01/15/10 — The bad guys: International relations must include getting rid of the dictators, thieves

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The bad guys: International relations must include getting rid of the dictators, thieves

It is hard to watch the coverage of the earthquake in Haiti without wondering if some of the suffering, some of the tragedy could have been prevented.

The problem is, in a nation like Haiti, there is little infrastructure, little advancement in medical care and little chance that the government could mobilize to act to rescue its citizens.

So, because of all that, the effects of an earthquake of this magnitude are magnified -- and the ability of this nation to take care of its own is extremely compromised.

Now that this crisis has occurred, the world is reacting, scrambling to come up with the personnel and resources necessary to help hundreds of thousands of people who would have no hope otherwise.

We see just how bad it is when we have thousands of U.S. troops waiting to deploy, but there is simply no way to get them in.

It is truly heartbreaking to hear Haitians calling for help and wondering why no one is answering, when we know that those who want to help cannot get there.

But perhaps, as we continue to pursue this humanitarian mission, we should think about what gets nations to this point -- and review other places where the conditions are also ripe for a disaster.

In some countries that are on the U.S. radar, there is no development because there is no leadership. Instead of governments that serve the people, there are dictatorships or despots who simply take from the people to maintain their own lifestyle.

It is in those places that we see incredible need, little infrastructure and millions of people plagued by hunger, illness and diseases that were nearly eradicated in the United States years ago.

And that is where international efforts ought to concentrate, too.

By ending the reign of some of these governments and making sure their theft of money and aid ends, we are taking a proactive stance -- and giving the citizens of these countries the hope that they, too, might be able to have a decent life.

We will always be there when there is a call for help.

How nice it would be to be able to give more nations the gift of being able to help themselves.

And that work starts by taking out the trash.

Published in Editorials on January 15, 2010 10:54 AM