The Left,  The Right

Hugo, meet Rush

The latest meme from the “anti-imperialist” Left is that the US government is more interested in repressing the Haitian people in the wake of last week’s catastrophic earthquake than it is in assisting them.

Unsurprisingly Hugo Chavez was one of those leading the rhetorical charge against the nefarious Yanquis.

“I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that’s what the United States should send,” Chavez said on his weekly television show. “They are occupying Haiti undercover.”

“On top of that, you don’t see them in the streets. Are they picking up bodies? … Are they looking for the injured? You don’t see them. I haven’t seen them. Where are they?”

The liberal Think Progress website responded:

Chavez’s claims are wholly uninformed. While there are nearly 6,000 U.S. military personnel assisting in Haiti (with another 7,500 on the way), they are enabling the recovery effort to proceed. Thanks to efforts by the U.S. military to secure the airport, the pace of the air traffic into Port-au-Prince carrying food and supplies for victims “has increased from 60 flights to about a 100 a day.” U.S. forces are providing security at the request of the Haitian government.

Moreover, more than 250 personnel from the Department of Health and Human Services “are in the process of deploying to Haiti and over 12,000 personnel could possibly assist in the coming days.” Additionally, “2 planeloads of medicine, medical equipment and supplies from HHS have arrived in Haiti with a third” on the way. The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort “has left its home port of Baltimore to support relief efforts in Haiti.”

Lastly, there are 26 international search and rescue teams in Haiti, including teams from Fairfax County Virginia, Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, two from Miami, and one from New York. U.S. teams have rescued at least 26 individuals already.

The International Action Center, a front for the quasi-Stalinist Workers World Party (and quoted approvingly by Socialist Unity), claims:

The Pentagon is controlling the U.S. intervention in the disaster. Its priority is not the rapid delivery of food and water, but the establishment of a beachhead of 2,200 Marines and 3,500 paratroopers, now increased to 10,000 military to police the Haitian population. This military has a dual role that includes delivery of aid, but its main role is repression and control, just as it is in Afghanistan , Iraq and other occupied countries.

Can anyone explain why the US would want to “occupy” Haiti rather than help it become more self-sufficient? Can anyone explain why the US would want to “repress” and “control” Haitians, as opposed to helping establish a minimum of order on the ground in desperate circumstances, so that the aid can be distributed as fairly and equitably as possible?

In the competition for most offensive and ignorant use of a disaster for political point-scoring, I would say it’s a draw between Chavez and his acolytes on one side, and Rush Limbaugh and his acolytes on the other.

“[The earthquake] will play right into Obama’s hands — humanitarian, compassionate. They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, credibility with the black community — the both the light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made to order for them.”

To his credit, that was too much for former President Bush, who defended Obama’s response to the disaster.

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