by Charley Reese
Our only legitimate interest in Haiti is to keep its refugees from flooding our shores. End of discussion.
Yet President Bush has once again dispatched Marines to a country that obviously cannot govern itself. The latest just-fled president is the same one the United States installed during the Clinton administration.
Ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, by the way, has told people he was forced out by the United States and dumped in the Central African Republic. He's probably telling the truth, though the Bush administration denies it. We know how credible the Bush administration is.
Haiti is the oldest black independent republic in the world and the most badly governed, impoverished and mismanaged nation on Earth. The only way to restore order and prosperity would be to make it a colony and run the whole thing ourselves. And who wants to do that? Not I.
What the Haitians obviously need is a benevolent dictator, and while they've never had any trouble finding a dictator, they've had a heck of a time trying to find one who was benevolent or even halfway honest. Haitians are in the unpleasant situation of being their own worst enemy.
When they slaughtered the French in the 1700s, they inherited an island paradise, which they have they since ruined. Many of the hills are denuded of trees, the topsoil has washed away, and the silt has ruined the fishing. Haiti is a festering sore of poverty and disease, and I can't imagine anyone being fool enough to want to go near the place.
Bush's intervention, which is mindless, will be no more successful than past interventions. We should simply leave Haiti alone. If the United Nations or France wishes to intervene, then God bless them and good luck. We should have no part in it whatsoever, other than to keep enough ships at sea to interdict and turn back the refugees.
Sometimes with nations, as with individuals, you just have to give up on them. Sadly, Haiti is in that situation. Its population exceeds its resources, both natural and intellectual. It would take a genius of a dictator to bring about even a modest standard of living, and most of Haiti's dictators have been a long way from geniuses and interested not at all in the welfare of the people.
As harsh as it sounds, perhaps a murderous civil war might produce a leader strong enough to shape up the country. We, however, should stop this lying about democracy. Haitians have never had a real democracy and apparently don't want it.
As for Haitian exiles in the United States who always have advice for us about spending our money and using our troops in Haiti, I suggest that if they are that concerned about their homeland, they return there and do the job themselves. No doubt one of Haiti's problems is that its best and brightest fled the country a long time ago.
Actually, what you are seeing in Haiti is a mini view of the problem of overpopulation. When population exceeds the carrying capacity of an area's land and waters, poverty and disease are the result. Where there is poverty and disease, there will also be civic strife.
Our planet was not designed for 6 billion people. We in the United States, deluded as we are with incessant entertainment, are going to face some hard choices in the near future. We'd better find some leaders with brains and backbones pretty soon. The very first hard choice is to stay completely out of Haiti and its internal miseries and strife.
March 8, 2004
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.
© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.