Haiti just can’t catch a PR break. Joe Biden’s ill-planned exit from Afghanistan has booted the impoverished Caribbean island, which was walloped by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Aug. 14, off the front pages of America’s newspapers.
The still climbing death toll has passed the 2,000 mark and more than 10,000 people were injured.
Rescue workers are still pulling people from the rubble.
UNICEF estimated 1.2M people, including 540K children, have been impacted by the quake.
The country never recovered from a 2010 quake that killed 300K people and caused $8B in damage, which represents 120 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product, according to the Financial Times.
Hardly a model of political stability, Haiti was further rocked by the July assassination of president Jovenel Moise, a killing that triggered more gang violence and civil unrest.
Prime minister Ariel Henry has vowed that his resource-poor government will provide assistance to the maximum number of victims possible.
Pope Francis has urged the world to pray for Haiti. Prayers are swell but more media attention would deliver more tangible aid to the struggling people of Haiti.
Disgraced former president Donald Trump, who legitimized the Taliban by agreeing to negotiate a treaty with those religious fanatics at the expense of the Afghanistan army, wants Biden to “resign in disgrace” over the fall of Kabul. That’s nuts.
The master dealmaker in February 2020 promised the Taliban that the US military would skedaddle from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 as long as they would refrain from attacking American soldiers.
That enabled the Taliban to train their sights on the poorly supplied and demoralized Afghan Army led by corrupt commanders.
Hundreds of Afghans died.
Mike Pence, Trump’s toady until the president urged Jan. 6 rioters to attack the Capitol where the then-vice president was certifying the election, noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that not a single US soldier died in combat since Trump caved to the Taliban.
Duh. They were too busy killing their countrymen.
Of course, Trump is a sucker for tough guys like Russian president Vladimir Putin, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and the Taliban.
Months before cutting the peace deal, Trump wanted to invite the Taliban leaders to Camp David on Sept. 11 to negotiate a deal until saner aides convinced The Donald that the optics of such a session would be a PR disaster.
Speaking from the White House podium last February to announce the US pull-out from Afghanistan, Trump said he would be meeting Taliban officials “in the not-too-distant future.”
Trump apparently was willing to let bygones be bygones, viewing the Taliban as an ally in the war on terror. He said: “They will be killing terrorists. They will be killing some very bad people. They will keep that fight going.”
Trump’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was part of his overall “America First” plan, which included pulling the US from NATO and South Korea.
Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan is based on cold reality.
If the US couldn’t defeat the Taliban after 20 years at the expense of 2,400 US deaths, 20,000 wounded and $2T, what’s the sense of sticking around for another year or ten or 20?
Pence, who supported withdrawing from Afghanistan, is disingenuous in saying Biden’s decision to pull troops dishonors the service of all Americans who served there.
American soldiers served with honor in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11, driving Al-Qaeda from the country.
That mission should have ended years ago, but continued only because of the lies about progress being made in Afghanistan that were spewed by America’s military industrial complex.
Trump and Biden made the right calls.
Kudos to the the publishers of the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times for their joint letter to president Biden urging him to arrange safe passage for their colleagues who have reported from Afghanistan during the past 20 years.
Almar Latour, Frederick Ryan and A.G. Sulzberger said US support is not only a humanitarian move to save the lives of staffers threatened by the Taliban but also a way to send “an unequivocal signal that the government will stand behind the free press.”
While the Big Three media companies lobby on behalf of their people, the Committee to Protect Journalists said there are hundreds of journalists and media workers who could be targeted by the Taliban regime. It has vetted 300 journalists who are trying to reach safety, while hundreds of other cases are under review.
“The US has a special responsibility to Afghan journalists who created a thriving and vibrant information space and covered events in their country for international media,” said Joel Simon, CPJ director. “The Biden administration can and should do all within its power to protect press freedom and stand up for the rights of vulnerable Afghan reporters, photographers and media workers.”
Companies have increased climate change disclosure, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.
COC’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness surveyed 430 companies and found that 59 percent of them released more info on climate change.
Almost two-thirds (63 percent) say they are communicating with stockholders about the evolving risk of climate change and 46 percent increased the level of detailed information due to shareholder demands.
The Securities and Exchange Commission issued guidance on climate change disclosure in 2010. It plans to update that guidance in the coming months.
Tom Quaadman, executive VP at the CCMC, said his group “will continue working with policymakers and our partners to ensure ESG and climate change disclosure is done in an effective way that incorporates the input of those who will be most affected."