[i]Not countries defending democracy really. We support countries that we either put in power or that we have some control or leverage over. It's all about oil over there, otherwise we wouldn't even be there.[/i]
That's the cynical thing that skeptics likes to tout. If you speak to American citizens (who pay their taxes and send contributions to other countries - via red cross or other charitable organizations), it's not about the oil or power or control. It's about doing the right thing. It's about defending and helping people who don't want to live in a communist regime or be taken over by their neighbors through military force. In the Gulf you have the Kuwaiti people who do not want to have their way of life taken away by hostile neighbors so they ask allies for assistance. In Vietnam you have a portion of its people who do not want communism (the communists help those who want communism and the allies help the ones who want democracy). In Korea you have a race who have been attacked by the Japanese then the Chinese and become split between communisms and democracy in a similar fashion - the communists support North Korea and the allies support South Korea.
If there was a never ending supply of money, people didnt' die, etc., etc., I'm sure the U.S. would help more countries. However, the truth is, that's impossible so they end up choosing the cause that makes the most sense - and that means strategic to economic and security issues.
I'm not aware that ANY U.S. State or its people would refuse assistance in times of need. I doubt that New York City residents would say no to cash aide, free medical supplies, or such. Also, a lot of Americans don't wait for countries in need to ask for assistance... they just organize and donate - be it via red cross, salvation army, missionary groups, etc. Most of them give a rats ass about oil, power, control or leverage.