A story in the Boston Globe tells us: West reacted too slowly to bird flu, specialists say.
The United States is training Asian doctors and veterinarians, and buying stocks of the antiviral drug Tamiflu to be distributed to local populations in case of a human-to-human outbreak. It has also launched education programs to teach more hygienic practices to Asia's small-scale poultry farmers, who often live in close contact with their birds.
But by now, specialists say, the H5N1 virus has become endemic -- widespread and ineradicable -- in Asian poultry. Had there been more help during the virus's initial outbreaks in 2003 and 2004, containment efforts would have been more successful, they said.
''If there had been more support to the government of Indonesia to intervene when avian flu first presented as a problem in poultry, it might have been easier to control," said veterinarian Christine Jost, a technical adviser to FAO in Indonesia.
And if someone had shot Hitler in 1932, we'd all have been spared a world of grief. This kind of hindsight is pointless. We respond to crisis within the limits of our culture.
In the 14th century, European Christians dealt with the black death by massacring their local Jews. Perhaps the Flagellants, who also tried self-mutilation as a cure, wished they'd killed Jews earlier and whipped themselves sooner.
So we can flagellate ourselves about our slow response, but why bother? The only reason to study our past failures is to prevent repeating them in future.