20 January 2010

Haiti - Lady Liberty's tightly stretched cloak

The United States has launched a large scale aid operation in Haiti, virtually taking control of the island it remembers when something happens to jog its memory. If such events also present a political opportunity, then so much the better. However, the U.S. is in danger of the international community perceiving it's intervention in this poverty stricken island, prone to natural disasters and rampant child abduction, as opportunistic and militaristic.

Let's make one thing clear before I go any further. Someone had to intervene and take control. The United Nations, stood by and watched with its mouth open in dumb surprise at what was happening. Yes, the United Nations did suffer a terrible loss in Haiti, hampering efforts to provide aid and initiate rescue plans. Yet much of the U.N.s presence on the island was because of its vulnerability to natural disasters. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the U.N. is not immune to disasters and a back-up plan should have been in place.

Yet again the U.N. twiddled its thumbs and made speeches while Haiti was buried under a mass of debris, ruined buildings, corpses and shattered lives.

Enter the U.S. military, taking control of the airport. I don't have a problem with that, someone had to. But why should responsibility fall on the shoulders of one nation when there is an organization called the United Nations? UN troops should have taken control of the airport and security - they were there already. Yet it is left to the United States, because UN Peacekeepers who have failed to effectively keep the peace in any country they have been deployed, were either not utilized or not deployed effectively. How many more lives are going to be lost because Blue Helmets can not intervene to prevent loss of life, simply because the rule book tells them they can't?

So now we have a large scale U.S military presence in Haiti and one begins to wonder what price will the Haitians eventually pay for such intervention. Indeed, the same question must be asked of America? What price will the poor soldiers on the ground pay? As sure as eggs are eggs, those they went to help will become angry and frustrated and will bite the hand that fed them. The U.S. will become the islands whipping boy, unable to leave, unable to win hearts and minds.

The U.S. defense forces are already stretched as Al-Qaeda and its numerous branches and sub branches open up new fronts. Who needs a full on war when you can spread your enemy across so many theatres of operation? Lady Liberty's cloak will be stretched so tight it will be in danger of coming apart at the seams.

I welcome America's intervention but the scale and agenda of such intervention must be questioned - as must the cost to both sides.

All because the U.N. did what it does best - make a total stuff up of a foreseeable situation.

Wherever you may be - be safe

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