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commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

The US is down to 500 troops in Haiti…….

As the US winds down…..The UN and other nations pick up the slack…..

I did mention that the US would have troops in this country for a long time…..

The plan still is the US to lend military support for certain civilian missions…..but nevertheless …..

US Military units will be on hand for along time

Hopefully the other nations of the world can help those country rebuild its infrastructure more sturdily…..

Most U.S. troops deployed to Haiti since January’s catastrophic earthquake were set to pull out Tuesday, leaving United Nations forces and civilian aid organizations to help rebuild the battered island nation.

The June 1 departure, which was agreed upon months ago by the U.S. and Haitian governments, was a sign the country has “reached a basic level of sustainment,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told The Wall Street Journal.

“The military played an essential short-term role, but now this is getting back to where the focus is on development, and that expertise rests in the civilian sector,” Crowley said.

More……..



June 2, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Haiti, Health, Home, Media, Men, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Women | , | Leave a comment

Last week in Haiti….Photographs…..

The devastation caused by Haiti’s massive Jan. 12 earthquake may have faded from the news headlines, but the suffering and misery continue. Despite massive international relief efforts, many homeless Haitians still lack daily food and water, and disease in refugee camps is a growing concern. Politics Daily military correspondent David Wood shot these photos while he was embedded with the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, in Port-au-Prince.

Here’s the link for the rest of the photo’s……

February 14, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Family, Food, Government, Haiti, Health, Home, Law, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Women | , | Leave a comment

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti……Moving the Food and supplies…not HOW MUCH is the problem there……

From the Cable.ForeignPolicy……..

Problems with food distribution and infrastructure, rather than a lack of food supplies, are responsible for rising unrest on the ground in Haiti, U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten (the man looking into the camera at right) told The Cable in a phone interview from Port-au-Prince.

“The amount of food we have is sufficient; the issue is getting it out to people in a form they can most easily use and eat and getting it to certain distribution points in sufficient numbers,” he said.

Merten confirmed that on Monday Brazilian personnel used tear gas on a crowd of Haitians at a food-distribution point. He said that aid groups were reevaluating the system for how much food to send where.

“People need to understand there’s a great deal of frustration among people here,” Merten said. “They have to wait longer. Their anger is understandable; it’s unfortunate.”

He also said he completely shared Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s sentiment that she “deeply resented” criticisms by other countries about the military face of the U.S. relief effort.

“The fact of the matter is the military is here because they have the immediate capability to bring humanitarian aid to the area,” Merten elaborated. “They’re close, they have the capability, that’s why they are here.”

“I would suggest that other countries maybe haven’t thought that through.”

The number of flights landing at the Haiti airport has actually gone down recently, but that’s not due to a decrease in demand, according to Merten. There has been a rise in “no shows” — planes that asked for landing clearance but then for whatever reason missed their appointed slots. U.S. Southern Command is still running the airport, but coordinating flight priorities with USAID and the U.N., he added.

Food distribution is the top mission right now, but in a few days that will shift to increasing the amount of temporary shelter. It’s been fortunate for the relief effort that not much rain has fallen since the earthquake, but that luck won’t last forever, Merten said.

It will still be several weeks, however, before any plans for large-scale reconstruction will be developed. The U.S. is evacuating orphans by the hundreds and the main challenges there are linking up the orphans with the correct foster families and making sure they really are orphans in the first place.

Overall, the aid mission is hampered most by poor roads and facilities that weren’t in good shape in the past, but are now also covered in rubble. It takes an hour to travel just 5 miles, Merten said, and traffic congestion is horrendous.

“The infrastructure is a huge limitation here and there’s a lack of appreciation of what the infrastructure challenges here are and were even before the crisis occurred.”

There are now 56 confirmed American deaths in Haiti and 36 more reported but not confirmed. One embassy official, four local hires, and three dependents of U.S. government employees have perished since the crisis began.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Family, Food, Government, Haiti, Health, Media, Men, Military, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Women | , | Leave a comment

Life in Haitian 'tent' cities' is hard…….

Haitian boy

A rooster crows, and two street preachers stand near the gates of a new tent city. They are both women, both wearing black kerchiefs over their hair. One shouts hoarsely into a bullhorn while the other sings sweetly from a “singing bible,” a book of hymns. The sounds clash and blend, grate and harmonize, and the result is, incongruously, achingly beautiful, a sort of Haitian hip-hop gospel.

