Obama and Haiti on Memorial Day

As another Memorial Day comes to a close I find it noteworthy that most US troops will be leaving Haiti next Tuesday. A good synopsis of the situation can be found here.

The American response to the catastrophe in Haiti seems like a rare bit of good news amidst a background of oil leaks, recession, partisan health care debates, etc.

The Obama Administration performed admirably with regard to the situation in Haiti. Our armed forces, as usual, worked to perfection. We, as Americans, should be proud.

There are still worries in Haiti. The rainy season / hurricane season is approaching. Elections, which were deferred by the earthquake, still need to be held. Moreover, it will take many years of work before Haiti will be a fully functioning society again.

However, the Obama Administration proved that it could put the capabilities of the United States quickly to work on a massive humanitarian effort.

So, let me offer a “Well Done!” to President Obama and an even bigger “Well Done!” to the men and women of the United States military who directly participated in the Haitian relief effort.

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10 responses to “Obama and Haiti on Memorial Day”

  1. mga 1958 Avatar
    mga 1958

    Bravo Zulu

  2. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    It's an interesting dichotomy if we compare what the role of govt should be with situations like Haiti verses the Oil Spill.

    or for that matter – the idea that the govt is a incompetent clown show for some things but dead on professionals for other things.

    Wrong for us to bail out the banks but right for us to bail out failed countries…

    Haiti, by the way was and remains a basket case.

    Their culture apparently thinks it's okay to abandon children and so it's because a haven for church and humanitarian groups with a permanent presence to "help" while ignoring the continuing cultural habit of being opposed to birth control and in favor of humanitarian "aid" to operate their overflowing orphanages.

    Further – children in Haiti can and are sold into what is essentially slavery to their own people.

    So.. when a basket case of a country is dealt a natural disaster – we send in the Marines (or equivalent)…predictably.. to then… at some point..when we leave.. to declare "Mission Accomplished".

    Of course in the minds of some who hew to the right – sending in the military is patriotic but sending in the peace corp is lilly-livered left wing loon stuff…

    so nice try Groveton.. but how about some REAL commentary?

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    At the risk of over-generalization, the U.S. military has out-performed federal civilian agencies. Of course, there was Major General Ambrose Burnside's series of futile attacks on Fredericksburg, followed by his "Mud March." And on the civilian side, NASA's accomplishment of JFK's challenge to put a man on the moon during the 1960s.

    But by and large, the military side tends to out-perform the civilian side. Could it be because the military's combat operations are generally beyond the area of lobbyist influence? Note I said "combat operations" and not procurement. We need a federal government open to input from the private sector, but does the ability of lobbyists to influence most agencies doom them to mediocre performance?


  4. Groveton Avatar


    I am not at all sure that United States can do much for the core problems in Haiti through a relief effort. That was never a contention in the article.

    Since it was Memorial Day I felt it was appropriate to acknowledge a success involving both the US military and the Obama Administration.

    A bigger question surrounds the appropriate use of the US military. Should the military be used for relief efforts and other non combat roles? Thomas P.M. Barnett has written two provocative books on the matter:

    The Pentagon's New Map, War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century

    and …

    Blueprint for Action, A Future Worth Creating

    Mr. Barnett divides the world into countries within "The Functioning Core" and others in the "Non-integrating Gap". He believes that America's future depends on shringing the number of countries in the non-integrating gap.

    Barnett believes that we need two militaries — one for fighing wars, and the other (a much bigger one) for stabilizing other countries and integrating them into the new world order. In other words, we need both militaries to convert countries from "Non-integrating gap" to "functioning Core".

    Personally, I'd add "non war" operations such as the relief efforts in Haiti to Barnett's second military. Barnett supports the development of "systems administrator" (an unfortunate label) forces for the "post war" mission, He thinks this "systems administrator" force ought to include some personnel who are older, who may not be full-time, and who may not be on the same "tracks" as career military personnel are today.

    LarryG – perhaps there would be employment opportunities for you in Barnett's new SysAdm force.

    In any regard, I imagine that the Spotsylvania Public Library has copies of both of Mr. Barnett's books. You ought to bike down to the library and check out The Pentagon's New Map. Read it. Then, let's discuss this matter in more detail.

    However, until you are better prepared, I stick by my "well done" comment for both the Bush Administration and the US military regarding the relief effort in Haiti.

  5. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    I give Groveton credit for his somewhat lame attempt to give Obama an "attaboy" ..

    I'm always intrigued by those who think – for whatever reason – that our military is competent verses our civilian agencies which are incompetent even though both are directed by the same civilian leadership.

    I have to admit – the facts are persuasive.

    For instance, we seem to have done a better job with Haiti than we did with Katrina or the oil spill.

    Obama is jive talking about how "helpless" the US is in responding to the spill and …besides.. it's "their" responsibility….

    this.. right after we were 'forced' to bail out Wall Street and provide Universal Health Care.

    I thought this President "got it" but no… he sticks to the narrative that ..no matter what oil company, no matter what their resources are (or are not) and no matter their complete conflict of interest to their investors when paying damages..

    … no matter.. "it's their fault and they're going to fix it and the govt has no choice but to sit on their hands….

    … unless of course, we send the military in….

    isn't that interesting?

    so.. this country is apparently congenitally unable to "perform" unless it sends in the military.

    Should we fire those Border Patrol fat butts and replace them with genuine u.s. military?

