Once again, in a crisis, the world turns to the U.S. to sort it out….

These are the numbers: $100 million in aid, 2,000 marines about to join 1,000 of its troops, 14,000 meals and 15,000 litres of water dropped near Port-au-Prince last night.

The American aid effort after the Haiti earthquake follows President Obama’s promise, flanked by his predecessors, of one of the “largest relief efforts in our history”.

But that relief isn’t being welcomed by all …

The latest swipe is from a French government minister, who says the task in hand “is about helping Haiti, not occupying Haiti”.

There have already been rows between donor countries about access to the capital’s beleaguered airport, including during visits from big-hitting US politicians.

The US military has taken control of the airport, but arguably because someone needed to.

In another WHYS blog conversation on Haiti, one poster, Tom, put it like this:

“Funny how everyone tells the US to mind their own business until disasters like Haiti happen then they do very little or nothing and expect the US to do it all.”

This blog has more examples of America’s work in Haiti.

Without America’s lead, would the aid effort work? Why isn’t the world saying thank you?

157 Responses to “Once again, in a crisis, the world turns to the U.S. to sort it out….”

  1. 1 @guykaks
    January 19, 2010 at 11:22

    Thanks, but No Thanks!I have seen countries where the US has created more havoc and vandalism to people and property.I think this is just one of those mighty show off and bluffing that we care too!

    • 2 Dan
      January 19, 2010 at 19:46

      Bye Bye, There is no use helping anyone anymore. Sounds like giving someone cpr and getting sued for breaking there ribs in the process. I am done with the American tax payer dollars going for people who only think they have the right to whine about how we are helping, suck it up and deal with it yourself from now on.

      • 3 John Anderson
        January 20, 2010 at 23:14

        Criticism of the US in this crisis is a disgrace. It is only right that they have taken a firm lead in helping co-ordinate those nations and organisations providing assistance. Trust the French to throw a hissy fit, Haiti hardly needed a plane load of French prima donnas causing problems, especially since they left all of 200 years ago….priceless!

    • January 19, 2010 at 21:52

      And how many more “natural” disasters have to take place before humans start realizing that suiting up to kill each other just doesn’t cut it anymore? On the one hand you have to be glad to see that men and women in their military monkey suits can carry aid supplies to disaster areas and not just hi-tech. weapons to kill and depopulate. On the other hand it costs millions a day to operate the nuclear aircraft carrier that was sent to Haiti because it is primarily a weapon of war, not a floating hospital and desalination plant.

      Those bazillion dollar aircraft carriers can be converted from perenniel war machines. Instead of ferrying nuclear and “conventional” weapons, they could be retrofitted to desalinate water, carry aid workers, perform surgery, fly needed equipment into quake zones, feed and house thousands and more….but noooooo….the mindless military keeps inventing enemy after enemy to justify the incredible waste spent on teaching people to kill.

      And it’s a little reported fact that global military activities contribute more to greenhouse gases, squandering of limited resources, and waste of fuel and raw materials than all other corporations, industries, or individuals put together. But does the corporate owned media report this….nooooooo….Get in touch with your local mainstream media and your government representatives to insist these facts are confronted !

      ps If the real aim of today’s military is to reduce world population, statistics show that it is failing miserably. Currently wars are not killing nearly as many as they did 150 years ago. The general consensus of many anthropologists is that the most effective way to lower population is to educate women.

  2. 5 piscator
    January 19, 2010 at 11:35

    “14,000 meals and 15,000 litres of water dropped near Port-au-Prince last night.”

    Wow – that must be nearly a truck load. Not very impressive, there must be better figures you can quote to spin up the US intervention.

    Full marks to the USA for a rapid deployment. Less so for the quagmire they seem to have got themselves, and all of the other aid givers, into. To be fair, they only had the military to send at once, and the military are not cut out for the role, so I find it hard to condemn the good old USA for trying.

    I think the BBC’s reportage is in some way responsible for any criticism of the US on this issue, because of it’s obsessive reporting of Obama’s role, and under reporting what other countries have done.

    I hope the US does occupy Haiti, and makes it a US protectorate for the sake of the poor inhabitants. Plus, I hope that the US is genuine and not involved in some sort of beauty competition between themselves, France, Cuba and Venezuela.

  3. 6 Roberto
    January 19, 2010 at 11:38

    RE “” The US military has taken control “”

    ———— That’s just the face of it. Chinese money is bankrolling bankrupt America these days as everyone knows.

    The US military/police actions and western business operations will increasingly answer to China.

  4. 7 Idris Dangalan
    January 19, 2010 at 11:40

    Yeah US deserved it, I have a dream that one day state of union regain her power and good relationship foriegn countries. Thanks keep it up,

  5. 8 Nigel
    January 19, 2010 at 11:55

    Is putting aid aircraft in a holding patter so that Clinton can go in and strut around taking the lead? If so I suggest you let someone with a focus on the Haitians and not the TV cameras and their flagging domestic political situation take the lead.

  6. 9 Nigel
    January 19, 2010 at 11:56

    ….holding pattern…… Sorry!

  7. 10 patti in cape coral
    January 19, 2010 at 12:24

    No good deed goes unpunished or uncriticized, I guess. I get the distinct feeling the US would have been criticized no matter what was done. On the other hand, I don’t think now is the time for politicians to be visiting, unless they are going to get their hands dirty and help.

    • 11 Nigel
      January 19, 2010 at 13:02


      When you are at the top everyone sees you and most have nothing good to say……..just a fact of life……..but Clinton before a French field hospital?………that is going to draw fire for sure.

    • January 19, 2010 at 14:06

      You are right that no matter what the US did or will do it will garner heavy criticism from inside and outside forces. President Clinton is there because the Haitian government has been completely demolished. Sure, some survived (for now) but it is not functioning in any capacity whatsoever. He is the special Diplomatic Envoy to Haiti and has been going there for decades to help their people, so it is not just understandable, but expected that he would be there. I don’t care so much about world criticism for us helping, but the large amount of Americans who say that we should have done nothing because we are in financial trouble is disturbing. Our local newspaper today was filled with op eds lambasting any sort of US assistance for Haiti and it turns my stomach. There was even one written by a supposed volunteer for the Harry Chapin Food Bank saying that we shouldn’t help Haiti with so much suffering here. He is obviously unaware that one of Harry Chapin’s senior management team was at the WHYS show here in Ft. Myers, as was I, and both of our agencies (mine relies on Harry Chapin for 90% of the food we distribute by the way) pledged aid which has already begun to be given. Yes, I frequently say that charity starts at home under NORMAL circumstances, but come on people, this is going to be worse than what happened in Indonesia when all is said and done. Either open your hearts if not your wallets, and your eyes to the truth of the situation, or please respectfully wait for a later time for your self righteous banter! (not directed at you Patti! smiles for you!!!)

      • 13 patti in cape coral
        January 19, 2010 at 14:34

        I agree Mike, and it’s kind of funny, but the impoverished people I have met in my life are very willing to share the little they have, but the people that make the most noise about not helping out because we are in financial trouble ourselves are the kind who have never known a hungry day in their lives. Disclaimer: I know I am generalizing, but I still think it’s true.

  8. 14 Cheri in New Orleans Louisiana USA
    January 19, 2010 at 13:03

    It’s easy for everyone to put the US down for things we do all of the time. Until you’ve been in a disaster such as I have then you don’t care who comes to help you just care about getting the help. The people alone in this country have already raised millions of dollars for relief efforts to Haiti and are in the ground trying to help a goverment that has collapsed. Not because we want to occupy the country but because we care and it’s obvious y’all don’t. Also if anyone really followed US policies you would know it is Clintons job to go to other countries and help with diplomatic issues not to gain airtime. It’s obvious no one here has donated to the relief efforts.

  9. January 19, 2010 at 13:15

    Salaam gang,
    I do have a question : There’re so many man-made horrific tragedies all over the world, some of which the US or its loyal allies have taken part in causing, now why don’t innocent civilian victims of those tragedies get the same amount of sympathy and help that innocent civilian victims of natural disasters get ?! Is it because the tragedy here is man made ? Or is it because natural disasters cause large numbers of civilian casualties ? But what’s the cut-off number here ? How many innocent civilians should be killed before we start ringing a bell ? 10 ? 100 ? 1000 ? With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

    • 16 TomK in Mpls
      January 19, 2010 at 18:29

      Urgency is a good reason. Think of your profession, first aid or reconstructive surgery?

    • 17 Nate, Portland OR
      January 19, 2010 at 22:01

      I think, Lubna, that much of the reason has to do with the complex and ambiguous nature of man-made “disasters.” When an earthquake or tsunami hits there’s really no question of fault. Everybody can picture themselves in the victim’s shoes. Furthermore, there’s rarely any human obstacles to getting aid to the victims (although Burma/Myanmar springs to mind as a recent counter-example). Even Iran accepted aid from the Great Satan when they had a massive earthquake a few years ago (Bam, 2003). When its war, all sides are making moral claims and there’s a lot more violence on the ground (as you well know). Aid groups can’t safely access the sites, and even if they can potential donors are left asking “Is my aid going to go to innocent civilians or to soldiers and corrupt officials?” The UN was chased out of Iraq, and its quite clear that workers for any western aid organization will be targeted for assassination.

