And, nothing unusual in what I heard.
"The US has denied its military has taken charge of Haiti amid claims by France that the Americans were "occupying" the earthquake-ravaged country.It's true, by the way: Americans troops are on the ground in Haiti. Big, rough American soldiers with awful, nasty guns. 'Obviously' the work of an imperialistic warmonger aggressor.
"Alain Joyandet, the French Cooperation Minister, has called on the UN to 'clarify' the American role in the impoverished country, which was previously colonised by both countries. 'This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti,' he said...."
Or, maybe, the work of a nation that doesn't particularly want big people in Haiti killing little people in Haiti, to get at supplies. Or, just for the fun of it.
I heard, this morning, about a doctor in a hospital in Haiti (sorry: that's as precise as it gets for me) say that he didn't see any need for those soldiers being in Haiti. His hospital hadn't been looted.
Normally, the Haitian government would be maintaining law and order with its usual efficiency. Since about 5:00 p.m., Haiti time, last week: a noticeable percentage of the Haitian government isn't there any more. Sure, they'll get reorganized in a while: but right now, the place is a mess.
America: Damned if We Do, Damned if We Don'tThe way I see it, America has two basic options, when it comes to Haitians and the little matter of keeping bullies - armed and otherwise - from hurting people who may not be big, strong, and armed themselves.
- Do nothing
- Send troops in to keep that doctor alive
Option two has resulted in the usual 'Yankee imperialism' line. No surprises there. On the up side, that doctor will probably survive to complain about something else that the Americans did - or didn't do.
Why Send Big, Rough Soldiers?America doesn't have much of a national police force. And can you imagine the fuss, if the Yankee imperialists sent FBI or CIA agents to Haiti?
The American military is under the command of the American government, in the person of the President. And - believe it or not - American soldiers really are trained for peacekeeping. Also building bridges and roads, if it comes to that.
Sure, it would be nice if everybody in Haiti were perfectly calm, collected, law-abiding people who would never dream of taking advantage of a lack of law enforcement. It'd be nice, but the last I checked: Haitians are human beings. Some of us aren't all that nice. And many Haitians have little reason to be perfectly calm and collected right now.
- "Haiti: About the Earthquake, Relief, and Related Topics"
Apathetic Lemming of the North (last updated January 19, 2010)
- "Americans and Generosity: Just a Thought"
(January 15, 2010)
- "Haiti: Looting, Lawlessness, and People being Human"
Apathetic Lemming of the North (January 16, 2010)
- "Imperialist American Aggressors Attack Poland?"
(October 30, 2009)
- "Haiti earthquake: US denies 'occupying' the country"
Telegraph.co.uk (January 19, 2010)