Devastation in Haiti
(c) Paul Tong
Some wonder how long the military can continue in Haiti one of the largest humanitarian efforts in its history
In one of the largest humanitarian efforts in its history, the U.S. military has sent nearly 20,000 personnel, 23 ships, and an estimated
100 flights a day in and out of
"Now that this immediate relief has been provided, what do we want to do from here?"
And with wars on two fronts, military analysts are posing another question: How long can the Pentagon realistically keep it up?
"We as a military are committed to seeing this through," said Morrell. "But what precisely that means and how many forces are there, doing what kinds of things for how long and at what kind of expense, are precisely the discussions that are being had within the building."
These revolve around the range of the military mission, which to date has been enormous. Some 60,000 feet above the ground, the
Those images have helped the military to figure out, for example, whether roads are still standing or blocked, find places to land helicopters, and peer into fuel storage tanks using infrared sensors to see whether they are full or empty. Aid organizations have contacted the U.S. military with requests as well. "They might say, 'Hey, we just had another mudslide. Can you take a look?' or 'Can we move people up this road and provide safe passage?' " explains Col.
The U.S. military's breadth of involvement in this particular humanitarian disaster has been unique, since
In the meantime, senior U.S. military officials say that it will be difficult to keep up such a large-scale operation for an extended time. The troops "will put in the long hours required to do this, but eventually they have to back off to get back to their normal 60-hour" workweeks, says Yahn. "When you have something like this pop up, you've got to be able to support it," he adds. "But we couldn't support this effort indefinitely."
It was a sentiment echoed last week by Pentagon leadership. "The truth is, no one can provide the kinds of assistance we can, and we are happy to be doing it," Morrell said. "It shows the world we are not a one-dimensional force, we are a force for good." That said, operations in
Haiti - Sometimes the Earth is Cruel
Leonard Pitts Jr
That is ultimately the fundamental lesson here, as children wail, families sleep out of doors, and the dead lie unclaimed in the rubble that once was Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Haiti - Tragedy and Opportunity for Haiti
Kara C. McDonald
The January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, is the first test of the Obama administration's ability to mount a full-scale international disaster response, and it is no ordinary test. Haiti is the poorest nation in the hemisphere, with abysmal infrastructure, struggling to stabilize
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(C) 2010 Carl Hiaasen