    • 18 Kiloseven
      January 20, 2010 at 07:40

      Lubna, Rome was not built in a day. Relief takes time, especially where there are unfriendly people not wearing uniform (as required by the rules of civilized conflict) shooting at people bringing relief. When an ambulance is used as a truck bomb (as happened yesterday in Afghanistan), folks are not as motivated to help. Civilized folks like Haitians get help faster.

  10. 19 MINA
    January 19, 2010 at 13:40

    till today.. I dont understand this kind of policy.. the direction is not clear… maybe to me as an Arab young lady watching what the US is preseting to me individually compared with its actions in some targeted Arab countries… IM LOST

  11. 20 scmehta
    January 19, 2010 at 13:51

    Generally speaking, it is an ungrateful and forgetful world; most of it prefers to talk and evade than to go into positive action towards solving the problem. Weather somebody likes it or not, the USA is doing its job and winning the accolade in most of the world, especially in Haiti; And the Haitians thank them and all those who are helping/aiding them, and that’s what matters the most.

  12. January 19, 2010 at 13:52

    There is a lot of unfair criticism of the United States especially as the Obama Administration has been bending itself backwards to ensure that the relief operation is carried out effectively. The logistics and the lawlessness of the country make the relief operations extremely difficult. The United States is taking the lead in this massive operation as it has the expertise. So it is wrong to fault the United States in this case on its praiseworthy efforts. Further President Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have deep affection for Haiti. Their efforts have been tireless and are very well known. Their courage and determination to reach out to the suffering Haitians should be recognized. Bashing America should stop. Rather at a critical juncture like this nations should pool their resources and expertise to help a country truly in the dumps.

  13. 22 steve
    January 19, 2010 at 13:58

    The US isn’t the one targetting innocent civilians, if you want to blame the US for the actions of Islamists, then be my guest. I hope this doesn’t turn into another USA bashing thread. I see no other nations taking the lead. I rather you guess people should die rather than the US assume leadership roles. Why don’t you cry about how we entered WW1 and WW2 too late for your tastes again?

  14. 23 da kid
    January 19, 2010 at 13:58

    Not just America, but to all of the other counitres that sent items or money. To the people who came into Haiti to Help, The everyday person who sent in some type of item or money ,Even if it weas only five dollars.That was a bleesing in itself to these who don’t have nothing now.

  15. 24 Sanousi
    January 19, 2010 at 14:05

    Absolutely!America deserves a BIG THANK YOU for its massive effort in Haiti.this is one of the areas where the United States should spend the tax payers money rather than wasting it on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  16. January 19, 2010 at 14:08

    Anyone who wants to see the opinions from an area that has a very large Haitian population can check this link:


  17. 26 patti in cape coral
    January 19, 2010 at 14:12

    Good question Lubna, though very biased…why do natural disasters seem to garner more support than man-made disasters? A lot of people on this blog have argued that the Haitian tragedy was man-made, because they should have constructed code-worthy buildings because they knew they were on a fault line. I don’t think it is fair to equate the people with their government, and most people (me included) don’t agree that this was a man-made disaster.

  18. 27 Austin Jesse-Banda
    January 19, 2010 at 14:36

    US is a big head and in Malawi there is a saying that when the head is big it cannot duck blows. Helping or not helping out US could still receive criticism for it is a big head. The critics should accept the fact that some will lead and others will be led that is the reality we live in. Let us applaud efforts to reduce huiman suffering in Haiti by evertyone triying instead of despise despise and more despisefor US.

    • January 19, 2010 at 16:07

      Malawi is also prosecuting two men for the fact that they are gay, and will imprison them for 14 years or longer, not to mention the torture that they are sure to endure. Malawi and Uganda have truly evil policies and have no right making one single comment about any humanitarian efforts what so ever. US has a “big head”? Malawi has no head at all!

  19. January 19, 2010 at 14:39

    Hello my dear Patti, what I meant by ”man-made” tragedies was wars… And I should’ve said the ”US government” not ”the US”, sorry… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  20. January 19, 2010 at 14:46

    And yet, I do believe that the US government has got it right this time in Haiti, our bloody and painful history with the successive US governments should never stop us from seeing that… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  21. January 19, 2010 at 14:54

    Response of US to crisis in Haiti is very humane and spontaneous.Be it media coverage, which has spurred the world into aid mode;or aid by way of donations;or by extending aid ; sending forces to maintain law and order; rushing in medical aid and supplies.Yes,US has proved it has a large heart.
    There are always whiners like spinster sister-in-law who keeps on grouching,neither they will do the job nor can tolerate others doing instead.

  22. 33 Bob in Queensland
    January 19, 2010 at 14:56

    I have mixed feelings on this one. On one side, this disaster is in America’s back yard–maybe a 40 minute flight from the US mainland. It makes sense for the USA to take a lead role.

    However, on the other hand, aren’t relief efforts at most natural disasters handled by NGOs, not marines and politicians? What gives?

    • 34 Larry
      January 20, 2010 at 19:49

      One of the things that gives is the fact that the UN Mission in Haiti lost its leader and many UN personnel are missing. This also an unprecedented disaster in which the capital city of a nation state, home to 20% of the nation’s population, was devastated. Everyone, from the leaders of aiding nations to the Secretary General of the United Nations has had to improvise. Many of my fellow US citizens are actually quite sensitive to the issue of Haiti’s sovereignty.

  23. 35 John D
    January 19, 2010 at 14:59

    Americans in general are instinctively helpful and generous and, setting aside its gaffes, the U.S. government broadly reflects this impulse. Their response to the catastrophe in Haiti is appropriate and, yes, impressive.

    But I wonder why WHYS frames the question this way. It isn’t as if other governments are sitting back and doing nothing. Canada has sent its DART team, hundreds of soldiers and ships. Aid from around the world is flowing to Haiti.

    It appears that the BBC has the reflex that anything which occurs anywhere has to be set against what America is doing or would do. It’s a bit of an obsession. Then again, I hope this is not an oblique way of harvesting criticisms of the U.S. Of course the help America gives is impressive — it’s got the size, the heavy-lifting capability, and all the rest — more power to them. But there’s still the widow’s mite.

    • January 20, 2010 at 19:58

      As a citizen of the US I am often embarrassed at the attention given US actions by some in the international media. When our own media does it, I rather understand because as a commercial venture the media needs to pander to its audience. That said, I recall seeing a story about the Peoples Republic of China being among the first on the ground with aid. No one in the media took the trouble to point out that Haiti has a Taiwan Embassy and so must recognize the Republic of China, one of its largest foreign creditors. I think it was rather big of the Chinese to overlook the extremely sensitive sovereignty issue of Taiwan. I’m sure it was motivated by China’s own recent earthquake disaster. Also, one of the most impressive accomplishments made early on must be credited to the Israeli’s who got a field hospital functioning in very short order. I’m no Zionist. I’m one of those US citizens who is very frustrated by the slap in the face the Obama administration has received from Israel on the question of West Bank settlements.

  24. January 19, 2010 at 15:05

    Knock the US its easy but those doing the knocking what have they done. The French who onced colonised this small country allowed it to become the poor country it is, allowed it to become lawless and self destructive, they have no right to criticise. My only concern is the ability of the us army to organise a civilian disaster relief. I do not feel american generals have the nous to or understanding to organise such a task. They should hand over the organisation to the civilian relief agencies that carry out this work daily all over the world whilst the army continues to supply the helicopters, armed escort of supplies to the most needy areas and hospitals and stop anymore politicians arriving until the relief is fully underway and showing positive. You might say that this requires a analytical mind of the military kind to organise but, this is not about destroying an army or its infrastrucure, its about feeding and sheltering soldiers who carry there own food and shelter its about feeding and sheltering a displaced people abandoned by its own leaders who are either dead or have fled, its about getting into the areas of devastation quicker than at present, removing the rotting corpses before disease becomes the master, proper liaison with the rescuers who are in the the most needy areas and ask them what is needed now, accessibility and the best way of getting it to them. Building up supplies at a holding station does not help the needy, dropping food from the sky is great as long as there is someone on the ground to organise and ensure fair distribution. What about Britain? shelterbox has 1600 boxes capable of providing housing for 16000 people yet cannot get a plane to fly them out where is the govt and why is it not ensuring there is transport available. Back to the US at least they got there and are trying to get things moving, the politics of this move is for another time.

    • 38 Pat
      January 21, 2010 at 02:00

      The Americans are the closest, so you should have got there first. I can’t believe a lot of what I’m reading here. When someone actually gets the airport open, rather than just have planes flying around unable to land I’m sure more aid will come.

  25. 39 BRINDA
    January 19, 2010 at 15:06

    First “good work America”. Good deed should never go unnoticed. Unless a person goes through a disaster does not know /understand or appreciate the help that is provided.

    To the part where America has occupied the airport bit,,, i am sure that is what the Haiti government accepted.

    Are we not judging too early.

    We need to judge/comment /criticize when all is well in Hatti and America refuses to leave. Until then there is a genuine cause and a genuine response.So lets concentrate on helping them now and rest of the time pass topics for later.

  26. January 19, 2010 at 15:19

    Yeah, Lubna. And those Indonesians, their tsunami disaster was also man-made because there were no tsunami warning system and every citizen should have been as educated as that 10-year-old British girl. Except, oh wait — that would have required money that the impoverished country didn’t have. Sorry, doll. I can’t blame poor countries for the results of their natural disasters.

