President Obama’s recruitment of Presidents Clinton and Bush to help in the process of raising funds for relief in Haiti brought to mind memories of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Back then, President Bush recruited his father and President Clinton to take up a similar task.
At the time, the US response was certainly adequate, at least. Criticism was present, as President Bush couldn’t do much of anything without inciting outrage from someone, but the US response was robust and focussed just as the response to Haiti’s earthquake is.
However, when Hurricane Katrina hit, the US government seemed as if it didn’t care. For some reason, the undeniably horrible, delayed response by the Bush administration to Katrina has been compared to Obama’s Haiti. A more appropriate comparison would be comparing Katrina to the recent Ft. Hood and attempted Detroit attacks, in which the government which is there primarily to protect us seemed as bumbling and disconnected as it did under President Bush after Katrina.
That comparison leads to an important point, which is that the United States government and military seems better able to respond to disasters overseas than it is in its own country. This is undeniably a result of countless foreign wars and of being the world’s foremost superpower. We have military personnel at the ready to respond in Port au Prince, Kabul, Baghdad and Okinawa, but not on our very own shores.