Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No American Flag in Haiti

Don't miss this post by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air regarding the Obama administration's decision NOT to fly the American flag at our main relief installation in Haiti.

Ed points to this Army Times article for the story:

The Obama administration says flying the flag could give Haiti the wrong idea.

"We are not here as an occupation force, but as an international partner committed to supporting the government of Haiti on the road to recovery," the U.S. government's Haiti Joint Information Center said in response to a query about the flag.

You will remember that there was some flap from France, Venezuela, and Nicaragua about the U.S. being an "occupational force" right after the earthquake. Ed says:

The decision not to fly the flag is an embarrassment of weakness on the part of Obama. Our nation has conducted relief efforts for decades through our military, saving millions of people from death, disease, and starvation. Like France, Britain, and Croatia, we have flown our flag during those operations not to note occupation but to represent the American people’s solidarity with those suffering from disaster. That historical record is answer itself to the lunatics in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and even France who indulge in paranoid hysteria.

Army Col. Billy Buckner defends the decision and says it's a smart and sensitive decision:

“We are respectful as the invited guests of the Government of Haiti,” Buckner said. “Our commanders are smart and intuitively understand their mission here in Haiti and clearly the sensitivities that come with supporting the mission. In most cases, they have operated in a [counterinsurgency] environment in Iraq and Afghanistan and know how to interact with the people. Bottom line is our commanders are using their best judgment to focus on the mission.

“It is no mystery that U.S. forces are on the ground, and we proudly wear an American flag on our right sleeve,” Buckner said.

In The Navy Times Buckner says there is no "prohibition" from flying the flag:
There is no official prohibition from doing so there or at any of the U.S. operating bases supporting relief operations in Haiti — either by the military or the State Department, officials said. But, said Army Col. Billy Buckner, a spokesman for Joint Task Force-Haiti, “We have just chosen not to do so.”

As Andy McCarthy says, "Day by day, bit by bit..."

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