It is 6:30 a.m., and the refugee settlement known as the Daihatsu camp is coming to life for another day.

“God is looking for you!” the first preacher shouts in Creole. “God needs you! . . . Give him your life! Give him your life! Because he lets you borrow it, he can take it whenever he wants!”

The other woman sings: “The world is not easy. The world is not easy. But God is with us, God gives us grace, for he is looking at you.”

About 20 yards away, a group of teenage girls is in line at the one portable toilet in this camp of about 8,000 refugees from the Jan. 12 earthquake, one of about 500 such tent cities that have sprung up around the Haitian capital.

“You have to listen to them,” one is telling another, nodding toward the street preachers. “You have to have faith.”

That might seem hard, two weeks after the magnitude 7.0 quake shattered the world of everyone in this camp and killed at least 150,000 of their fellow Haitians, including many close relatives and friends. Life is not easy here at the Daihatsu camp, which is named for an adjoining car dealership and marches up a rocky, snake-infested hillside not far from the Port-au-Prince airport.

There is still very much to do in that poor country……and this is only the beginning for the large numbers of surviours…who started mostly with little and now have nothing…….

Note:….there are more fortunate people in the country…..In this piece the rebuilding of the country is being planned.….

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Family, Food, Government, Haiti, Health, Home, Law, Media, PoliticalDog Calls, The Economy, Travel, Updates | , | Leave a comment

Life in Haitian ‘tent’ cities’ is hard…….

Haitian boy

A rooster crows, and two street preachers stand near the gates of a new tent city. They are both women, both wearing black kerchiefs over their hair. One shouts hoarsely into a bullhorn while the other sings sweetly from a “singing bible,” a book of hymns. The sounds clash and blend, grate and harmonize, and the result is, incongruously, achingly beautiful, a sort of Haitian hip-hop gospel.

It is 6:30 a.m., and the refugee settlement known as the Daihatsu camp is coming to life for another day.

“God is looking for you!” the first preacher shouts in Creole. “God needs you! . . . Give him your life! Give him your life! Because he lets you borrow it, he can take it whenever he wants!”

The other woman sings: “The world is not easy. The world is not easy. But God is with us, God gives us grace, for he is looking at you.”

About 20 yards away, a group of teenage girls is in line at the one portable toilet in this camp of about 8,000 refugees from the Jan. 12 earthquake, one of about 500 such tent cities that have sprung up around the Haitian capital.

“You have to listen to them,” one is telling another, nodding toward the street preachers. “You have to have faith.”

That might seem hard, two weeks after the magnitude 7.0 quake shattered the world of everyone in this camp and killed at least 150,000 of their fellow Haitians, including many close relatives and friends. Life is not easy here at the Daihatsu camp, which is named for an adjoining car dealership and marches up a rocky, snake-infested hillside not far from the Port-au-Prince airport.

There is still very much to do in that poor country……and this is only the beginning for the large numbers of surviours…who started mostly with little and now have nothing…….

Note:….there are more fortunate people in the country…..In this piece the rebuilding of the country is being planned.….

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Family, Food, Government, Haiti, Health, Home, Law, Media, PoliticalDog Calls, The Economy, Travel, Updates | , | Leave a comment

On the ground at the Haitian Air Port………

– With yellow lights flashing atop his small pickup truck, Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Van Newkirk crept along the airport taxiway with practiced precision. It was close on to midnight. Immediately behind him, a newly landed C-17 cargo plane was following, relying on Newkirk to find and insert the plane (wingspan: 178 feet) safely into a parking space among the jumble of cargo and passenger planes jammed along the single runway of Haiti’s largest airport.

Suddenly from the gloom a line of headlights appeared: A convoy of U.S. Army trucks, cutting Van Newkirk’s path. “Whoa! Whoa! What the –?” Newkirk cried out, slamming on the brakes and hoping the plane on his bumper, carrying 80 tons of cargo, was hitting the brakes too. He mashed the horn and rolled down his window and shouted into the scream of the jet’s engines: “Idiots!”

Twelve days into the Haiti rescue and relief effort, the U.S. military, which runs the airport here, has imposed a smoothly efficient operation, safely landing hundreds of military and civilian aircraft of all types, getting their cargo and passengers unloaded and moved away, and the aircraft airborne again. Often that happens within an hour, a standard hard to beat at any American airport.

