The US military is spending $6 million per day for tsunami relief in the Indian Ocean nations devastated by the December 26 earthquake. In other words, the armed forces alone have spent almost as much on disaster relief in 10 days than France or Spain have pledged in whole. If the military were a separate government, it would just miss the top 10 in total contributions, today. It will pass Italy and Sweden sometime next week, moving to seventh place, unless other nations step up their aid. Remember, this aid is totally separate from the $350 million pledged by the US, just as the military aid from Australia and India is in addition to their monetary contributions. Without the US Navy and Air Force, thousands would still have no access to medical care, fresh water, or food.
In other news, while the leftist brigades have excoriated Bush for not immediately appearing on television when the news hit (and for his spokesman's veiled swipe at Bill Clinton for doing so), there has been almost total silence regarding Kofi Annan's vacation in Jackson Hole. In fact, Kofi Annan's first step is hold a conference, TODAY, while Bush took the steps to set up a major aid program before running to the cameras. Annan's response should be used by Bush supporters whenever Bush is accused of inaction, because it's quite true:
First of all, there was action. It wasn't inaction. We live in a world where you can operate from wherever you are. You know the world we live in now. You don't have to be physically here to be dealing with the leaders and the governments I have been dealing with.
It's grammatically incoherent, but Bush is not known for his elequence.
(The link the to source appears to be broken; I got itand the quotefrom Ipse Dixit.)
And of course, the military's involvement brings out the tinfoil-hatters. AFP reports (via Yahoo! News) that conspiracy theorists are claiming that the earthquake was caused by a secret military super-weapon test, or that aliens are trying to correct the earth's rotation (which has a slight wobble). Why this would be important to them is not explained. The AFP article does a fairly good job dispelling the myths, although it notes that science and reason will not sway the minds of the aggressively stupid.
UPDATE: Chuck Simmins has compiled a list of private donations from the United States. As of Thursday, 6 January, it stood at $450 Million. This is not government-dispensed funding, it's all totally voluntary. The US contribution, government and private, not including the military efforts described above, is closing in on $1 Billion, and will probably pass that threshold shortly.
The PDF file is three pages long, and includes URL citations for every single one of the listed contributions. (Consequently, it probably understates the true total by a significant amount). It includes small donations from community groups, large cash and in-kind donations by corporate interests, and money raised by the American Red Cross and Catholic Relief Services, among many other charities.