Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Invasion of Haiti

I guess I will always be a Marine Mom… try as I might to move on.

Today- I was talking to some co-workers about Haiti when one of them said something about our military occupying Haiti…

“What?” I said. “Occupying?”

My blood boiled.

I know our military is not perfect- and our country isn’t perfect either. But to call a humanitarian effort an occupation- was a slap across the face, to my country- and to my son, a former Marine. It was rude- and insensitive- because she knew damn well my son had served in the Marine Corps.

Without knowing any facts, she continued to repeat what she heard on the radio about our military not letting the Doctors Without Borders people land at the airport. I heard that too but the conclusion I jumped to was that they were trying to make sure people landed safely- not that they were taking over the country.

They (US Military) have temporarily taken over the logistics of airport traffic because they are expert at logistics and because Haiti’s own people are not capable of handling such a disaster. On Haiti’s best day, they were a mess of a country.

I am going to take a leap here and assume that the President of Haiti asked the President of the United States for help. I’m just guessing, the man who is ill equipped when things are going smoothly is overwhelmed. Our President sent the Marines, the Army, the Air Force and when I got home tonight, I saw on the news we are further “occupying” by anchoring the USS Comfort off the coast of Port au Prince. The USS Comfort is a floating hospital with 12 operating rooms and 1000 hospital beds. The Navy is there too.

The American Free Press reported a few hours ago, the following:

A senior US military official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said priorities on which aircraft could land were set by the Haitian government and the United Nations, with the United States playing only an enabling role.

"There will be times when folks are unhappy, when they have things that they want to get in and need to get in," the official said. "And it's a sheer issue of physics and geometry; you just can't get them all in there."

"There are great people on the ground, working very, very hard to try and get as much in as they can as fast as they can, and try and keep everybody impressed that we are there to support them.

"But there are some people that (are) just not going to be happy because we can't get it all," the official said.

With only a 9,600 foot runway (2,926 meters), the Port-au-Prince airport has been choked with aid flights since the January 12 earthquake that caused massive death and destruction throughout much of the Haitian capital.

Some aircraft were coming in to Haiti without the proper clearances and were then diverted to other airports, according to the official.

But he said about 130 flights a day were now flowing into the airport, up from an initial 30 to 40 flights a day. (AFP)

Now I know the young lady who said these words today is basically a nice girl. She is idealistic and not very wise to the way the world works. (Although, I am sure she thinks she is). She is inclined to think along socialistic lines as long as the government is doing something for her, but not so much when the military is involved.

She didn’t understand that you can’t just go to a country like Haiti- in a catastrophic state of affairs- and hand out food. You will get trampled to death by the very people you are trying to help. Yes, they are desperate. Yes, they need food and water, but there has to be controlled issue of these articles.

She didn’t understand we will probably have troops lose their lives down there- while helping Haitians survive. It never occurred to her I might be friends with some of the parents of Marine’s or even some of the Marine’s themselves that are there to help.

She is young- and naïve and I need to get past what she said and not harbor the resentment that I still feel 8 hours later.

A good friend of mine just reminded me of my own son’s wise words to me when he first became a Marine and someone said something hurtful and ignorant. I asked him then. “What should I say to these people?”

“I do not address ignorance.” He replied.

So, I guess I’ll let it go and spend my energy doing something that fills me up instead of something that drains me. But watch out if you cross my path and mumble words of disrespect to those who serve and their families that pray for their safety. I may not heed my son's advise next time.