The flow of earthquake relief supplies shows no sign of letting up, “Disease and starvation set in pretty quick and don’t ease up,” said Maj. Matt Jones, an air operations officer here. But chaos presses in at every side, and senior officers say it will be years before the military can turn airport operations over entirely to the Haitians and go home. Although the seaport in this capital city has begun very limited operations and other smaller airfields are open, the Toussaint L’Overture International Airport here is still the major hub for incoming relief supplies, about two million pounds a day.

The story continues…….link..

The U.S. Troops and their assistance will be in that country for years to come…….

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Automobiles, Blogs, Breaking News, Ecology, Food, Government, Haiti, Health, Home, Media, Men, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Women | , , , | Leave a comment

C-17 GlobeMasters are the workhorse's for Haiti supplies and personnel and civilian evacuations….

This from Aviation Week ……

Thrill Rides from Haiti

Posted by David A. Fulghum at 1/22/2010 1:24 PM CST

A lot of U.S. civiliams are getting a rare treat – a combat takeoff in a C-17.

In addition to a U.S. Air Force crisis response group bringing order to the chaos at Port au Prince airport, the service has “evacuated over 2,000 American citizens [from Haiti],” says Lt. Gen. William Lord, chief of war-fighting integration and chief information officer. “Another 600 are lined up to go.”

To accomplish that feat, C-17s are being “floor loaded,” he says. “I know from Hurricane Katrina, that it gets exciting. It’s not the normal way – in chairs and strapped in — that you evacuate people. You put 220 [people] – mostly children – about six across and the C-17 takes off under combat conditions [for a short runway takeoff and to gain altitude quickly].

“Another critical job was to set up a network web site for the Joint Forward Air Controllers so that they can handle the volume of requests for accurate slot times that allow efficient scheduling for aircraft arrivals and takeoffs. In addition, arrangements have been made with the Army and Marine Corps to police the areas where food is being air dropped, he says. The Pentagon is conducting three high level briefings daily on the latest situation in the disaster area.

When ever the Pentagon starts talking about closing down the production of these aircraft…Congress should fund five more…each time….

This is the aircraft…….

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Government, Haiti, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Travel, Women | , , | Leave a comment

C-17 GlobeMasters are the workhorse’s for Haiti supplies and personnel and civilian evacuations….

This from Aviation Week ……

Thrill Rides from Haiti

Posted by David A. Fulghum at 1/22/2010 1:24 PM CST

A lot of U.S. civiliams are getting a rare treat – a combat takeoff in a C-17.

In addition to a U.S. Air Force crisis response group bringing order to the chaos at Port au Prince airport, the service has “evacuated over 2,000 American citizens [from Haiti],” says Lt. Gen. William Lord, chief of war-fighting integration and chief information officer. “Another 600 are lined up to go.”

To accomplish that feat, C-17s are being “floor loaded,” he says. “I know from Hurricane Katrina, that it gets exciting. It’s not the normal way – in chairs and strapped in — that you evacuate people. You put 220 [people] – mostly children – about six across and the C-17 takes off under combat conditions [for a short runway takeoff and to gain altitude quickly].

“Another critical job was to set up a network web site for the Joint Forward Air Controllers so that they can handle the volume of requests for accurate slot times that allow efficient scheduling for aircraft arrivals and takeoffs. In addition, arrangements have been made with the Army and Marine Corps to police the areas where food is being air dropped, he says. The Pentagon is conducting three high level briefings daily on the latest situation in the disaster area.

When ever the Pentagon starts talking about closing down the production of these aircraft…Congress should fund five more…each time….

This is the aircraft…….

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Government, Haiti, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Travel, Women | , , | Leave a comment

More U.S. Troops are going to be needed in Haiti…..

With daily reports of disorganization, unrest, and continued lawlessness…..it appaers more and more that the United States is going to have provide a reluctant but necessary huge increase in military presence.….while the U.N. struggles to keep up some sort of unified preseence…it is a only the might and resources of the United States that is going to get a handle on this sitaution…with bodies still in the streets, and aid being distributed haphazardly….. this just isn’t enough…..

January 19, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Haiti, Health, Law, Media, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Travel | , | Leave a comment