Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Confession time: I know virtually nothing about what has been going on in Haiti. The whole story really came out of no where, as far as I can tell. However, reading this Salon article on what went wrong, I was struck by the thought that the fact that this story came out of no where is indicative of how the Bush administration failed in Haiti.

The news media generally leaps on a story for two reasons: it either bites it on the ass (as happened here) or some major newsmaker points out the story to them before it reaches a crisis level (such as a president playing the drumbeats for war in Iraq). That the story in Haiti developed to this bad a point with so little notice by the national media suggests that the Bush administration either didn't care enough about it to make news by doing something about it or they themselves were caught equally by surprise.

I'm not sure which is worse.

When the Bush administration quickly caved to the opposition's intransigence and made it clear that it was not prepared to mobilize an international force to guarantee democracy until after the democratically elected president left office, it undermined its own peace proposal and made the president's position untenable. Rather than seeking a solution within the framework of Haitian democracy, the Bush administration rapidly concluded that Aristide was the principal problem, naively assuming that ushering a democratically elected president out of Port au Prince would usher in a better day for Haiti. "I am happy he is gone. He'd worn out his welcome with the Haitian people," proclaimed Vice President Dick Cheney.

Why does it always come down to personalities to these guys?


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