Clinton lashes out at critics on Haiti

2010-01-27 10:52

US SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton yesterday sharply rebuked

foreign critics of the American response to Haiti’s earthquake and said the

impoverished nation has welcomed US troops.

Marking one year as the top US diplomat, Clinton told employees of

the State Department to be more assertive in challenging what she sees as false

allegations about the nation’s motives.

“I deeply resent 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,” Clinton said.

Clinton did not single out critics but said that “some of the

international press either misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued” the US

decision to send thousands of troops to Haiti.

Her spokesperson, Philip Crowley, later pointed to a television

report by the English service of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera which “we felt was

unfair, unbalanced coverage of operations in Haiti”.

Crowley said the report “suggested there was a militarisation” of

the relief effort and had unfairly likened the Port-au-Prince airport, the hub

of US operations, to the Green Zone where US forces are stationed in

Baghdad.

Al-Jazeera English countered that the report reflected “concerns of

the Brazilian and French governments, aid agencies on the ground and many

Haitians we spoke to” and said the US State Department was allowed to

respond.

“We will continue to provide as accurate an account as possible of

the relief effort, and reflect all opinions on its progress and effect,” a

spokesperson for the network said.

The US sent troops to Haiti in 1915 at a time of instability,

establishing a military government that lasted until 1934.

Clinton, in an interview with the African American-oriented

American Urban Radio Networks, refuted suggestions that Haitians did not want US

troops on their soil.

“Boy, are people glad to see us,” Clinton said. “I have lots of

pictures of Haitians embracing our soldiers, waving at our helicopters,

expressing their thanks.”

 


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