One of the things we do in life to keep ourselves sane is assign higher value to those closer to, and more like, us: My brother is worth more to me than my cousin whom I value more than my fellow citizen whom I value more than, well, a random human-being on the planet. I don't think it is always this way, and I don't think it should be.
Think about the response to Katrina--where hundreds of thousands left their houses--and the response to Pakistan--where millions lost their homes, and at least tens of thousands are now at risk of freezing to death.
It is understandable that we respond more to those who are (both physically and pyschologically) closer to us. But expanding the circle of caring (which, I know, sounds hippy) is what underpins much of the fight for human-rights and frankly, a moral society.
Anyway, just saying.
Also, Anne-Marie Slaughter is right: The disaster in Pakistan isn't just an opportunity for the U.S. government to do the right thing in a moral sense, but in a pratical one too. It is an opportunity to build goodwill in one of the area's of the world where it could the U.S. enormous good. Remember what Marine General Gregson said about one of the most crucial things to do for the war on terror: "Put us on the side of the angels ."*
*I don't think being on the "side of angels" is enough. Killing AQ is still neccesary.
But any solid strategy needs to encompass both.