Cheney visits quake zone, extols aid by U.S. military

Vice President Dick Cheney, viewing earthquake relief efforts, waved and smiled at Pakistanis seeking treatment Tuesday as they huddled against a chill wind under a banner proclaiming "From the People of the USA. 212th MASH." Touring the rugged mountainous earthquake zone where tens of thousands were killed and thousands more are being helped by U.S. military doctors on a humanitarian mission, Cheney said the relief efforts were a credit to the capabilities of the American military.

For the vice president, it was a humanitarian trip underscoring the idea that helping Muslims in times of tragedy is one of the best ways the United States can improve its image overseas.

"It's been an amazing experience to see the extent of the devastation," Cheney said during a visit to the field hospital.

Personnel running the facility told Cheney that although the center initially was set up for earthquake relief, it now also attracts a sizable proportion of patients, more than 70%, who come from miles around for treatment of various ailments not directly related to the quake, reports Los Angeles Times. I.L.

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