The New York Times, like Colin Powell, thinks that the tsunami aid to Indonesia will increase good will among Muslims toward America. I just wrote an article about this yesterday, which should appear in a few days. In the meantime, here is one good reason, unfortunately, to be less optimistic than the Times.
From “Once-Critical Indonesians Are Grateful to U.S. for Aid,” from the Times, with thanks to Anthony:
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Jan. 6 – The United States military’s huge relief effort for tsunami victims in South Asia is producing something of a political upheaval here, in the world’s most populous Muslim country: America is being praised, even by some of its harshest critics, while Arab countries are being questioned.
“I am getting messages from friends saying, ‘Why have the Muslim countries been so slow and stingy?’ ” said Goenawan Mohamad, one of the country’s leading intellectuals.
Washington’s campaign against terrorism, its staunch support of Israel and its occupation of Iraq have been widely interpreted by Indonesians as a war on Islam, and the Bush administration’s various efforts to influence public opinion have failed to counter that impression. The American military came in for particular criticism in the Muslim world, after the shocking and continuing revelations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.
Although neither the Muslim world nor the Times sees fit to note that those who committed that abuse face prosecution, while those who torture and behead civilians in Iraq become heroes.