by Ezili Dantò
US control of Haiti and other little republics’ vote at the UN is not new
I found an August 10, 2012 George Will opinion piece relevant to UN/US occupied Haiti today for reasons that would probably not occur to Mr. Will. The piece discusses and juxtaposes other US candidates’ “indelicate claims” to Democrat Obama’s current campaign obfuscations that have caused consternation.
Whether intended or not, the opinion piece made a point we’ve made in several articles and commentaries about the key players in Haiti’s containment in poverty and misery today: the Barack Obama administration, Dr. Paul Farmer, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, USAID, Congress, World Bank and the tiny big business corporatocracy they all serve.
See, for instance “Foreign investment means death & repression, Part 1 and Part 2” ; “US False Benevolence: Failure of Foreign “AID” is Structural“; Not voting for Obama: We’re not even buying a voting ticket to the show or, “Haiti: Time to remember Kandyo, the Malfini and Mongoose” where I wrote:
“Stop being so CONFUSED folks by the rebranding of the same old fascists. The good cop/bad cop play-acting of the Democrats and Republicans or that of the “progressives” and the “right wingers…don’t be confused about the power plays between the malfini and the mongoose. Between Democrats and Republicans (Between Obama and Bush.) Or, ‘between Wilson and Harding,’ to quote (Kandyo) one of Haiti’s most favorite satirist” in the time of the first US occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934.
Maybe Mr. Wills intended to make the point that the Republicans and Democrats (the US duopoly) as well as the Left and Right wingers in Congress and elsewhere, mostly serve the same global oligarchs and their profit-over-people interests, especially in the realm of US foreign policy. But I doubt it.
Speaking about US presidential campaigns and an Obama current public faux pas (“private sector is doing fine…the economy is not doing fine”) in an opinion piece titled “It’s a question of context,” George Wills wrote, in part:
“On Aug. 18, 1920, the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee (Franklin Delano Roosevelt), campaigning in Butte, Mont., said that it would be fine for the United States to join the League of Nations because our nation would have multiple votes. He assured listeners that “the votes of Cuba, Haiti, San Domingo, Panama, Nicaragua and of the other Central American states” would not be cast “differently from the vote of the United States,” which is “the big brother of these little republics.”
Then, (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) referring to his days as assistant secretary of the Navy, the vice presidential candidate said: “You know I have had something to do with running a couple of little republics. The facts are that I wrote Haiti’s constitution myself and, if I do say so, I think it a pretty good constitution.” He added: “Why, I have been running Haiti or San Domingo for the past seven years.”
Maybe Mr. Wills intended to make the point that the US empire’s control of Haiti and other little republics’ vote at the UN is not new. Or, say that both Democratic and Republican candidates are ruled by big business (the tiny monopolistic “private sector is doing fine…the economy is not doing fine), support US imperialism and spin their own admissions of this reality onto “the public’s inability to parse plain English.”
Maybe Mr. Wills intended to make the point that Haitians often make, in Haitian folkloric peasant parlance. That is, Haiti and other US dominated client states, and their huddled masses are like small chickens. Both the malfini (ie. the birds of prey – the Republicans, neocons or Right wingers) and the mongoose (ie. the small carnivores – the progressives or Left wingers) are just fighting over which of them will either swoop down from the sky (the malfini – birds of prey) or crawl up from the ground (the destructive terrestrial mongoose) to eat – plunder, pillage, exploit Haiti or the world’s poor masses (the chickens preyed upon by both these predators)! That’s probably not what George Will intended to point out with the FDR/Haiti and other anecdotes in his opinion piece. Nonetheless, he did. FDR and the US did rewrite Haiti’s Constitution, controlled its (League of Nation)/UN vote, just as the current US occupying powers in Haiti today control Haiti, the UN military mission there, help select its president, are rewriting Haiti’s current Constitution as well as Haiti’s mining laws.
(The entire Georges Will’s opinion piece is copied below as well as an Ezili Network reader commentary on this note. )
August 14, 2012
Forwarded by Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
An Ezili Network comment on this note: [ezilidanto] US control of the Haiti vote and the other little
republics’ vote at the UN is not new
Subject: [ezilidanto] US control of the Haiti vote and the other little
republics’ vote at the UN is not new
Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 4:06 PM
(George) Will irritates me, always has.
While the School of the Americas or whatever the torture college is called now
is turning out thugs, and the twin organizations funded by both parties (IRI
and NDI) are still putting dark money where it will be most insidious, and
while oil and corporate profit are the sole measure of US foreign policy
success, and while the wars go on and on and on, Will feeds the pseudo-
intellectual appetite for justification of policies that are only nominally
relevant to what is actually going on anyway.