    And even if we did blame their governments for being corrupt and neglectful (which many are), we can’t let the people suffer the consequences. A natural disaster is one of the only ones that will allow us to get into a country and distribute aid. Do you think, short of an invasion, most governments would allow us to do that otherwise? We’ve tried in Africa — the politics of distributing humanitarian relief are enormous and as a result often ineffective. If only we *could* go directly wherever the pain is. But we can’t.

    January 19, 2010 at 15:21

    The response was swift but of mobilization resquerers was poor and these do not have to be soldiers in all cases if you are talking about the US; the life saving part was a big failure and this is where I thought they count.
    I appreciate contributions and pledges from the US people and the government; though there is no final report yet as to what it will achieve. I hope too that most of that money will not be swallowed in the void of bureaucracy and that it will not be expended on reconstuction of the failed model of the Haiti of pre-earthquaqe era.
    The world turns to US for help yes but don’t forget to mention the other countries – Europeans, and Asians as well as South Americans – Africa has not featured and I am ashamed of that.
    That was a tickling heading thank you.

  28. 42 Roy, Washington DC
    January 19, 2010 at 15:31

    They’re a neighbor in need. That’s all there is to it. This isn’t about politics, who donates the most, who thanks who, or anything else — it’s about helping the people of Haiti. I’m certain we would be doing the same thing if this happened in, say, Cuba. Petty political debates over who should be doing what distract us from what is really important in a time like this.

  29. January 19, 2010 at 15:32

    Well, You are talking of US government,now loot a US citizen,though born in Haiti.
    Haitian-American Lt. Ramses Brunache was supposed to be the one in danger in Afghanistan. Now his sister is dead, his homeland is devastated, and he’s trying to return to help save Haiti.

    Brunache found out about the earthquake in a 3 a.m. phone call from his wife at the base where he’s stationed in dusty Kandahar province, the Taliban’s southern heartland. He’s been here since July as a communications officer with the 97th Military Police Battalion out of Fort Riley, Kansas.

    “She told me something happened in Haiti, and my sister is not going to make it,” he said.’-
    Any more doubts on US?

  30. January 19, 2010 at 15:33

    The above news is from Washington Post 18 January 2010.

  31. 45 Shaukat Hayat Daha
    January 19, 2010 at 15:36

    This is a time of destruction and calamity for the people of Haiti and it is the moral duty of the every human being to help fellow beings in this time and if America is helping those people it is not something new or extra ordinary .

  32. 46 T
    January 19, 2010 at 15:45

    The truth is other countries were there first (China, Cuba, Venezuela and others). Yet the MSM refuses to acknowledge this. Why? Also, when was the last time they mentioned Aristede (who Clinton helped to overthrow)?

  33. 47 Uneza
    January 19, 2010 at 16:00

    well its very good thing that the US is helping out those in need in Haiti, but i think we all know that the US is on the top of the list for being the most hated country in the world, so they do these kind of things to kind of highlight some good things abt them in the media. and i agree with Lubna, the US or its allies have been involved in terrible and horrific tragedies all over the world, and no one cares abt those tragedies.

  34. 48 gary indiana
    January 19, 2010 at 16:16

    There are unpleasant facts associated with every disaster. For Haiti, that fact is poverty magnifies all other miseries. Some have commented concerning qualifications for “catastrophe.” They already know that all unnatural deaths are catastrophes.
    As for criticism of the US aid effort (intervention, occupation, invasion or whatever else those who aren’t fond of us may wish to call it), I’ll listen when your nation’s rate of charitable giving (even internally to your own countrymen) matches half the per capita rate of global giving by US citizens.

  35. 49 Gary Paudler
    January 19, 2010 at 16:20

    While everybody wishes that the aid distribution was faster and more effective, it looks like the US response to the earthquake in Haiti has been better than the response to Hurricane Katrina on our own Gulf coast and I am pleased that the US seems to have taken the lead on helping Haiti. The US has shameful history in Haitian affairs (France might be a bit more circumspect as she throws stones of criticism) and I hope that, beyond immediate help for the quake victims, the US will do everything necessary to help Haiti become a functioning and sustainable nation with social equality and just government. For many, myself included sometimes, criticism of the US government is nearly automatic – and often well-deserved – but it is my hope (there’s that word…) that the US will stick with Haiti and make her an example of the good things of which America is capable.

  36. 50 charlie in the states
    January 19, 2010 at 16:32

    The French Government Minister needs to remember if it wasn’t for the United States they’d be drinking Weizen and eating Schnitzel every day.

  37. 51 Chintan in Houston
    January 19, 2010 at 16:32

    No one has committed to more aid, more helicopters, more soldiers, more medicines, more doctors, more people helping victims on the ground then USA.

    The claims made by the French and Venezuelan government officials are baseless. With the extent of devastation no amount of aid will be sufficient.
    Media won’t show how many people had a meal yesterday night compared to the night before but show injured people and hungry kids on the street.

    Does anyone remember the 12th Jan show on WHYS from Afghanistan “How do you measure happiness?” where the people from Afghanistan were thankful to US involvement in the country. But usually all we hear about is drone missiles and suicide bombings.

    Kudos to USA, keep up the good work!

    • 52 Shaukat Hayat Daha
      January 19, 2010 at 16:43

      yes dear ,

      but on the other hand us is fighting on the largest level and has killed a lot of people without any justification also.that is the other side of the picture and it cannot be ruled out .us should now i think change its policies and end wars against innocent people in iraq and afghanistan also.what is your kind opinion:?

  38. 53 N.J.
    January 19, 2010 at 16:42

    Yeah, I am. I usually am not in less critical circumstances. The real problem tends to come from citizens analyzing the situation from the comfort of the couch potato position, and this puts pressure on the politicians who are are about to face election or re-election campaigns to place less weight on the priorities of those on the ground, often risking their lives, for the opinions of those who have no expertise in emergency response at all.

    My feeling is to get out of the way, stop back seat driving, and allow those in the drivers seat to pay attention to the road.

  39. January 19, 2010 at 16:47

    The shock wave is over.Now;let’s see who we can point a finger at.That’s usually the way it goes,is it not.The haitian President signed over the airport to the U.S.They did not commandeer it.U.S.Is only 200 miles away;so who would be better placed? It it is an international effort,lets hope it stays that way.

  40. 55 Eric in France
    January 19, 2010 at 16:47

    Hello there,

    it seems to be business as usual. Being organised to go to war is already difficult for that huge bureaucratic army. Disaster relief, intervention and coordination requires structure and agility in the conduct. Better send a mammoth in a porcelain shop and hoping it will all go fine!

    The UN should send an experimented team to take charge instead of the drop-over-and-lets-god-sort-it-out. Those shooting-from-the-heap cowboys remind what was said of the Soviet Army during the WWII: it is a road roller once it’s on its way, it just takes a bit of time to warm up.

    Anyway. With the current organisation, I will not send a penny to support such mess.

    Take care

    • 56 gary indiana
      January 19, 2010 at 17:24

      It is well to remember the principal benifit of giving isn’t to those in need, but to those who give. And, As Ghandi said, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Just a thought to brighten your day…

  41. 57 John Henry
    January 19, 2010 at 16:48

    It is not fair to sit in judgement of the US efforts to assist the Hatian people in Haiti.

    The USA is in a position to help and it is doing so when help is most needed.

    Now is not the time to politcize these efforts. It is the time to indulge in humanitarian efforts to ensure that Haiti is rescued from its present plight of devastation – physically, mentally and spiritually.

    The next step is to establish the groundwork for sustainable development, a role which the international community must be engaged in.

  42. 58 dan
    January 19, 2010 at 16:49

    During your nightmares about the US causing all the suffering and intrigue in the world I wonder when you awake who you would nominate to fill the role and do asll the good the United States has accomplished.
    Perhaps the radicals in your country who constantly blow up God’s houses and slaughter innocents are more dear to you.
    Then again there are the lovable Taliban who murdered hundreds earlier this week.
    What about you Lubna? Which plane did you get on to help those who need medical support?
    America gives of itself but there are always those that can only criticize America and are blind to the suffering and destruction caused by your fellow Iraqis and lack of any substantive action of your own people.
    America is 360 Million people but there are, as you have reminded us many times, 1 BILLION Muslims. Where are they in this crisis?…. For that matter where are you? …. bit you feel superior to be able criticize America.

    • January 19, 2010 at 18:10

      Hello you…
      1stly, I didn’t say at all that the US government and its loyal allies are the cause of ALL the pain and the suffering in the world, did I ?! You read my post well before you start getting all angry with me OK ?! And we ordinary Iraqi citizens got to know those evil religious fanatics AFTER the US led invasion of our Iraq in 2003… And of course before 2003 we used to be ruled by Saddam Hussein, the evil dictator and heartless criminal whose regime had got all the support it needed from the US and Europe since 1968 and till 1991, and even after the 1st Gulf war in 1991 when 14 of 18 Iraqi provinces uprose against the Saddami regime the US army was so close to them and yet it did absolutely nothing to help them out and eventually Saddam got back to power and his forces committed so many evil crimes against ordinary Iraqi citizens, not to mention of course the Al Anfal evil crime against innocent Iraqi Kurds in 1987, which the US government and Europe chose to turn a blind eye to because simply Saddam was fighting Islamic Iran on their behalf… The only principle the US government abides to is to go with what suits their own interests, and that’s why the US government has no moral superiority whatsoever… We as Iraqis have learned that the hard way… I do realise that this post is a bit off-topic, but I had to respond to those absurd allegations…

      • 60 Tracy in Portland,OR
        January 19, 2010 at 22:38

        In Haiti we just want to help. And sometimes a military organization has the best command structure and mobility to quickly respond. But Lubna you are right on about the previous conflict. Leaving those who rose up to fight with the US against Saddam during the first conflict in 1991 still sits painfully in the heart of many soldiers who where there. Citizens over here may have forgotten. My husband was there. We abandoned them. Those of us not in positions of power did not make that decision. But I feel a need to apologize anyway. I am sorry we didn’t fix things the right way the first time.

