How Should the U.S. Government Respond to Japan's Earthquake?

An 8.9 magnitude quake and a 30-foot tsunami wreaked havoc in Japan today.

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The morning news today was filled with horrific scenes that could have just as easily been out of a Roland Emmerich movie rather than NBC's Today Show. An approximately 30-foot wave crashed into Japan and swept away cars, boats, and other large debris after an 8.9-magnitude quake—the largest in the nation’s history—shook the earth just offshore. The quake and tsunami left the nation reeling with devastation, fires, and a nuclear power plant in jeopardy. Nations around the Pacific, including the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii, face tsunami warnings. [See a photo gallery of Japan's earthquake and tsunami.]

President Obama released a statement this morning to offer his condolences. He added:

The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy.

Obama repeated the pledge in a news conference early this afternoon, saying he has offered Japan “whatever assistance we can.” But what should that look like? U.S. Navy ships are already in the area and readying themselves to provide aid as necessary, but it’s unclear so far what Japan actually needs.

What do you think? How should the U.S. government respond to Japan’s earthquake and tsunami? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

Previously: Does the Schiller-O’Keefe drama mean NPR should lose federal funding?