Wednesday, January 20, 2010


"Under the latest ruins are all the previous ruins" - El Roto

Them that's got shall get
Them that's not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own

Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don't ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own

Money, you've got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you're gone, spending ends
They don't come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don't take too much
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own

Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own
He just worry 'bout nothin'
Cause he's got his own
"God Bless the Child That's Got his Own" - Billie Holiday
David Seaton's News Links
El Roto and Billie Holiday are hard acts to follow; his caption and her song really sum up the situation in Haiti yesterday, today and probably tomorrow too.

I wanted to wait a few days before posting on Haiti, waiting till the 24/7 news cycle took a couple of turns and other events began to push the dead bodies and the lines of slim black people with tortured faces off the front pages. Looks like Scott Brown and Massachusetts are doing the trick. There is a "new kid in town" and the Haitian story is cooling off.

The cartoon and the song express Haiti's plight perfectly, "Them that's got shall get, them that's not shall lose". And "under the latest ruins are all the previous ruins". People are full of suggestions on how the Haitians should change or be changed, but I am interested in some things I'm reading that don't make sense to me, and which raise questions in my mind. I've chosen this little snippet from CNN to represent them:
Four of the 10 American rescue teams mobilized in the hours following the earthquake in Haiti are returning home Tuesday -- having never traveled farther than their local airports. Federal government officials said the four -- including teams in Texas, Ohio and two in California -- were not flown there because Haiti could not "absorb" them and because they were being held as relief for crews that made it into the country. Disaster experts said a bottleneck at the main airport in Port-au-Prince could have prevented the crews from entering Haiti quickly, but they scoffed at the suggestion that the teams, skilled in locating and freeing people entombed in collapsed buildings, should be held in reserve. "That 72-hour window [in which most rescues are attempted] is not some casual number," said Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. "It's actually a very serious [calculation of when most lives can be saved]."
There is something strange going on and I am not sure exactly what it is, or why.

Aircraft carriers, helicopters and thousands of US marines are being mobilized and sent toward an island right next door to the USA. You would think it would all be a hop, skip and a jump, yet everything is moving in slow motion, like in a proverbial bad dream.

The airport of Port au Prince has been taken over by US forces and so have the ruins of the presidential palace, but instead of the presence of American troops speeding up aid, it seems to be slowing things down.

Now this is very strange, because the one thing that the US armed forces do better than any other war machine in history is logistics... Logistics is truly an American art, this skill is legendary. In Vietnam the grunts in the rice paddies had steaks and beer flown in to them by helicopter in the middle of battles. Bases in Iraq have things like bowling alleys... Americans are obscene geniuses at getting masses of crap anywhere in no time flat... and no excuses about inefficient bureaucrats, because a lot of this stuff is done by Halliburton these days and although they may not be the girl next door, if you give them enough money they can and will do almost anything.

So obviously if things are going slowly, it is not because of incompetence, but because they are meant to go slowly. What I can't figure out is why.

What is more important than getting medical care, food, water and decent tents to these poor people... and burying the dead? Something must be.

What is there is Haiti that takes priority over all the injured people without care and nourishment? There must be something, what could it be?

Today, I don't want to speculate, this all too tragic and weird, but I suggest watching closely in the coming days and weeks for clues. I sense that this is very important, but I don't understand it. I simply want to alert my readers to this angle and wait for the little light bulb to go on. DS

Ps. I'd like to close with another great Spanish cartoonist, El Mundo's Ricardo, who sums up the future reconstruction of Haiti masterfully. The writing on the man's knapsack says, "International Aid".


David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Here is some more information in the line of my post:
Haiti's suffering is a result of calculated impoverishment - Guardian

Kurz said...

Interesting article Dave. Please read a textbook example of disaster capitalism at work:

Anonymous said...

David -- good piece, a bit optimistic, though. I'd like to think there's a Machiavellian sub-text to the time-lag in getting this exercise cranked up, but I doubt it. Our much vaulted logistic capacity has been eroded by the privatization of that arm of the military. I believe the average dogface couldn't survive more than a week without his flown-in Burger Kings and Pizza Huts. While the boys & girls in uniform probably like the idea of doing good for once, I doubt if the worn and damaged fabric of Haiti can bear their weight, much less any efforts on their part to do more than change the oil in a car that's already gone over a cliff several times. Besides, failure just confirms the neo-con world view, doesn't it? Pirate Laddie

Anonymous said...

Rescue teams (one from California) have been prevented by the US from going to Haiti, with the excuse of wanting them for relief later. Of course "later" there will be no one to rescue. The corporate media talks of "security issues" yet their own images show no sign of violence. We hear and see reports from doctors that they are free to travel at all hours and have seen no sign of violence. Amy Goodman posted an interview at the airport where she found a man preparing to take one of the many pallets of water. Upon questioning, he said he was taking it to the US embassy.

My thought is that the military is patiently waiting for the Haitians to become so desperate for food and water and for the health of their families that they WILL begin to riot for supplies they know to be at the airport.

Then, of course, they have the perfect excuse for military actions.