January 15 2010
It's hard to watch the news coverage of Haiti. The devastation is complete; the loss of human life is overwhelming. America is doing the right thing by sending aid, military support and rescue personnel. These people need help...that's it, enough said.
But it's sad to see people take aim at President Bush for the situation in Haiti. Just this week, Mother Jones published an astonishingly far reaching article called How Bush-Cheney Policy Screwed Haiti-a tired rehash of a 2004 New York Times article which blames all of Haiti's ills (including Haiti's inability to respond to the earthquake) on Bush's policies. The author of the 2004 articles was both spectacularly ill-informed (see the International Republican Institute's statement and line-by-line rebuttal to the article) and suffering from an often-seen lefty condition--selective amnesia for the policies of democrat presidents.
In reviewing Haiti's problems, The Times author conveniently forgot about President Clinton's deeply flawed policies in Haiti years earlier (you know, when Clinton dispatched American troops to reinstate thuggish president Jean-Bertrand Aristide who then proceeded to engage in undemocratic rule--relying largely on violent gangs to carry out his orders); policies which created unsustainable conditions in Haiti that President Bush, and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell were forced to deal with.
But, really, why should the author stop there. Perhaps we should we look back further? Besides Clinton, should we examine the elder Bush's policies? Perhaps we should look at Reagan, and Carter, and Ford...hell, maybe it was Nixon's fault. Isn't everything?
Or how about we take it back two centuries to examine the French Government's role in all of this. Yes, that's it. Let's blame the French! It's always fun to blame the French.
Haiti deserves attention and assistance-lots of it. Liberals might enjoy spending a little time playing the blame game but the truth is, the best thing for Haiti is for the U.S. government and aid organizations working in the country to look forward...not back.
Liberals might do the same.