    • January 19, 2010 at 18:15

      And also, you’re right about the nightmare that me and my fellow Iraqi citizens have been having since the US led invasion of our Iraq in 2003 and till now… After all you go and lose over 15 of your loved ones since 2003 (ALL were alive before 2003) and then you get to lecture me about nightmares…

      • 62 Saut
        January 19, 2010 at 20:21

        I had watched much TV footage from Iraq and I always thought that the Iraqis are the happiest people in the world. In 1980-1988, there were the TV pictures of civilian Iraqis cheering Iraqi soldiers marching off to face Iranians. In 1990, there were the pictures of rapturous Iraqi civilians celebrating the liberation of Kuwait. There was even a friendly tete a tete between Sadam Hussein and a Western boy-child on Iraqi state TV. After the 9/11 attack, the Iraqis were shown cheering and dancing with joy. In Second Gulf War, Iraqi civilians and soldiers cheered at the site of downed coalition planes. Same Iraqis cheered when coalition forces drove on to Baghdad. When Sadam’s statue was felt, there were the Iraqis cheering again. Interestingly, the Iraqis are most bellicose when coalition forces were in charge… there were just no more joy and cheers.

    • 63 Mick of England
      January 20, 2010 at 01:37

      Spank on the money Dan, Well said!!!

  43. 64 jens
    January 19, 2010 at 16:55

    i think what is easily forgotten in terms of live saving interventions, is that an entire town basicly got flattened within seconds. The resulting injuries and restricted amount of air was going to kill thousands. having done extensive avalanche rescue training, all i can contribute is that the resuce of covered people very quickly becomes a recovery mission, in case of avalanches the survival drops within 20 minutes dramatically. there was simply not enough time to get enough people to Haiti to save the thousands of lives. this will always be the case in such missions, especially if one deals with an impovrished nation.

  44. 65 James
    January 19, 2010 at 17:02

    POSTURING! We should be in the position of being on the ground in Haiti acting instead of reacting from the US and being unable to act quickly. I expect few people will call us on it but that is what I see. The actions of the news media, being in your face 24/7 makes it even more obvious even for those folks slow to catch on. In my mind this disaster is not much different from Katrina?
    I don’t know why, but we don’t seem to be on top of our game over the last 20 to 25 years! It’s like the universe has decided to make it clear to the world that we’re not in the game any longer!

    “Once again, in a crisis, the world turns to the U.S. to sort it out….” WE FAILED AGAIN! We should have been in Haiti years ago. It is not done, more is going to happen?

  45. 66 Frank in the USA
    January 19, 2010 at 17:11

    To all the critics and USA bashers, I have good news. Many of us here are beginning to vote for candidates that will hopefully work toward reducing foreign aid and assistance, and toward keeping US tax dollars at home.

    Massachusetts today is on the verge of a historic political shift–putting a conservative Republican into the US Senate seat formerly occupied for 47 years by ultra-liberal Edward Kennedy.

    Yes, we know you don’t want us mixing in your affairs, and frankly, it’s becoming far too expensive. This is a solution that, once it is put into place, will keep everyone happy for years to come.

    • 67 Ibrahim in UK
      January 19, 2010 at 18:32

      The vast majority foreign aid US tax dollars go towards illegal wars (war on Iraq), occupiers (Israel) and dictators (Egypt and Jordan), and have been doing so for decades under Republicans and Democrats alike.

  46. 68 Alan in Arizona
    January 19, 2010 at 17:11

    I can’t think of a better country to establish civilized management of the very limited normal resources in the country. Now throw in all the help from other countries and you already have more food and water than the average Haitian would have seen in years.

    The only problem is there are to many Generals ( wannabee Leaders from various countries and relief factions) and not enough Workers willing to take orders and work out the problems!

    At least with the US in charge I feel better about my relief donations going to those who need it and not into someones pocket in the Haitian government!

  47. 69 jens
    January 19, 2010 at 17:15

    Eric in France,

    thank you for generouse support of people who need help and this completly unjustified rant about america. as far as i have seen it was the local police shooting at looters and not the US military.

    your suggestion of sending an experimental UN team sounds like a perfect receipt for disaster. this is not an experiment, it is a real tragedy.

    as a little side note, military forces are trained in recovery and protection and any UN team would consist of???? Uhhhh military peronel. nevermind, USA bashing is obviously still en vouge in france.

  48. 70 eSCe
    January 19, 2010 at 17:16

    Thank you US but during the Indian ocean tsunami before the US came in , the situation was under control South East Asian countries and Australian had the situation under control. With a natural spirit of co-operation these countries with limited resources got things in full swing in 4 days. The US navy came a day later and did help a lot but the difference now is US wants to dominate. If you people did not hear of the efforts by other countries is that western media only reports on US and British roles.

  49. 71 eSCe
    January 19, 2010 at 17:26

    Hey americans. Don’t worry to much about the $100 million aid bill. Like they buy wholesale but price things at the price in the 7eleven. Definitely not at Wal mart prices.
    They will cost in the marines salary even if they are not involved they still get paid.

  50. 72 steve
    January 19, 2010 at 17:27

    To the lefties: If you notice, George Bush isn’t President, hasn’t been for a year tomorrow, yet they are still bashing the US. They HATE America, doesn’t matter who leads us, they hate us, when will you accept this?

  51. 73 Anthony
    January 19, 2010 at 17:39

    @ guykaks

    Yup. That’s what everyone says… until something crazy happens and they need our help.

    @ piscator

    What a bunch of jerk we are, just sending 3k troops and 14k meals. What is the rest of the world sending again?

    The only problem I have with this (and everything else) is we’re charging all this to our credit card from the “Bank of China”

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  52. 74 John in Salem
    January 19, 2010 at 17:40

    It’s true that Americans tend to be opportunists. When this initial relief crisis is over Haiti is going to receive billions of dollars of U.S. money and technical assistance to rebuild it’s entire infrastructure. New roads, bridges, government buildings, sanitation systems, water supply, power grids, schools, hospitals…
    The idea of occupation is absurd – Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemispere because it doesn’t have any significant natural resources to exploit. We’re going to take advantage of a political window of opportunity to do something that is simply the right thing to do and we’re going to ignore everyone who mistrusts our intentions unless they’re offering to help.
    So either pick up a shovel or shut up and get out of the way.

  53. 76 viola
    January 19, 2010 at 17:58

    Ask which country is in the best position to quickly help Haiti. No help should be turned away and, yes, it is irritating to be in a line waiting to land and have to wait while someone “more important” gets to go ahead of you. Probably if Sarkozy had gone, he, too, would’ve been able to land ahead of the team. He is not famous for his humility, nor is France itself.

    I assume the French medical team, God bless them, did get to land. Forget the blow to the pride and get on with helping.

  54. 77 Linda from Italy
    January 19, 2010 at 18:03

    Tricky one this, lots of pros and cons, and I think all the harm the US has done and is doing in the Middle East and Afghanistan should be left out of the equation, although, by the way “charlie in the states”, contrary to Hollywood legend, the US did not win WW2 single handed with John Wayne leading the cavalry.
    Pros: the Haitian govt invited the US in; Haiti is vey close to the US; The US has a lot of equipment and other resources; could anyone have done any better given the amount of destruction and lack of viable infrastructure?.
    The main con is the military emphasis and the embarrassingly paternalistic, if not downright patronising attitude of some of these military guys. I notice Bill Clinton tried to undo some of that harm in his statement that the Haitians were behaving quite well by not rioting (I paraphrase).
    I really do dislike this accent on “security” and the expectation of “lawlessness”, meaning that nothing is allowed out of storage without guards armed to the teeth in case the (starving) natives get restless and take matters into their own hands to ensure their own survival – surely what in other contexts would be described as a highly positive “can-do” reaction.
    Interestingly, on your programme last week air drops were being dismissed as counterproductive, but yesterday they seemed to be back in vogue. I find it odd that these air drops are apparently going to “well policed” areas, near the city, the very areas these should not be needed for logistical reasons.

  55. 78 audre
    January 19, 2010 at 18:05

    It looks like something strange is going on here. There are more countries helping out in Haiti than the U.S. China, the U.K. and France were there very early on, as I understand.

    From my perspective, it might have been better if a non government agency had taken the lead.

    However, I don’t think we can take issue with the fact that the people need all the help they can get from anyone, any country. I am certain if I were there it wouldn’t bother me a bit who distributed the aid.

