Friday, January 15, 2010

Opportunity from Destruction

There might be a chance I acted a little hastily when I OMGed my opinion about reports of Obama and Sarkozy committing to convening a conference about Haiti's reconstruction, barely 24 hours after the tragedy occurred. Pledging to hold a conference about reconstruction while people were still trapped or stumbling over dead bodies, seemed a,uh...untimely. Tacky, actually.



I apologize. My status update might have been a bit er, uh, premature. Untimely.

On further thought, Obama's committing to reconstruction may be more wily than tacky. The announcement is mistimed, at the very least, but, looking forward, the outcome could be a win-win.

I am so sorry for what's happened; the grieving, the suffering. This Act of God has left, some say, two hundred thousand dead. What can you say? "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (The Holy Bible, Romans 8:31)

Assuming management of a small, dependent country in desperate need during an evolving crisis like this is commendable. It could also be a veritable jobs program for the U.S. for years to come.

Aid money is pouring in from us and plenty of other countries. The U.S. Army is managing the airport in Port Au Prince already. The airport tower was toppled by the earthquake; Haiti no longer has the capability to manage it.

There are piles of debris to be searched, roads to be cleared, the technological and physical infrastructure to just support the aid workers, for a start.

All those construction jobs...

We'll see how this goes. America's efforts have been given to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)to manage, a subagency of the State Department. Obama's nominee (did he ever get confirmed?) is headed over with tomorrow with Mrs. Obama and Secretary Clinton (who was in Indonesia or somewhere else in Asia, but came back mid-trip).

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