Coverage of the disaster in Haiti has driven one message into the collective consciousness. This was, at America's doorstep, an indefensibly poor country.
Hearing this over and over is like passing the guy on the median at the stoplight holding up the cardboard sign. Makes you feel bloated and pampered and makes you wish you could do something ... but you don't. Suddenly something on your dashboard needs attention. You look away. Then, thankfully, the light turns green.
So, here comes the naive liberal question: How could this filthy rich country allow such poverty to exist in its immediate sphere of influence?
We have, of course, spent half a century attempting to starve the Cubans into compliance and they have not bowed their heads. Military dictatorships are like that. So are the Cuban people.
But, we had a reason, albeit a stupidly wrong-headed reason, to starve Cuba. Why have we allowed Haiti to starve?
Of course, we will now thunder into Haiti with relief and supplies on a level only America can provide. It's too bad we had to wait for an earthquake to do it.
Sometimes the logic is inescapable. What friends could we have made in Haiti, or Cuba, or, for that matter, Yemen, Afghanistan or Iran, if we had spent what we have spent on military action on food, medicine, infrastructure and American expertise instead?
How many lives in Haiti could we have saved from this act of nature by helping the Haitians build a solid foundation -- literally -- for their people before the earth shook?