  56. 79 Ibrahim in UK
    January 19, 2010 at 18:10

    @ Lubna re: human-made vs natural disasters.
    When the sanctions against Iraq in the 90s starved over 1million people to death (half of which were children), and caused untol suffering, the only US reaction was a statement claiming that it was a “price worth paying”. There was no international sympathy or aid or telethlons or media coverage (Western media anyway).

    Compare that with the immediate sympathy and charity towards the victims of the Tsunami and the Haiti Earthquake.

    I think the answer is in the media portrayal. Ordinary people genuinely care about victims of any disaster and will respond once they are told of the scale of the suffering. The media picks and reports on suffering that is in-line with the political agenda of it’s masters and imposes a media blackout on anything that challenges it. (e.g. the Iraq sanctions, or the media blackout against Gaza)

  57. 80 piscator
    January 19, 2010 at 18:11

    If the US is not a bit more proactive they are going to get a lot of stick for the way this operation is going when the wash up comes.
    Yes, I believe they had the best of intentions, yes they were in fast, yes they have the kit – but they have been sitting about for quite a few days now, and are crowing about delivering about 10 tons of food and 15 tons of water. The attitude seemed to be that the Haitians can all starve unless they are prepared to queue up nicely for their handout.. The people at the airport and on the ships should have just been running food and water onto the beaches and letting people take it away. At least it would have stopped the bandits stealing the remaining food from the ordinary people. So what if the crims are well fed, they are not the important ones – it’s the women and children.

    All of this hanging about smacks a bit of Anzio, and lots of other bungled US ops, where they landed unopposed, but lost the initiative by huddling at the beachhead, until the bad guys got organised.

  58. 81 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 19, 2010 at 18:28

    The USA is in a “damned if you do/damned if you don’t” situation regarding how little or how much help they provide Haiti.

    What I have NOT been impressed with is the BBCWS’s coverage of the disaster response, by its constant effort to assess blame for the “slow” response.” I’m from Southern California and have seen post-quake chaos, even in prosperous and well-prepared areas. In Haiti both the airport and the sea port were knocked out and getting rescue teams and supplies in is a logistical nightmare.

    Whatever the pluses and minuses of the USA’s disaster response, they are responding, and in a big way. I think it’s time to stop the America-bashing and say “Thanks for the effort” instead.

  59. 82 Andrew in Australia
    January 19, 2010 at 18:29

    I don’t know if the world should thank the US, but since they are doing something as opposed to nothing, it is hard to condemn them for that. Sure they might be pushing their weight around and appointing themselves as overseers, but someone has to do it to maintain some order right?

    What I think is unsavoury are the photo opps that people like Clinton embark on. How does passing over 2 or 3 boxes help anything. These people’s presence is not essential and in some ways insulting.

  60. 83 TomK in Mpls
    January 19, 2010 at 18:36

    As usual, we are the hero and the villain. And judging to quickly is unfair. Once I had people holler at me for chasing away an albino squirrel in an open park. I quietly let them finish, then I pointed to the hawk circling overhead. Then they got as quiet as I was.

  61. 84 Roberto
    January 19, 2010 at 18:38

    RE “” However, on the other hand, aren’t relief efforts at most natural disasters handled by NGOs, not marines and politicians? What gives? “”

    ———— I would point Bob in the direction of the scale of the disaster, estimated 1.2 million homeless with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and an estimated 200,000 dead or injured with almost no infrastructure remaining.

    Too much for beleaguered NGOs.

    I should also point people who criticize in the general direction of the way politics is traditionally carried out by, yup, “PEOPLE.” When are you, the people, going to start producing better citizens who put better people in charge of politics so we don’t have these endless posturings, frauds, and bunglings which are the inevitable aftermath of these natural disasters?

  62. 85 jens
    January 19, 2010 at 18:42

    linda from Italy,

    contrary to your believe nobody in the states believes they won WWII on their own. it is this lovely euro-arrogance which is repetativly used to bash america at every corner possible. fact is that the war would not have been won without the involvment of the USA.

    how else would you guard supplies than by military? looting in these situations is a major risk, since the looters then control the supply and will inveriably try to make money from it. the military is probably the best traing force to cope with such situations. whom else would you suggest. even the UN is sending in more military and police forces. why?

    • 86 Linda from Italy
      January 19, 2010 at 19:03

      @ Jens, I did have my tongue firmly in my cheek over the WW2 bit, don’t be too oversensitive, it’s just that this is the impression Hollywood has tended to create and, conspiracy theories aside, the US only came in post Pearl Harbour.

      The “looting” question came up last night and I rather hoped that would have gone further as it is rather like loaded terminology like the “terrorist vs freedom fighter” question, depends on your point of view.
      If I, my family and friends were starving and I could see a food mountain on the wrong side of the barbed wire, I would quite readily turn into one of those looters.
      I do find it a bit ironic that so many Americans get so uptight about the “rule of law” when it is someone else, especially a Third World country most of whose inhabitants are of a darker skin colour and yet allow any old Tom Dick or Harry to tote guns and whose very nation was founded on armed rebellion and the lore of the Wild West

      • 87 Pat
        January 21, 2010 at 02:43

        I remember reading an article after Hurricane Katrina struck, there were two photos with the same story. One photo depicted a white couple up to their chests in flood water carrying bread milk and other supplies from the store, this was labelled as survival. The other photo showed a black couple carrying virtually the same items and was labelled as looting. What’s the difference?

  63. 88 Alan in Arizona
    January 19, 2010 at 19:12

    INVASION disguised as AID!

    Dictator Chavez should be taking notes. Venezuela probably isn’t any better prepared for this type of disaster than Haiti was. Would he want the USA’s and all the other participating countries aid under the same circumstances?

    I think people’s criticism should be held in check unless they are helping or until it’s over, then let them judge.

  64. 89 Mike in Seattle
    January 19, 2010 at 19:18

    I’d like to ask your guests why there is such a need to have big name presenters of each different news network rather than pooling from a handful of correspondents.

    What is gained by doing this that cannot be gained from having pooled correspondents, at least until things have calmed down a bit?

  65. 90 Tom D Ford
    January 19, 2010 at 19:25

    “Once again, in a crisis, the world turns to the U.S. to sort it out….”

    Hmm, evidently the US media turns to the US “efforts” and have ignored the fact that the rest of the world has responded according to their abilities.

    Even nations that are political enemies of the US, like Venezuela and Cuba have responded.

    The US might be the “bull in the china shop” but People around the world are helping the Haitians.

    In other words, “The World” turned to The People of The World to sort it out.

    And I also note that: “God doesn’t help People, People help People”.

  66. 91 Sabina
    January 19, 2010 at 19:26

    The US has to be conscious of our current reputation in Haiti – as a university student who has run a project in northern Haiti for 3 years, I was told the story by a leader of a local peasant movement of the time USAID in a “humanitarian” move killed off the indigenous Creole pigs that many Haitians relied on as a part of their livelihoods after an outbreak of swine disease in the neighboring DR. To this day those communities were wary of American assistance.
    I think we have to move forward to build a constructive relationship, but we must consciously ensure this humanitarian effort is setting a new standard of respect for the Haitian people, and not a continuation of old and harmful ways.

  67. January 19, 2010 at 19:31

    The world will never fully understand just how much the U.S. taxpayer does for the rest of humanity until we are no longer able, or willing, to send such aid. I would hate to see the suffering if we were to stop (but we will have to before much longer) but when that day comes I think the world will suddenly wake up and realize how much of the load the U.S. taxpayer has been carrying on behalf of the world these past 100 years.

  68. 93 Phyllis, Naples ,Fl.
    January 19, 2010 at 19:31

    Thank you CNN.
    Andreson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are welcome to any disaster.
    Some people ‘talk’ and some people ‘do’. CNN ‘does’.
    CNN has set the template for how the media could be effective.

  69. 94 jens
    January 19, 2010 at 19:32


    the point is that aid has to be distributed and not ransaked. i understand the sentiemnt, but you also need to understand that it will not be the average guy who holding his baby who will be looting the place, but most likely gangs who will then hold their own people for ransom.

    do think it would be fair to just let people next to the storage place have access? equal distribution is the key otherwise the entire place is just going to explode. haiti has seen more than one food riot.

    • 95 TomK in Mpls
      January 19, 2010 at 20:17

      Desperation changes what people do. The ‘average guy who holding his baby’ is just as likely as anyone to join such a gang. We need to plan for the worst and adapt to the best. It is simple human nature, not industrialized propriety.

  70. 96 viola
    January 19, 2010 at 19:34

    Like it or not, the structure of the U.S. military makes it the most efficient organization to mobilize and deliver aid to Haiti. It has the needed resources and manpower. It would be awful not to use them.

    Wish it could’ve been faster but I wonder how much longer it would take without them.


  71. 97 Dawn
    January 19, 2010 at 19:34

    Please address this issue as you cut short a gentleman who called in yesterday with this legitimate concern.

    Amazingly, Oxfam has stated that needed supplies are not being dropped into Haiti via helicopter because only the strongest people will receive them, while those most in need will not. I cannot believe we are hearing this. While hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of supplies are sitting waiting to be transported to Haiti, Haitians are being denied access to these donated supplies based on the assumption that they cannot not manage on our own. How can judgments like this be made??? Given the dire conditions that are worsening in many ways, can we assume that those who are more physically able to access these supplies, after taking care of themselves, will not help those who are not able? It falls in line with the unfortunate comments being made by various organizations and media sources, stating that people in these areas are “looting.” What are we thinking? People are starving and dying and in need of the most basic supplies. What human being would not break in to a building to secure these things? The Hatian people need these supplies as quikly as we can deliver them, and in every way possible.

