MARCH 16, 2010
The United States has overwhelmingly dominated Haiti earthquake recovery efforts yet President Obama has banned the American flag from flying in the dilapidated island to avoid looking like an occupation force even as other nation’s proudly wave theirs.
In the Obama Administration outrage du jour, Old Glory has been shelved to appease left-wing liberals who early on accused the U.S. of occupying Haiti in the aftermath of the deadly January disaster. The U.S. has sent more money (tens of millions of dollars), search-and-rescue crews, medical personnel, life-saving supplies and sophisticated medical equipment than any other nation.
Americans have also led the effort to maintain a semblance of civility in the distressed island, where looting and violence were prevalent in the earthquake’s aftermath, by deploying the largest military force of any other nation. The western hemisphere’s poorest country, Haiti has long been a hotbed of crime and the tremor’s chaos only made things worse.
While U.S. forces—around 12,000 in total—have saved the day, they can’t display the nation’s flag at their military compound like other countries. France’s tricolor, Britain’s Union Jack and even Croatia’s coat of arms flap in the breeze, a national newspaper reveals, but the Stars and Stripes is prohibited by our beloved commander-in-chief who doesn’t want to give Haiti the wrong idea.
The official explanation from camp Obama this week is that the U.S. is not in Haiti as an occupation force, but rather as an “international partner” committed to supporting its government on the road to recovery. No comment on why other countries, which have contributed far less to the recovery effort, are dignifiedly waving their flag.
This story was first reported last week by a military publication (Army Times) that said the U.S. flag is nowhere in sight at the Port-au-Prince airport or any other forward operating bases because of concerns over “host nation sensitivities.” In the piece, the Army colonel in charge of Haitian operations diplomatically explains his marching orders from the White House—“We are respectful as the invited guests of the Government of Haiti”—and stresses that U.S. forces “proudly wear an American flag” on their right sleeve.
It’s not enough, according to insulted military veterans and those currently serving. In a letter to the Army colonel in charge in Haiti, a veteran who served on numerous disaster relief missions says that the U.S. flag was always flown for two reasons; to remind the people they were helping who came to their rescue and pride.
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