January 27, 2010

Mrs. Clinton's rage

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is very angry. “I deeply resent,” she said at a town-hall meeting with State Department employees, “those who attack our country, the generosity of our people and the leadership of our president in trying to respond to historically disastrous conditions after the earthquake.” However, Mrs. Clinton was not surprised by criticism from countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba, which have accused the United States of occupying Haiti, but she was shocked by comments from Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy’s civil protection service, who described Washington’s earthquake response as “pathetic.”

Yet, to my mind there is something deeply wrong here. Mrs. Clinton assailed those who “attack our country, the generosity of our people and the leadership of our president,” but, as far as I know, Bertolaso didn’t criticize the US, nor did he question, by any means, the generosity of the American people. Yet, it would be reasonable to argue that he criticized (though implicitly) the leadership of President Obama. So what? Would there have been anything wrong with doing so? Is there anything wrong with questioning Washington’s earthquake response? Honestly, I don’t think so. Furthermore it would be useful to remember that, even if Bertolaso may have been a bit too harsh, he is neither the Italian Prime minister nor Italy’s Foreign minister, neither a diplomat nor a politician, he is only the head of Italy’s civil protection department, a man of action and a talented organizer.

That’s why I can’t understand Mrs. Clinton’s reaction. I find it excessive. At this point one might well ask (no offence meant): Is there still freedom of speech for us common mortals when we dare to question nothing less than the leadership of President Obama?


  1. Bertolaso certainly has a point when he says the US isn't all that great at handling big disasters. Remember New Orleans?

  2. Maybe Obama's origines have something to do with US aid being able to arrive in Haiti far more rapidly than in New Orleans. But then again, maybe not.

  3. Canada's response has been the greatest on a per capita basis. Are we "occupying" Haiti? What a couple of predicatable douches Chavez and Castro are.