  72. 98 Jonathan (stormy San Francisco)
    January 19, 2010 at 19:35

    @Linda, terrorist vs. freedom fighter is not a hollow semantic question as you state. For whose freedom does bin Laden fight?

  73. 99 jens
    January 19, 2010 at 19:36


    so what has gun laws in the usa to do with the earthquake in Haiti. i go shopping and pay, i don’t walk into harris teeter shoot up the place and leave with 10 lobster tails, a can of caviar and some blinis.

    to be blunt. do you rather have the usa and un forces in charge of the food/aid or gangs of hoodlums….

  74. 100 Tom D Ford
    January 19, 2010 at 19:36

    “Are you impressed by America’s response to the Haiti crisis?”

    I can understand why some people consider this an invasion, The US Marines are an invasion force, in the words of their spokespersons, “trained to kill people and break things”.

    I don’t understand why US Marines are in Haiti, this is not at all their type of mission.

    I am always impressed by the US Coast Guard and I am often impressed by what the US Navy, US Army, and US Air Force have the potential to do.

    • 101 Kiloseven
      January 20, 2010 at 07:50

      Tom D Ford, please note the USMC are the ‘quick reaction’ force most readily available. They will be replaced with more appropriate forces once the port’s repaired, but until then, the Marines can do the most while using the least supplies. Army civil support forces use a much greater amount of supplies per day than the grimy smelly jarhead; when you know there’s a logistical problem, sending squaddies who are trained to get by with less is only logical. Do. The. Math.

  75. 102 Anthony
    January 19, 2010 at 19:39

    I don’t understand. Why would we want to take over Haiti? Do they have oil or a strategic place for war?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  76. 103 Salman
    January 19, 2010 at 19:39

    Its amazing how people sitting in UK and outside Haiti talking about who will control Haiti and what!! when the matter of concern is 100,000+ dead people and food for millions. Shame on you all!! (brings politics at the wrong time)

  77. 104 steve
    January 19, 2010 at 19:41

    Should France send their troops instead of that will make the PC people feel better since French soldiers have a history of surrendering?

    Every nation and groups of nations have a past. Only 100 years have gone by since the US and UK have fired shots at each other, so we have a past as well. France has quite a past with Haiti as well. And again, that commenter is coming from someone who hasn’t lived in Haiti for a very long time, and has since lived in Canada and the UK, places where antiamerican sentiment are quite high. What are Haitians in Haiti stating?

    Do these conspiracy people think we’re going to take over Haiti for the beaches? They have no resources. Why would the US want to occupy Haiti? The forces are there to help save lives and maintain order. If you have such problems with it, why are you sitting in a comfortable studio rather than being in Haiti, being on the streets and helping people out, amongst all the dead bodies? it’s easier to complain in comfort, isn’t it?

  78. 105 steve
    January 19, 2010 at 19:43

    @ Tom

    The US Marines are in Haiti because they are ship based soldiers, historically part of the Navy. They are more used to being transported by ships, and working off ships. Haiti is an Island. They get there by ships or by helicopters or airplanes.

  79. 106 Mike in Oregon
    January 19, 2010 at 19:44

    The reason the U.S. took over the airport is because the Haitians cannot do it well! There was a huge bottleneck and they could not handle it. Every report says since Americans took control aid is moving!

    Do not blame the U.S. for forcing the Haitians out…they were incompetent.

  80. 107 Mr. Kawakubo {PORTLAND}
    January 19, 2010 at 19:45

    Any reasonable account of Haiti—the culture, the place, the history and the economy—on the whole is not positive. To state this is being statistically accurate and honest. The overreaction by many, to accurate depictions of the country is embarrassing. If you live in economic and political despair it is bound to effect more then the pocketbook.

    It is pretty obvious that the breadth of the disaster would not have been as wide if the country was not already in such turmoil. This doesn’t mean Haitians are bad people—it just means they have many issues to overcome do to circumstances, perhaps, largely beyond their control.

  81. 108 jens
    January 19, 2010 at 19:47

    i think the point is missed that if there is no control the strongest and best armed gangs of haiti will control the country and that cannot be in the interest of the community as whole.

  82. 109 radical1
    January 19, 2010 at 19:49

    Right now America are doing the right thing. The world should give credit where it is due. I am often critical of the US but realise that in the circumstances they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    In some months time people will be saying that it is too early for the Americans to leave and that since they made the move to go and assist they should stay the full course. That is exactly why there is a reluctance on the part of the general public to assist at road accidents.

    Let’s get real people. Who ever heard of an invasion of a country under these circumstances. Even in business conventional wisdom dictates that people favour going concerns.

    Whether it is turned into a media circus, people gain political mileage or not the fact is there are lives to be saved. Do what you can and shut up about the positive efforts of others. Ultimately Haitians and no-one else should determine what is done for their people.

  83. 110 Ian
    January 19, 2010 at 19:50

    These accusations of the US “invading” Haiti are absurd. I don’t mean this in an arrogant, condescending or patronizing way, I mean it logically: What possible benefit could the US reap by throwing limited time, people and money on the most impoverished country in the Western hemisphere when we have prior engagements in the Middle East that have yet to be resolved?

    From a cost-benefit perspective, a US “invasion” and “occupation” of Haiti would be of great cost to the US and little or no benefit.

  84. 111 steve
    January 19, 2010 at 19:53

    The US didn’t do anything for 7 days? Yes, you get 30 seconds of bashing the US, and that’s it.

    I guess he ignored the our carrier was there, that the UNSN Comfort was mobilized and left port within 36 hours of being ordered by the President to do so. how many hospital ships have YOU sent and do they magically appear instantly? Last time I checked, ships sail, so they cannot arrive as quickly as airplanes can. Sorry we don’t have star trek technology like you do.

  85. 112 Jonathan (stormy San Francisco)
    January 19, 2010 at 19:54

    Oh, horrors! The US installed communications first thing? What else should they have done? What a bozo. Thanks for cutting him off, Ros!

  86. 113 Jonathan (stormy San Francisco)
    January 19, 2010 at 19:56

    I guess the US is using the tragedy to steal Haiti’s famously abundant resources–oil and the rest.

  87. 114 steve
    January 19, 2010 at 19:57

    Yeah, having no communications would be a great thing if you want airplanes crashing into each other, denying the people of the cargos and adding to the death tolls….

  88. 115 Amy
    January 19, 2010 at 20:22

    It’s disenheartrning to hear how many people are pointing an accusing finger at the US and what we are doing in Haiti. If no one else is stepping up to help, of course it makes sense that we would estsblish a base of operation and communication. Would people expect us to flounder around just so we don’t offend? We are offering help that really, our country can ill afford. I wonder what detractors expect from us? The media is no barometer to judge a people by.

  89. 116 Fazeela from Trinidad
    January 19, 2010 at 20:27

    I am glad the US in particular, France, Britain, Japan, Kuwait and all those other countries reacted instantaneously after the earthquake. If it was left up to the CARICOM, (Caribbean Communities) of which Haiti is a member, to make the first move, I shudder to think of the consequences.
    The leaders of the Caribbean islands have shown the people of Haiti that they cannot counted on in a time of crisis. Among the people of the Caribbean however, action was swift. NGOs, businesses, faith based groups, everybody has contributed in cash and kind.

  90. 117 Tom D Ford
    January 19, 2010 at 20:28

    Well, Ted Koppel on NPR has explained the presence of US Marines in Haiti, they are there to “stabilize” the country and prevent Haitians from trying to get to the US as refugees. He explained it in a way that makes some sense.

  91. 118 jens
    January 19, 2010 at 20:29

    what is more disheartning is that there is an under current of USA bashing by certain people. meanwhile the gangbangers have escaped priosn and restablished their thiefdoms, commiting armed robbery, rape and stree fights, but apparently that OK, as long as one can bash the USA for sending security forces. haiti has a long tradition of violence, mix this with poverty and the explosion and more death is not a question of if but rather when.

  92. 119 Tom D Ford
    January 19, 2010 at 20:53

    Here’s the CIA World Fact Book page on Haiti:


    From it:

    “US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted apparel exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to the US. HOPE II, passed in October 2008, has further improved the export environment for the apparel sector by extending preferences to 2018; the apparel sector accounts for two-thirds of Haitian exports and nearly one-tenth of GDP …”

    Cheap-labor for sewing apparel!

    Well, there you have it.

    • 120 Bert
      January 20, 2010 at 02:03

      Right. It would be better, instead, to NOT import apparel from Haiti. The US should NOT create an export market for Haiti, heaven forbid.

      There are many ways to twist things so they all come out sounding bad. It’s an art form, really. Such as, for example, pretending that the carnage among Moslems is the fault of the US. Even though it has been going on a lot longer than the US has been in existence. So, whatever ails anyone must be the fault of the US.

