It isn’t simply a question of pumping in immediate supplies, pulling survivors from the rubble, placing orphans in homes, etc. This is merely the first stage of an endless ordeal.
When Montgomery County (Maryland) firefighters assisted the “victims” of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, members of the county’s SWAT team were assigned to protect the firefighters.
The same scenario is unfolding on a larger scale in Haiti where looting and roving gangs of machete-wielding natives are threatening an already unstable environment. U.S. Marines and other military forces have been dispatched to stabilize the relief efforts.
In Newsweek’s feature article, President Obama writes “In the days, months, and years ahead, we'll need to work closely with the government and people of Haiti to reclaim the momentum that they achieved before the earthquake,” … “The United States will be there with the Haitian government and the United Nations every step of the way.”
Obama could have added “decades” and beyond to the duration of assistance.
Whatever transpires will ultimately not be good enough for our expert media celebrities who are on the scene grumbling about logistical and other “problems”. Anderson Cooper is leading the MSM melodrama in high-frustration mode as a CNN correspondent in Port Au Prince.
The expectations will exceed the realities of what can realistically be accomplished and sustained in Haiti. Here’s what we can expect: Aid levels will be insufficient or botched in terms of deliveries to the needy; infrastructure assistance will be less than adequate; lawlessness and anarchy will require a permanent security presence from UN and U.S. troops; corruption will undermine some of the aid; whatever is rebuilt will eventually deteriorate again and the “Island of the Damned” will continue to be what as it has been since independence—an unlivable hell on earth. Critics will invoke “memories” of Katrina to deflect the real problem facing Haiti’s future: a population unable to govern or sustain itself.
Little has changed in the 120 years since Sir Spencer St. John, “Her Majesty’s Minister Resident and Consul-General”, described Haiti (“or the Black Republic”) as a corrupt peasant society rampant with voodoo and cannibalism. Chances are 10, 20, or 50 years from now Haiti will pretty much resemble its post-independence national character as a destitute and uncivil society.