Sunday, January 31, 2010

Haiti is Obama's Katrina


We don’t know quite when this meme got started but we’ve been hearing more and more of it lately and frankly, we think it’s shameful.

There is no shortage of things in which to criticize the President and his administration’s decisions and policies but his “handling” (whatever that is supposed to mean) of Haiti is definitely no one of them.

We’ve been hearing stories coming out of Haiti regarding the bottleneck at the airport, the lack of security, the looting, the inability to get needed medical supplies and food and water to where it’s needed but for the life of us we cannot figure out what the hell President Obama is supposed to do about that.

This just in: Haiti was a train wreck before that train wreck was visited by a 7.0 earthquake.

This just in Pt. II: Haiti is a sovereign nation. As such, we have to ask permission in order to help. We have to ask permission to do a lot of things down there. We are taking heat as it is from the international set for a perceived military take-over of Haiti but regardless of how weak, ineffectual and corrupt Haiti’s government is, we must respect the nation’s sovereignty and if that results in delays and hang-ups, that is on the Haitian government.

Are there possibly competing agendas among international aid agencies and governments and even among U.S. government agencies down there right now? Bet on it but what is the President supposed to do about entrenched bureaucrats thousands of miles away trying to offer help in the most trying and difficult of circumstances.

Yes, Bush got a raw deal on a hurricane-ravaged city that is built below sea-level but trying to vindicate Bush by slamming Haiti over Obama’s head is petty, lame and flat-out wrong.

So, please just knock it off.


K T Cat said...

Amen, brother. As our family debates giving to Haiti relief funds, we wonder just where they'll be in a year. I think that they're such a total basket case that nothing short of re-colonizing them will make a real difference.

B-Daddy said...

Haiti is Obama's Katrina is a meme I thought I first heard on the left in the sense that Obama's leadership was going to make a difference ...going to check. Ok, maybe not, can't find convincing evidence. But I disagree about Bush getting a bum rap on Katrina response. His leadership was ineffective. He showed no capacity for imaginative dialog or intellectual curiosity in the run up to Katrina, as was clear in that famous video; he just wasn't engaged. Now I am not smart to know what he could have done differently, but I know that I would have been asking a lot of hard questions if I were in similar circumstances.

Dean said...

B-Daddy, I suppose then the lesson learned with Katrina is that you can't trust the people in the chain of command to actually know what they are doing so to be on the safe side, the President should look fully engaged in efforts that might even be obstructed by the Commander-in-Chief's involvement just to cover his ass.

New Orleans was an epic disaster waiting to happen and no greater amount of engagement by Bush was going to undo years and years of latent systemic rot within the system (federal, state and local) to save that city.

B-Daddy said...

Dean, I agree that NOLA was a disaster waiting to happen, but I am saying that the President, like any other CEO, has to have sufficient intuition to know what to pay attention to. Tough beans if you have a hard time getting worked up over natural disasters, your political agenda may founder on your response, so even if you only prepare a PR offensive, be prepared. And if NOLA was such a predictable disaster, all the more shame on the President to not be ready; to at least successfully play the blame game. To be politically outmaneuvered by Roy friggin' Nagin for crying out loud?