      Not that I’m saying that US meddling is all virtue, by any means. I am not one to pretend that governments don’t represent the cultural norms of their people. And in that vein, I certainly don’t believe the US should have taken it upon itself to “save” the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein. Rather, let that regime die of its own weight, when and if Iraqis decided, just as the Soviet Union was allowed to implode of its own accord. People usually do have the government that they asked for, or “deserve,” if you will. Government officials do not arrive from outer space. They grew up within that country’s culture, believe it or not.

  93. 121 kpelly hezekiah
    January 19, 2010 at 21:12

    the US is just doing fine here. I wish they could do more than this. As for those ugly noises being made by France and other self pontificated countries who want to be recognised my advice to them is to get involved like the US and use their public relationship skills to let us know what they are also doing. Haiti needs all the help we can offer it.

  94. 122 Iain
    January 19, 2010 at 22:16

    Hey, get off their backs. The US intervention should be welcomed, their charitable and humanitarian missions across the globe welcomed.

    Of course when certain politicians get involved directly things can get messy, so what, that does not detract from the effort. A french field hospital does not get in when it wants, fine, maybe an error has been made but an over the top ballistic response by a fairly junior French minister is ridiculous. I suspect even now Sarkosy is kicking his backside for his comments.

    I love France, I love the French approach to many things, but on this occasion a jumped up little Napoleon has got it badly wrong…..


  95. 123 Patrick
    January 19, 2010 at 22:48

    @ Lubna Naji

    I am an American who supports you in criticizing America. America deserves to be criticized for causing great destruction in Iraq. I apologize for the stupidity of the Americans who have said that you have no right to criticize America.

    • 124 Ronald Almeida
      January 20, 2010 at 14:59

      I believe the citizens of a country should be the first to criticise it before any body else does it. Criticism is by far the first step for improvement. False pride is only for those with an intrinsic inferiority complex.

  96. 125 Guillermo
    January 20, 2010 at 00:55

    At first sight USA, not America, America is the name of a Continent, seem to be the heroes of the day. But, why send soldiers? What they need is doctors, firemen, engineers and all the civilians that can help. But USA has occupied Haiti several times. Why? It seems that this tragedy is the opportunity to set a militar base to threat Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the countries that are considered enemies. To appeal a tragedy for a mischievious game in the area is what makes things uncomfortable. Why being so near USA have left Haiti to be the most poorest country in America? They brag about democracy but only when there is an interest. Obama is obeying the militars. And to send Bush and Clinton is awkward. Ålthough there are many USA citizens, like the volunteers that are working in good faith, the political issue of the army wipes their intention. The real thruth is that so many people are in the numbers of casualties is the real threat to the health of USA. Where can you manage 9 million people to return to the former status of poverty? The only escape for them is to swim to USA and invade with their poverty and problems.

    • 126 Spence
      January 21, 2010 at 14:28

      One of the few comments I have read which actually provides a rational explanation for the actions of the US military in Haiti! I have recently read the Homeland Security Plan called Operation Vigilant Sentry – which clearly describes the military role in an potential ‘mass migration’ event! This is the real and only rational explanation for the necessity of putting US troops on the ground in large numbers before distribution of aid! Its a little difficult to comprehend as disasters of this nature are emotive, but the USA would not be able to cope with a mass migration from desperate Haitians in the millions flooding into florida! The best thing the world community can do now is work and cooperate to build a solid, sustainable future for Haiti!

  97. January 20, 2010 at 01:04

    … i think most countries criticizing the US for taking a lead role in helping out not only in Haiti but the rest of the world are just jealous-they secretly wish they were the lone superpower thus taking the lead role. FYI am from Nairobi and i secretly hate Obama for not dropping by when he was in the hood.

  98. 128 Guillermo
    January 20, 2010 at 01:25

    To thank USA, not America. Why do people insist in calling USA America?
    Not only they steal raw materials, politics, money and many things. They call themselves America. There has been always a tenet. To prevent is the best you can do for everything. Then the USA with its high and sofisticated technology could not prevent the earthquake. But not only the earthquake but to give the information to the haitians, some decades ago, or maybe years ago that the situation of Port Au Prince was in peril. In Japan and China the lesson has been learned. They are aware that Japan and some places in China are in a sismic region. It seems as a script of Hollywood. They were expecting an earthqueake? Or they didn´t care about this? The millions of dollars that were supposed to aid the Haitians were used for the salaries and maintenance of the supposed aid corps. They cared about the humans but not of the geology of Haiti. There is a record of earthquakes that showed the frecuency of the events. But politics were more important than the peril of earthquakes.
    Then again USA wants to be the hero of the day. Why not let all the foreign aid be controlled by haitians? Or in the extreme case,by UN? Why do USA marines have to use their guns to show who is the master?

  99. 129 Tom D Ford
    January 20, 2010 at 01:40

    @ Jonathan (stormy San Francisco)
    January 19, 2010 at 19:56

    “I guess the US is using the tragedy to steal Haiti’s famously abundant resources–oil and the rest.”

    Cui Bono? Who benefits?

    Haiti is a source of Cheap-Labor, for sewing textiles. Conservative Businessmen benefit by keeping Haitians in desperate poverty so that they will work for very low wages.

    It looks like what has been, is being stolen, is labor.

    So an invasion would not be to steal some natural resource, it would be to make sure that Conservative Businessmen continue to benefit from near slave-labor low wages.

    And in my opinion, that is a far worse theft than stealing natural resources.

  100. 130 Ronald in Canada
    January 20, 2010 at 02:15

    It is repulsive when politicians attempt to take advantage of human tragedy to promote their image and this is exactly what the US leadership has done. Instead of being a welcome and most capable participant in a cooperative effort, the US administration has chosen to be the self-proclaimed leader for the Haitian relief effort. Once again the US shows its need to dominate rather than cooperate.
    This has caused needless bickering between the US and other countries trying to help, in particular Brazil, France and Canada.

    The objective is the wellbeing of the Haitians, not the image of the USA.

  101. 131 Ronald in Canada
    January 20, 2010 at 03:01

    It is nice to see the US helping to sort out a crisis, rather than creating one.

  102. 132 robin rattansingh
    January 20, 2010 at 03:04

    America has only it’s political and military interest at hand in haiti do not be fooled!!!every single country they step foot in sighting stabalization intially then there real agender starts to play off!!
    nothing in this world is for free!ever!!!.Just wait till we see what happens in afgan,iraq now haiti through a natural disaster? Do not forget iraq was to be liberated of their then leader saddam and bio weapons. Big fib!!!! Now that dictatorship is no more u.s forces are still there.Reason for this is as any in past and future occupations by america who will continue to cry they are there for stabalization purposes.wait.just wait the same song will be sang by these wolfes in sheep clothing.

  103. 133 perry
    January 20, 2010 at 04:23

    “Once again, in a crisis, the world turns to the U.S. to sort it out….”

    Are you sure it is not the US shouldering everyone else aside?

    Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti (Haiti? Hasn’t the US been there before?)… Always sorting things out.

  104. 134 lambdaenigma
    January 20, 2010 at 05:07

    America can learn something from the Israeli swift response with field hospitals, but generals and politicians think it is a sign of weakness to acknowledge that civilians or rivals can make a more valuable response.

    Regardless of which country was involved in what part of the relief effort, America will be blamed.

    The dead should have been cataloged before they were put in mass graves. A blood specimen or tissue swab with an accompanying digital photograph would have gone a long way to respecting the vodoun tradition of Haiti and the psychological trauma of sudden death.

    Years from now America will be expected to open the mass graves and do forensic identification, an expensive and time-consuming emotional upheaval.

    No attempt has even been made to identify the burial pits with GPS so that the bodies can be moved in the future to a memorial burial site. There will be fear and rumor that a particular real estate is undesirable and requires vodoun remediation.

  105. January 20, 2010 at 06:25

    A big YES… It is good to see the USA spearheading Peace relief efforts again, as the major superpower and leading contributor. I say a big thank you to the Government and people of USA. Also. I thank the Government and People of China, EU and indeed every nation who have sent Relief aid to Haiti…including some poor African countries like Nigeria. Viva!

  106. January 20, 2010 at 06:48


    The American response to the Earth quake in Haiti is to show the world that they care.

    But do they care?

    It took them almost a week to respond and then they occupy the airport under the pretext that they will bring order.

    Have they done that?

    Other countries are not being permitted to fly in and are thus being side lined by the USA. This amounts to occupying that country/

    The USA has clearly only one objective and that is to occupy Haiti.

    Shame on you USA. Haiti wants aid not occupation by your regime.


  107. 137 Kiloseven
    January 20, 2010 at 08:05

    “There’s always enough disaster to go around.”

    That’s my favorite disaster slogan. As a Red Crosser since the age of 15, and having seen multiple disasters from the inside, I can see there are folks here who are well meaning and want to jump right in but just don’t understand how difficult it is to mount a relief operation.

    Human beings panic, that’s a fact. Haitians, the French, the English, Amis, all human, all susceptible; goodness, I’ve even heard of a Scot losing efficiency under pressure. (Once).

    Given that Haiti has very little extra margin in the best of times, it’s understandable they did not invest in ruggedized redundant infrastructure. I know a magnitude 7 quake would put my city into chaos, and we’re nearly fanatical about earthquake prep in Oregon.

    Until the port’s open, we can’t rebuild the roads; until the roads work, only a fraction of the population can be supplied.