He runs interference and muddies waters and pollutes the wells when voices of
reason and compassion struggle to be heard above the din of prattling think-
tank wonks. While he’s at it, he builds an ornate edifice of phony history
that he things will kill a few other birds along the way.
But it makes no difference what he says, not really. It only adds to the
confusion, and that is his purpose. While everybody is trying to see, he
shouts “This way! Follow the sound of my voice!” But he isn’t going anywhere.
It’s just childish self-importance that he never got over. And the worst is
that any mention of him in any context only feeds his already overblown image.
Like an old blues musician that nobody listened to, eventually he will be
billed as one of the last remaining authentic voices; but he will still only
have two cords and one lick, and his inability to tune his instrument or sing
on key will be held up as tradition.
By George F. Will, Washington Post, August 10, 2012
Barack Obama claims only that his legislative and foreign policy achievements in his first two years matched those of “any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR and Lincoln” in “modern history.” Some Obama enthusiasts are less restrained.
They suggest that among presidents, he ranks as the most learned since John Quincy Adams, the most profound since James Madison and the most visionary since Thomas Jefferson. And he is, of course, the most rhetorically gifted politician since Pericles.
Yet, remarkably, he is frequently misunderstood. How can this be?
After the June 8 news conference in which he said “the private sector is
doing fine,” he, responding to the public’s strange inability to parse
plain English, held another news conference in which he said: “It’s
absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine; that’s the reason I had a
That clarified everything, but then on July 13 the public, which Obama really must regard as a disappointment, again failed to comprehend him. In Roanoke, Va., he gave what any reasonable person must admit was an admirably pithy and entirely clear distillation of his political philosophy: “You didn’t build that.” The public’s obtuseness forced his campaign to run an ad saying “my words about small business” had been taken “out of context.” Ah, context.
In late October 1980, as Ronald Reagan prepared for his one debate with
President Jimmy Carter, Reagan’s aides worried that Carter might unearth some of the inconveniently colorful things Reagan had said over the years, such as when Patty Hearst’s kidnappers demanded the distribution of free food, including canned goods, Reagan reportedly said something like: This would be a good time for a botulism epidemic. When an aide wondered how Reagan could explain that quip, there was a long pause, and then another aide impishly suggested: “Say it was taken out of context.”
As Obama tries to cope with the public’s peculiar inability to discern his
meanings, perhaps he can take comfort from very similar difficulties of another candidate for national office. On Aug. 18, 1920, the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee, campaigning in Butte, Mont., said that it would be fine for the United States to join the League of Nations because our nation would have multiple votes. He assured listeners that “the votes of Cuba, Haiti, San Domingo, Panama, Nicaragua and of the other Central American states” would not be cast “differently from the vote of the United States,” which is “the big brother of these little republics.”
Then, referring to his days as assistant secretary of the Navy, the vice
presidential candidate said: “You know I have had something to do with
running a couple of little republics. The facts are that I wrote Haiti’s constitution myself and, if I do say so, I think it a pretty good constitution.” He added: “Why, I have been running Haiti or San Domingo for the past seven years.”
As David Pietrusza writes in “1920: The Year of Six Presidents,” Haiti and
the Dominican Republic had been U.S. protectorates since July 1915 and May 1916, respectively, but the boastful candidate had not written any
constitution. Nevertheless, he repeated his indelicate claim — U.S. Marines had recently been involved in some Haitian bloodshed — at three more Montana stops and then in San Francisco.
When, inevitably, the candidate’s words caused consternation here and there, he insisted he never said them, adding magnanimously, “I feel certain that the misquotation was entirely unintentional.” But the controversy continued, so on Sept. 2, in Maine, he added: “I should think that it would be obvious that one who has been so largely in touch with foreign relations through the Navy Department during the last seven years could not have made a deliberate false statement of this kind.”
Idaho’s Republican Sen. William Borah dryly said: “I am willing to admit
that he didn’t say it, though I was there and heard him say it at the
time.” Thirty-one witnesses of the Butte speech signed an affidavit attesting that the candidate had said what he was reported to have said, but public attention had wandered and the issue faded.
Far from being badly injured by this episode, the vice presidential candidate went on to become one of the three presidents in “modern history” — Obama includes Lincoln — whose achievements in their first two years are, Obama says, “possible” to compare to his. The candidate was one of liberalism’s saints, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.