    Even the "theoretically" military Army Corp seems like a bunch of bureaucratic wooses and even now.. guess who they put in charge of this evolving fiasco? that's right a retired Admiral…

    I can't believe that Obama has screwed this up so badly.

    This was his chance to prove once and for all that we cannot trust companies like BP and that the govt has to be prepared at all times to step in and clean up their messes – like we did with Wall Street.

    This was Obamas chance to finish off the anti-regulation nay-sayers and what did he do?

    he got his head stuck up his butt…


    'dear leader' – indeed.

  6. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    You are too sweet! Let me give you a big kiss. SMACK!

    Peter Galuszka

  7. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    "sending in the military is patriotic but sending in the peace corp is lilly-livered left wing loon stuff"

    It takes a college graduate to fly a plane that a high school drop out can fix.

    The pilot reports the problem, the fixer must know how the system works and which parts to replace. "Flight controls erratic on landing approach. System tests good after replacing pilot."

    This same scenario applies to humanitarian missions. The military enlisted are the main forces out in the field, distributing food, conducting repairs, etc. And when it's all done, the college guy gets the awards for managing his 'resources' while the enlisted guy busting his ass gets a meaningless letter.

    Now how does that relate to the peace corps? When is the last time the corps was mobilized? Answer is they weren't, because they have no assets. Most of the volunteers are merely doing temp work teaching the natives stuff that doesn't work in their environment, while waiting for grad school.

    And who can forget the dust up that occurred when civil servants faced mandatory deployment to reconstruction teams in SWA? That ended up being mostly done by the military and contractors like Glenn Nye.

    Fact is there are no rapid deployment forces for humanitarian missions. Most of it is ad hoc with civil agencies doing diplomatic functions in the rear while NGOs and the military do the tough jobs.

    Then everyone wonders where the government is when things like Katrina and BP oil spills happen. Oh they are always 'planning and reporting' something, but there's no fixers in the field with common sense. Even my dumbest cousin in the holler understands the principle of the path of least resistance when it comes to broken plumbing.

    I've been on military humanitarian missions and I can tell you right now that there is no such thing as "Mission Accomplished". There is only the frustration of realizing that all your efforts merely equate to putting a political band aid on a severed artery.

  8. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    well..Darrell.. AFTER the military SAYS "mission accomplished" (no matter what it REALLY means).. who do we send in to tend to the band-aid on the artery if not the (apparently) shiftless humanitarians?

    just asking.

    I'm not in disagreement with the general tenor your message.

    brutally honest – but unfortunately true in many circumstances.

    people do forget – the military is a logistics operation on steroids.

    When you move thousands of people from point A to Point B, the military knows how to make sure they have everything from aspirin to socks to chow.

    and the military knows – no matter what the tip of the spear has to be looking to do – that everything from the tip back is a logistics problem.

    But Obama does have the military in his quiver or toolbox (as the modern day blather-butts say).

    Whether or not there is a legitimate argument to deploy the military or not (but there is) – at the least – Obama should come across as the responsible party of last resort – if that's what it needs to be.

    So I'm dismayed that the man is not even "reading" the PR aspects of this.

    People don't want to hear him talking about his "team" that is being led by a Nobel Prize geek.

    Nope.. they basically don't want to hear him talk at all except to say – "we've deployed the assets necessary to do the best we can to clean up the gulf until BP gets their act together"

    then.. put the news weenies on as many helicopters as needed to see for themselves the armada of equipment that is skimming, sipping, soaking, and in general – NOT IN PORT waiting for APPROVAL to do something.

    Bush would not be any better.

    Both of these guys are tone deaf on issues like this.

    They are not the only ones.

    Those pointy heads up in Congress are like Pavlov's dogs – there's a perfectly good crisis that demands an investigation and hearings so they can strut and pontificate to the cameras expressing their outrage and intention to submit legislation a few months from now.

    I feel the visceral complaint of the tea pots.

    it's almost if virtually the entire apparatus of government nowdays took a slow-release stupid pill that has no known antidote.

    How to fix this?

    Rand Paul?

    well no.. not unless you believe the guy who scrapes barnacles off the ship of state needs to be promoted to chief navigator while the Captain and his "team" are dispatched from the poop deck.

    what a mess we are in.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    "However, until you are better prepared, I stick by my "well done" comment for both the Bush Administration and the US military regarding the relief effort in Haiti."

    Waiting for Groveton to corrent reference to which 'Administration' he is directing his 'Well Done' comment.

  10. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    well you need to understand how folks like Groveton think about the military.

    Anything the military accomplishes is due to the hard-liners like Bush/Cheney, no matter who the current President is because as folks like Groveton know – the military functions the way it ought to – in spite of Presidents that don't know their head from a hole in the ground (like Obama) because they've still got that Bush "right stuff" embedded in them institutionally.

    I kid you not.

    this is the way most Tea Pots think these days.

    The military is semi-autonomous in their minds and if Obama get's "uppity" on the issue – the right wing propaganda machine will kick it up a notch or two with Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity leading the "charge".

    Remember how it was when Obama was asking for a full review of Afghanistan?

    The sheer arrogance of someone like Obama actually daring to ask for an explanation of strategy?

    Gawd.. you would have thought the guy peed on the front door to the Pentagon….

    this is the right wing's worst nightmare…

    …"somehow".. the right wing things they have to keep things together until they get Obama out of the White House… and we get back someone who is a "legitimate" leader of the U.S.

    I call it – the "right wing propaganda machine" and it's running at about 110% right now because in their minds – the "threat level" is RED….

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