Is an obvious conspiracy still a conspiracy? They can smile all they want, solemn up for the cameras. They won’t fool us - they shouldn’t fool anyone.
Posing for a press conference with President Obama and Bill Clinton, George Bush praised Obama for his "swift and timely response to the disaster” to the Haiti earthquake. Right from the beginning something is wrong.
Now we don’t think highly of Obama’s response to Haiti. Critics claim he’s gone overboard by deploying 10,000 US troops and pledging 100$ million in aid; we’d argue the opposite. Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes that, "I don't know how this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has,” but Obama hasn’t act fast enough.
10,000 troops should have been deployed minutes after the first call, not in the days after. The unlimited magnitude of destruction, considering Haiti’s history, was apparent from the beginning; 2,000 troops were never going to be enough. Haiti needed immediate muscle and a large-scale deployment of US troops was the only realistic option.
1$ billion dollars should have been pledged as well, with more billions to follow. 100$ is a drop in the bucket. Obama did right by recognizing Haiti’s recovery will be measured in years (decades, in fact), yet pledging a meager amount says the opposite.
Under-estimation is evident in a White House press release: “The President admired the substantial success of the effort to raise money and awareness in the aftermath of the Tsunami, and believed that a similar effort would be necessary to respond to a challenge of this magnitude.”
Haiti is beyond the 2004 Tsunami though, and the responses must differ because the magnitudes differ. Those countries hit hardest - Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India - had infrastructures to support a relief effort. Haiti had no grid to plug a relief effort into. Widespread disease and malnutrition should have raised the alarm that Haiti’s death toll would raise rapidly after the earthquake and grind to a halt far beyond the 2004 tsunami.
The response, relief effort, and rebuilding phases are incomparable, meaning this confusion slowed America’s reaction.
Obama wouldn’t be in that big of trouble if his mistakes stopped here. Most criticism is directed at an over-response, a criticism we would've welcomed if completely true. Time has been lost but he still has the opportunity to oversee a successful reconstruction. However, there’s no hope judging by yesterday.
"In times of great challenge in our country and around the world, Americans have always come together to lend a hand and to serve others and to do what's right," Obama said in the Rose Garden, the two former president’s at his side. “In these difficult hours, America stands united. We stand united with the people of Haiti who have shown such incredible resilience, and we will help them to recover and to rebuild."
Obama has committed a deeper offense than a slow response. Pairing Bush and Clinton together as America’s face reveals an ignorance and disregard for Haiti’s history - or worse. He’s touting Bush and Clinton’s pairing as a sign that “America stands united,” as if Democrats and Republicans have finally joined together.
But they’ve joined together before - in oppressing Haiti.
Though Bill acts as if Haiti is his second home and Hillary speaks fondly of “Haitian art” in their first, back in 1994 Clinton was continuing to deny Haiti’s refugee status and holding HIV patients unconstitutionally at Guantanamo. Uses of Haiti spells out Clinton’s actions most vividly.
To keep it short, Clinton eventually reinstalled exiled president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1994, but only on the condition that Haiti revert to favorable economic policies with America. The agreement crippled the remainder of Aristade’s term.
Bush’s hand can be found from beginning to end. Bush I exiled Aristide in 1991 after he won 67% of the vote in an election deemed free and fair by international observers. Cooking up the propaganda that Aristade was behind Haiti’s violence, Bush I installed Raoul Cédras, who was met with heavy resistance. The next three years resulted in murder and mayhem by government paramilitary forces on the Haiti people.
When they tried to flee they were locked up in Guantanamo.
Bush II decided to emulate his father (securing favorable US trade laws) and removed Aristade from the presidency in 2004 after he returned to power in another landslide victory. Accused of corruption and embezzlement, all court cases were eventually dismissed for lack of evidence. America denied any role in Aristade’s kidnapping despite the obvious chain of events.
In all likelihood Bush I and Bush II exiled Haiti’s most popular political figure in its history, while Clinton neutered him in between and impeded Haitians escaping from the violence caused US interference. They have an active motive in covering up their actions with diplomacy and humanitarianism.
So is Obama naive of America's history in Haiti or is he whitewashing?
Everything is right in the open. Reports on Haiti superficially gloss over Haiti’s brutal poverty without reference to America’s profitable but disastrous policy. The word “Aristade” is nowhere to be found, as if the man never existed. Gates, whose connection with the Bushes runs deep, is claiming America couldn't respond any better.
And now Obama’s going to bring together two men whose policies contributed to this disaster? Too many coincidences to be a coincidence. They’re uniting to cover up the past.