This Haiti thing is all Uncle Sam’s fault, right?
To hear some commentators and columnists, at home as well as abroad, the United States never did anything in the past to help one of the world’s more impoverished countries; didn’t do nearly enough, and certainly not soon enough, to help the survivors of the earthquake that claimed more than 200,000 lives; failed miserably to get people, equipment and supplies on the ground when the slightest bit of aid would soften the suffering.
Anything you can dream up making America the villain in all this tragedy won’t come even close to some of the ridiculous charges some have been making despite constant efforts by our government and our people to do what is right and needed.
Most disgusting were the attacks based on political views by some of the radio and television talking heads. How come President Obama’s people didn’t reach out and touch the soil and make miracles happen, such as turning a few loaves and fishes into everything the Haitians need? Fact is, Obama pledged $100 million to help the beleaguered little country. Contrast that with the “generous” gift of $1 million by Russia. China is supposed to be a world leader, but where were its outpourings of finances and material? The Port-au-Prince airport had only a single runway, and at one point all traffic was held up by about an hour by a Chinese group organizing a photo opportunity.
And the American people. No matter what would-be experts say, private citizens immediately rose up and did everything within their grasp to accept refugees, donating funds and sending people who would do some good in the devastating situation. There is no end to the compassion and generosity we in America have generated in an effort to help the sick and injured and restore some semblance of infrastructure, which never existed in the first place.
Here was an area that already lacked hospitals, roads, food and water services and other amenities we take for granted. With so many facilities destroyed and so many key people killed, including United Nations personnel in Haiti specifically for pre-earthquake guidance, there was nowhere for those on the inside to turn. There had been no major facilities, and suddenly outsiders, mainly the United States, were expected to pull them out of thin air.
Yet despite the complaints, the errors in judgment, the difficulties of access by land and sea, all these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, helpers of many nations got significant things done. More often than not, the Samaritans doing the important tasks were Americans who unselfishly gave of themselves and their resources to alter the grim picture.
There’s that age-old bit about the merits of doing the right things because they are right rather than doing them for credit. Americans should be proud of their efforts in Haiti despite the ludicrous barrage of criticism.