During the disaster of the Katrina hurricane, then president George Bush and his buddy, Dick Cheney, dealt with the crippling effects of thousands uprooted by pretending politics as usual could handle the situation. Today, Barack Obama is the president and he has quickly promised assistance to the people of Haiti who are living in the rubble created by a devastating earthquake. Patrick Cockburn, writing in the UK, The Independent, wonders if the outcome of both events will be more similar than different despite the more aggressive attitude of Obama. He notes days after the earthquake there still are not enough heavy gear equipment to handle the debris and people are still dying who are underneath the rubble. Marines are “on the way” which is rather strange. Isn’t it possible for Marines to be on the scene within 24 hours notice of a disaster in the Western Hemisphere?
America ruled Haiti from 1915-1934 and left a mess which shortly was taken over by petty dictators like the infamous Papa Doc and then by his equally brutal Baby Doc. America’s attitude was since the dictators were anti-communist why bother them. Cockburn wonders if the famous Marshall Plan worked because there was a competent German government ready to step into action or does American incompetence in Iraq and Afghanistan more accurately depict problems with capitalist America when called upon to deal with problems of corruption and brutality?