When Aid Breeds Suspicion

The military's tsunami relief has boosted America's image in Indonesia. Will local hostility cut the mission short?

From his seat aboard a U.S. Sierra helicopter, Airman Mike Stewart looks down on a cruel artifact from the tsunami. Surveying the ruins of Meulaboh in Aceh province, his chopper passes over an intact tower clock that hasn't moved since the earthquake struck. Stewart and his crew are on one of their six daily runs to deliver supplies to some of Indonesia's most remote villages--all part of Operation Unified Assistance, the largest U.S. military operation in Asia since Vietnam and the backbone of the global campaign to fend off hunger and disease among tsunami survivors. For combat-trained service members like Stewart,...