Save Haiti the smart way

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The natural progression of things after a disaster such as the Haiti earthquake is rescue, recovery and rebuilding.

Earthquake survivors, watched by UN troops from Argentina, helped to unload emergency supplies in the Haitian city of Leogane on Wednesday.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Earthquake survivors, watched by UN troops from Argentina, helped to unload emergency supplies in the Haitian city of Leogane on Wednesday.

As the rescue of survivors, and the recovery of bodies, went on this week, talk continued of rebuilding in Haiti.

A few questions at the outset:

- How much more can the United States afford to invest in Haiti? Estimates are we've sunk close to $3 billion into Haiti since the early 1990s. To what end? It's still the poorest nation in the hemisphere -- and it's clear in the aftermath of the quake that the government was shaky to begin with.

- What strings should attach to any rebuilding money we send there? If your uncle were bailing you out of a jam, would he not have the right to have some say in what you do with his money? How you live your life while you pay him back? Wouldn't he be irresponsible himself if he invested in you knowing that you'll blow the money?

- Even if Port-au-Prince were reconstructed -- with buildings able to withstand natural disasters -- what kind of human infrastructure would be left? Would the government be worth our investment -- and would we have any say in its infrastructure? Would emergency services and utilities be up to responding to the next disaster, without having to depend on airlifts from other countries?

The bottom line question is, is Haiti even a viable investment?

One other question: What are the constitutional limits of federal charity? And where is it provided for in the Constitution? This president and others before him have felt at liberty to promise other countries all sorts of our money for all kinds of reasons. We won't question the $100 million in humanitarian aid Mr. Obama has promised Haiti, though one legitimately could. But when it comes to money for reconstruction in Haiti, will our government again feel free to dig into our pockets in order to invest our money in a questionable enterprise?

"All the money in the world will be of no help should Port-au-Prince be returned to the state it existed in prior to Jan. 12," writes Michelle Anjirbag in the University of Connecticut Daily Campus .

"A precondition of the Haitian government's legitimacy is its ability to deliver basic services," writes Robert Muggah in the Toronto Globe and Mail . "Haiti needs a coherent strategy to deliver certain core services."

Maybe something as radical as a Marshall Plan.

Will there even be a coherent plan? Or should we just start airlifting money in?

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TheDeerhunter
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TheDeerhunter 01/22/10 - 11:21 am
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"Besides, they suffered the

"Besides, they suffered the tragedy of Nazi Germany atrocities much more recently than the Haitians' ancestors were sold by their brothers." Haitians fought with the Patriots in the American Revolution.

butler123
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butler123 01/22/10 - 11:22 am
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I'd really like to know what

I'd really like to know what kind of jobs you think we could create in Haiti. Half of the population is illiterate, more than half are under 20 years old. There is no room to build anything. No trees for lumber to build anything. This is Katrina all over again. Many of these people will be better off than they were before, but that is all we need, millions of more people dependant on our government. Don't get me wrong I think we should be helping, I just hope that what is left of Haiti's government kicks out once the initial crisis is over. If we were to spike the water with birth control before we left it would be the best thing we could do for them.

butler123
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butler123 01/22/10 - 11:42 am
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I was thinking the other day,

I was thinking the other day, it would be nice if people would send text messages for reducing our national debt. Just think if every citizen would send $10 for that.

grinder48
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grinder48 01/22/10 - 12:06 pm
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Great editorial. Whatever
Unpublished

Great editorial. Whatever happens, need to not allow Haitians to be relocated to the US. We're already overburdened and if they come here we'll have them on welface, overcrowding schools already short on resources, we'll put them on healthcare rolls, crime will increase, etc. Now they're starting to relocate them to Guantanimo. That may well be a stepping stone to the US. Write your elected officials, demand they not relocate here.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 01/22/10 - 12:15 pm
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But steve, that why the whole

But steve, that why the whole world loves and respects us!!

SteveCagle
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SteveCagle 01/22/10 - 12:26 pm
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justthefacts.....and yet so

justthefacts.....and yet so many Americans are having trouble respecting our own country.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 01/22/10 - 12:39 pm
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yea, I was being sardonic.

yea, I was being sardonic.

1941
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1941 01/22/10 - 12:39 pm
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ACES; You don't have to give

ACES; You don't have to give a dime, they sre getting plenty of dollars!!! I wondered how long it was going to take your paper, to start to complaining about some ones elses dimes!!! And if you are not giving, you have no right to speak, on how the country is going to spend it!!! Were you concerned about Haiti before the earthquake? Have you written an editorial about Haiti before? Just asking!!!!!

SteveCagle
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SteveCagle 01/22/10 - 12:40 pm
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justthe...understood.

justthe...understood.

wlightnin42
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wlightnin42 01/22/10 - 01:26 pm
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"Save America the smart way"

"Save America the smart way" Spend your money here and help out the struggling Americans from this Financial Earthquake. We have millions of people here in the states that need help before helping others.

chel
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chel 01/22/10 - 01:58 pm
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Once again we can be proud as

Once again we can be proud as Americans that we are such a giving nation. Once again we are watching powerful countries such as China limiting their donation (as well as France, Venezuela, etc). As taxpayers (once again) we do not get a say as to where our money goes. Other countries give pennies against our dollars because they know we will be the "saving grace" for the weak. Unfortunately we are a broke nation owned by China. If we can't afford to feed our own hungry and homeless, how are we going to sustain years of support to a country that will never change? I feel for the people in Haiti and have given support to the relief efforts in several ways. But we need to take care of our own house before we find ourselves on the streets with our eviction notice from China taped on our door.

fiscallyresponsible
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fiscallyresponsible 01/22/10 - 02:24 pm
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Well said chel

Well said chel

ustabe
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ustabe 01/22/10 - 05:36 pm
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Agree with you, chel!

Agree with you, chel!

404Law
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404Law 01/22/10 - 10:40 pm
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NEVER BEFORE have I read an

NEVER BEFORE have I read an editorial written by the executive staff of a newspaper that was so poor in its explication of international policy and issues of international aid. Seriously, this is a really pathetic articulation of a counter-perspective. It's no wonder the paper is near bankrupt. The editorial staff of the AC are lacking in vision and hold very shallow perspectives on world affairs. Who writes this stuff? FYI - Stop writing these editorials the night that they are due. Take some time and reflect before going to print.

CalvinCool
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CalvinCool 01/26/10 - 12:53 am
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my favorite quote from a

my favorite quote from a Haitian:

"We will write our Act of Independence using a white man's skull for an inkwell, his skin as parchment, blood for ink, and a bayonet as pen."

Nice to see that they don't hold a grudge when it comes to asking for productive people to save them again.

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