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by Alan Simpson

Tsunami or Meteorite?

An interesting discussion is underway in Washington about the disaster in the Indian Ocean. Was it an Earthquake or strike by a meteorite?

The argument is that an internal force such as a movement of the plates would not cause a change in the Earth's rotation. Such a change would have to be from an external force.

This then lends itself to the next question, with all the hundreds of billions of dollars of spy, weather and radar satellites orbiting the Earth wouldn't we know if a piece of Space Debris was hitting our beautiful Blue Planet?

Maybe not some experts point out. We are obsessed with looking for a bearded man in a white robe, with a video camera, outside a cave in Afghanistan.

The conservatives see the natural disaster as an irritation, distracting the public from the horrors of terrorism and 9/11. This event has proved to be the biggest cash cow since the Vietnam war and still needs to be milked for the billions it is producing. That may sound a little harsh but around Washington DC you can see private empires being created daily, to live off the spoils of Iraq and terrorism, without creating a dime of defense for the American public.

The whole question of how President Bush dealt with the disaster is another point of discussion. Why did he sit around for four days with his now famous "Deer in the Headlights" look seen after 9/11.

One suggestion is that he spent four days searching around the map for a country called Tsunami, where the disaster occurred.

It would have been of no use declaring how much aid to send until the accurate facts were available. Remember the first announcements after 9/11 were that over 50,000 people were in the World Trade Center buildings when they collapsed.

We are used to natural events in the poor areas of the Indian Ocean, where a couple of thousand are killed. That doesn't even warrant preempting the news of a spoiled football player or coach being traded on the evening news. Whilst living in Dallas, TX the evening news spent virtually the whole hour on Tom Landry thinking of retiring, and less than ten seconds on the world's worst ferry disaster, where 1200 died, and a major monsoon disaster where tens of thousands died.

In the past America has been so consumed with materialism that we have forgotten that we are part of an extended community. In other words we all have to live together on this fragile piece of rock in space.

This disaster has been different for the outpouring both of aid and money has been outstanding. True the conservative talk show guests point out that we are aiding Muslim countries, and will reap no financial reward from the aid. I sincerely hope they find themselves on an operating table, after an accident, being attended by a Muslim doctor. Let's see then how quickly they change their opinions!

It's time we started looking at our personal survival after a natural disaster. The floods, droughts, heat waves, and bitter cold storms are becoming more frequent, and in places we would not expect.

The Tsunami (or meteorite) could strike anywhere. Consider the effects on Miami, or Los Angeles. Miami especially is built on sand. If a 30' - 60' wave hit those high rise condos the result would be devastating. Look at the erosion of the sand bars shown in satellite photographs after the Tsunami struck. The foundations of these high rises would be liquefied.

Consider also that the relief forces earmarked to protect and rescue the public are fighting Bush's War in Iraq.

The Tsunami has given us a lot to think about. Who knows what will happen when the "Big One" strikes California. Maybe the shock wave from the Indian Ocean plates has already started the Pacific plates moving?