Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti Earthquake reporting

There are lots of good reports out there, right now, on the devastation in Haiti.

I don't mean the pressers done by visiting Foreign Ministry types or the could-have-should-have international community types. Shine those. I mean get the news from the people who are doing the rescuing.

Here's the link for USSOUTHCOM in Operation Unified Response. They are doing *all* the heavy lifting, and don't let anyone deny it.

Get the reports from one of the civilian or volunteer rescue teams like Team Rubicon. These folks are amazing.

Oh yeah... our local team is in action as well, but in fairness so are a lot of other countries.

Here's one more:

CompHyp friend and man-in-the-field reporter Adam Housley from FOXNews (LA base) has been doing the job down in Haiti since his dispatch there the day of the earthquake. Here's his latest posting on FOX Liveshots, but he really can't get much out as internet access is very limited down there. If you are of the Twitterati, you can read his Tweets here and they are often linked to photo or data posted ...of course, you'll get *all* his Twittering there, not just Haiti news... but best of all, look for his reports on the air with the rest of the team(s) from FOXNews.

Now then, when all the dust has settled and some modest calm can be found for the people of Haiti, if someone wants to talk about what it would take to establish a *country of Haiti* where none, and I do mean functionally none, exists right now, I'm all for the job. 'Till that discussion comes, keep your prayers and hopes focused on the rescue/recovery operation. Politics and self-important claims of people's "pride" be damned.


Roy said...

Haiti’s failure as a state goes back as far as its origin. Any attempt to establish “democracy” in Haiti using the established methodologies is doomed to failure. The lack of social development, basic education, and basic values simply will not support a liberal democratic model of government. At their current level of social development, they would have a hard time simply to build and maintain a feudal monarchy, much less, any sort of representative government.

I would propose that the long-term solution that is really needed, is to make Haiti a protectorate of the OAS and impose a government from outside that would have a long-term mandate to run the country for at least two generations or until they meet certain conditions, whichever comes last.

The only question in my mind is whether such a solution should be imposed unilaterally, or if the citizens should be given an opportunity to vote to suspend their sovereign nation status. The alternative to be offered in such a referendum should be quarantine from the rest of the community of nations.

I realize that what I am proposing is radical. If someone else who knows Haiti like I do has another idea with a chance of success, I am all ears.

L.Douglas Garrett said...


For your consideration, if you have time, there are a few examples as to how such an intervention could possibly happen... I'll limit the list for moment to two:

UNTAC Cambodia

UNMIK Kosovo

Would either of those structures be of merit in your consideration?

Otherwise, I'm pretty much seeing that any unilateral intervention (no matter how good an idea it might be) will get the same warm welcome (( <--sarcasm )) in the "international community" that the Tanzanian intervention in Uganda got from the AU and the UN... and that one was to bring down Idi Amin.

There is no pleasing some folks, after all.

Roy said...


Those are both good legal precedents for what I am proposing. However, the development needs of Haiti go far deeper than those of Cambodia and Kosovo.

In order to eventually stand as equals in the current community of nations, the Haitian population needs to advance the level of their culture by about two or three centuries, and there is not the time to allow it to happen through natural evolution. To do this will require forced schooling and inculcation of modern values on a scale that has not been seen yet. I was quite serious when I said that this is a project that will require two complete generations to come to fruition.

For the reasons you mentioned, this cannot be undertaken by one country. I suppose it could be the UN, but I see Haiti as more of a Western Hemisphere problem, and thus, I like the idea of the solution coming from the OAS. But, perhaps that is Monroe Doctrinish of me. Either way, it must be done under the aegis of something representing a very broad spectrum of the international community. Furthermore, I reiterate that it must be understood by everyone from the beginning that there is no quick-fix. This is a very long-term undertaking.

L.Douglas Garrett said...


The OAS isn't your best mechanism choice...

. It has no means, structurally.

.. It is mostly prohibited from doing things inside (or to) member countries; it can cajole, encourage, harass, or even (politically) sanction, but it depends on the sovereign states to act internally; Article 19 of the OAS charter. It also can not make any military occupation... Article 21, IIRC.

... It is run by some pretty troublesome characters these days. Cf. the re-admission of Cuba.

What one does have, available but ill-suited for the task, is MINUSTAH, the UN Peacekeeping/Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

It has gotten little support, considering how important it really is, is in desperate need of a new mandate and mission goals, *and* ...has a dead Director. He got killed in the earthquake.

Like Haiti, it will take some serious rebuilding to get MINUSTAH back up on its feet now. Might be time for a good plan for that, eh?

Roy said...


Functionally, I think you are correct. I have my own notion about what the OAS SHOULD be, but it falls far short of that and its charter will never let it be more than it is now.

I am one who has dreams of a Pan-American economic and political union similar to the EU. I think this dream will be eventually realized (+/- 20 years on from now) out of shear economic necessity, but it will not be the OAS that makes it happen.

So, if MINUSTAH is the vehicle, fine. But it needs a broader mandate and a charter that recognizes the broader goals I am talking about.

Roy said...


What is the meaning of the ampersand "@" used in the salutations on this blog?

L.Douglas Garrett said...


@ = "at", or to someone's attention. It is a holdover from from old days on internet forums that were not threaded.

I (and a few others here) use it almost reflexively. Please don't feel obliged to do so. Your comments are perfectly clear as they are.