    Let’s also remember there are two wars underway, folks, wars the UK government endorse and Parliament supports. The civil troops and the specialized engineering units that build roads, recreate sewers and distill water are tied up in an Asian Land War, and aren’t readily available to go to Haiti at the drop of a hat.

    Remember the Powell Doctrine? “You broke it, you bought it.” Well, we haven’t fixed it yet, so we still have responsibilities to fix it in Iraq. That should be a rich nation, given their oil resources, but has not yet shown they can spring back with the resilience we expected, so we’re still there. Still.

  108. 138 eSCe
    January 20, 2010 at 10:24

    The americans don’t get it. Help if you must but don’t make your help bigger or longer than anyone else. Mexico contribution may seem small but comparing its resources with US it is bigger.
    Who give the american the right to dictate.

  109. January 20, 2010 at 14:38

    While I disagree with the system in America, Haiti is one of the few cases where help was needed. The government in Haiti is powerless since the earthquake destroyed its infrastructure. The President of Haiti is homeless as well as without a place of work since his palace was affected. The people are losing their patience and the situation would have spilled to other countries. France should not have condemned the USA since they did not life a finger to stop the genocide in Rwanda and Cambodia.

  110. 140 Ronald Almeida
    January 20, 2010 at 14:53

    Of course the country that exploits the world the most has a stake in projecting that view.

  111. 141 jens
    January 20, 2010 at 15:27


    of course the USA wants nothing more than occupy a small improvrished nation. In fact it was the USA which created the earthquake to be able to do so.

    in fact the USA then intentionally delayed the effort for one week to make sure that the disater is getting bigger. Have you ever for once sat down and thought about it how difficult it is to start such relieve opperations. Unlike a hurrican, which one sees coming for days and can predict where it strikes, earthquakes strike out of the blue. the fact that help and heavy machinery arraived as quickly as it did is pretty much credit to the US armed forces.

    in addition it might have escaped you attention that the armed forces have send doctors etc and that a massive hospital ship is going to arrive today. you need the militray on the ground to help with the recovery activities, plus provide security to the people who have lost almost everything and are now at risk to loose last bit to looting gangs with guns.

  112. January 20, 2010 at 15:39

    I’ve now watched for over a week and all that has been delivered so far is hot air, was it 90,000 packs of food delivered yesterday to three million desperate people! Were is all the trucks crossing the border, with the tons of supplies? Why is the UN who have all those men on the ground doing so little, they have been there long enough to long ago organise the distribution, do they realy have to wait until those starving, injured people get desperate enough so that some future action of desperation will cover these inadequate so called relief agencies. These same agencies who claim to be such profesionals, whilst collecting there moneys. I would be embarrassed if this demonstration is the best they can do.
    The American military appear more concerned with occupation than relief, or I’m I just a cynic. Hope I’m wrong.

    • 143 Spence
      January 21, 2010 at 14:42

      Its all about containment and control – think of the consequences for USA of a mass migration event from millions Haiti refugees flooding into Florida!

  113. 144 T
    January 20, 2010 at 15:43

    If the States really want to help, one thing they should do is allow Aristede to return from exile in South Africa.

  114. January 20, 2010 at 16:49

    Haiti is destroyed probably million people dead or missing amid rhetoric that USA Canada will forgive hunge debt to Haiti.USA and Canada allied soldiers are
    in Haiti to help rebuild while in dispute with France.Rivalry is French with English.
    English comes from USA Canada UK Australia Newzealand while French comes from 22 French countries including Haiti.Haiti has 8 million with GDP/capita $1600 while Afghanistan has 30 million with GDP $800/capita.Claim by Occupying forces Afghanistan overnight has $30 Billion loan with additional $2.5 billion to bribe to get loan.This is what is USA Allied interest to create income by Loan loan interest in impoverished countries.This comes with 100,000 soldiers to impose and maintain power .World problem cannot be solved for above reason as a Role Model.

  115. January 20, 2010 at 16:56

    I do not know how Haiti has debt to Ottawa or washington.But Ottawa with blue print for aid globalization with command in both english and french runs the show.It is not $30,000,000,000 but double this amount.At $60Billion aid 60% unemployed Afghanistan’s $800 GDP/Capita 80% without electricity and Eating one meal/24 hours amid 100000 foreign NATO USA UK Canada EU troops spending Billions of USA NATO tax payer’s money to enrich themselves to stay and Occupy Afghanistan by Force- Why? What I would have done (In 8 years of invasion).Islamically, I would have given100% free (debt free) 2 room wooden Home to to entire Afghan Nation of 30,000,000 with free electricity making gadget/family and free small Loan Or 100% free money to open a business to each and every one Afghan Family.Same applies with water.World has 94% water (including salted water ocean).

  116. 147 jens
    January 20, 2010 at 17:06


    you are comparing apples to coconuts.

    haiti is a completly different issue, than the war on terror. and yes al-quada exists, even if you don’t want to believe it.

  117. 148 JanB
    January 20, 2010 at 18:21

    “If the States really want to help, one thing they should do is allow Aristede to return from exile in South Africa.”

    Yeah, cause Haiti could sure use a coup/civil war right now…

    Besides, it’s not America’s decision to make, they didn’t exile Aristide, the Haitians did, the Americans only ensured he got out of the country alive.

    America would’ve been criticized no matter what because there will alway be other powers who are jealous of America’s military, economic and political might. In a way that’s flattering for America: even their enemy’s and rivals give them America the attention.

  118. 149 Michel Norman
    January 20, 2010 at 21:09

    Ibrahim and Lubna -just get your figure straight the overwhelming majority of US aid goes to Iraq and Afghanistan – which are no longer ruled by dictators. Yes Israel does get sizeable aid, mostly military that has to be spent in America, and which redresses the massive arms buying by Arab dictatorships. It is based on shared values, for example both countries have responded beyond all proportion to this disaster. Ibrahim – if you want to link this to the Palestinians – the answer is quite simple – the people of Haiti will not be sitting around in refugee camps being professional refugees for the next 60 years, they did not celebrate 9/11 and they did not bring this disaster upon themselves by attacking other people – that is why they get sympathy and help.

    But as usual you miss the point – this is about saving lives, not scoring propaganda points!

  119. 150 piscator
    January 20, 2010 at 23:14

    I’m just watching the BBC 10pm News from haiti. My God, what a disorganised and wasteful mess.

    The scene is a maternity hospital, forced outdoorts because of the after shocks.

    The only US doctor I can see has completely lost it, and is having a fit, very loudly , in front of the patient. She is obviously untrained, and probably a medical student. She should not be there. Everyone else helping is a local – also in shot are the several hundred armed US troops standing around like squeezed lemons.

    The road from the Dominican Republic is empty, and planes are being turned away from the airport.

    Please, please, America, you have taken charge, you have the good will of the World, and the gear, sort yourselves out to help these poor people. Give the soldiers some humanitarian tasks. How do you think it looks to the rest of the World?

  120. 151 seaAdamwestiii
    January 21, 2010 at 16:54

    It was Secy Clinton who urged martial law be instituted to protect the security and preclude people from pillaging food and water . If one is to go hungry for more than a day, I believe it is natural to look for food/water. Complaints were made her that people were stealing from stores – what difference does it make when the stores is in shambles and will never be open again until it is rebuilt. Planes landing with medical equipment and supplies along with food/water should have been given priority. Military troops could have been flown in to Dominican Republic and trucked into Haiti. There were plenty of International rescuers that arrived in Haiti, and those aiding the wounded in many cases ran out of medication. I believe China does have the most number of military assigned to the UN worldwide and one of the first International countries to provide help. Four officers & 4 military from China with the UN lost their lives as a result of the earthquake. I believe the International communities with boots on the ground should be recognized and acknowledged, along with communities that have donated money, supplies etc. I don’t understand why some countries that wanted to help by sending people and supplies were denied by the US, when in fact any help at all should have been appreciated regardless whether they had ties with the US or not.

  121. 152 scmehta
    January 22, 2010 at 08:17

    In today’s world, It’s the USA and the like-minded countries that make it so assuring and hopeful in the trying times of any perils, crises, catastrophes and gross injustice/exploitation/abuse of human rights; And that is why, no country feels absolutely helpless in face of any grave challenges- local or global.

  122. 153 Ingé Eveleigh
    January 23, 2010 at 00:19

    Why do we have to blame or praise anyone in this disaster? help is help can it not just be assumed that most are there for humanity’s sake. My heart just grieves for any poor soul who may still just be breathing under that monstrous pile of debris, & will never be found. I just feel disgust @ those two pathetic old men Clinton & Bush trying to get in on the remnants of a photo op with Barack Obama a few days ago,to do what? apparently to boost the aid for Haiti?. . Haiti will manage its revival without them. Just allow Haitians to re-elect their own democratic government, preferably with their last effective President ARistide, who was spirited away, rather like the democratic Pres. elect of Honduras Manuel Zelaya. Both these men progressives in their country, the US did nothing to rectify these disgraceful situations.LOng live Haiti, & the brave people still living. Ingé from Lewes UK.

  123. January 23, 2010 at 12:17

    Our planet is a primitive civilization. All such civilizations learn slowly.

  124. 155 Jagjit Singh Mukandpuri
    January 25, 2010 at 04:38

    In real words, all this work in Hatie or any where else in such times of natural desaster should be done under the supervision of UN. So that all nations take part in relaxed mood.

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