the reason to do this is to improve the image of the U.S. around the world, if we can do this and provide medical help to people who might not otherwise receive it, we all win. While Karen Hughes is trying to figure out how to boost our image in the Muslim world, our troops (and 13 brave paramedics from New York) in responding to the tsunami and the earthquake have made us a lot of friends.

The Navy has the hospital ship Mercy which can be deployed in an emergency but it took 30 days to sail from San Diego where it is based to the Indian Ocean region for tsunami relief. A fleet of hospital ships and other ships outfitted to respond quickly to natural disasters deployed around the world would prove that we are truly a super power. A nation that not only has a big economy and a big military, but also a big heart.

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