Poor excuse

Did you hear about this travesty in Haiti?

Earthquake victims, writhing in pain and grasping at life, watched doctors and nurses walk away from a field hospital Friday night after a Belgian medical team evacuated the area, saying it was concerned about security.

The decision left CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta as the only doctor at the hospital to get the patients through the night.

Truly awful. But check out this subtle spin in an excerpt from that CNN article quoted by Instapundit:

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who led relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said the evacuation of the clinic’s medical staff was unforgivable.

“Search and rescue must trump security,” Honoré said. “I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life. They need to man up and get back in there.”

Honoré drew parallels between the tragedy in New Orleans, Louisiana, and in Port-au-Prince. But even in the chaos of Katrina, he said, he had never seen medical staff walk away.

“I find this astonishing these doctors left,” he said. “People are scared of the poor.”

“Scared of the poor?” General, they aren’t scared “of the poor” — at least not because they’re poor!


The early reports of looting came as United Nations peacekeepers patrolling the capital said people’s anger is rising that aid hasn’t been distributed quickly, and the Brazilian military warned aid convoys to add security to guard against looting.

Toronto Sun:

Next to burning corpses, young men fight over the goods they’ve looted from the crushed shops in the city’s downtown core.

They lit the bodies on fire, one man explains, to avoid spreading diseases. Thick smoke and dust hangs like a dense cloud.

The men hit each other violently as they fight over aluminum bowls and computer bags.

Riots erupt. The stores are ravaged.


Reports say scores of people went on the rampage in the town of Les Cayes, blocking roads, looting shops and shooting at UN peacekeepers.

The UN said its personnel had opened fire at some of the armed protesters.

For two days running, parts of Haiti have been erupting into violence triggered by the soaring cost of food.

Those doctors may not have done the right thing that night. Or maybe they did. Can we say, perhaps, that he who heals and runs away may leave to heal another day? We weren’t there, and neither was General Honoré. But he’s a military man. I’m not one. Doctors and nurses aren’t, either — they’re doctors and nurses. They didn’t volunteer for martyrdom.

There’s nothing unique to a brick or shard of metal between your eyes that gets there via a poor man, as opposed to anyone else. These medical people may or not be guilty of cowardice. But as they surveyed the simmering crowd they decided to escape, it seems hardly unlikely that they were adding up the net worth of its desperate, madding members.

Cross-posted on Ron Coleman’s okay blog, Likelihood of Success.

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