Q. What is your reaction to the pullout of U.S. trooops from Haiti?

A. As an American one is proud of the contribution of our troops in reopening the airport and port to desperately-needed supplies and in coming directly to the aid of the stricken population. Ordinarily, no one would be happier to see U.S. forces evacuate a Latin American country. But the conditions in Haiti are anything but ordinary. The nearly one million people suffering inhumanely in the camps, the millions others in conditions hardly better, are exposed as never before to rampant misgovernance and violence. The presence of U.S. troops provided a certain counterweight.

Well before the earthquake gangs were operating out of the presidential palace in the traditional manner to threaten political enemies and any who resisted the spreading corruption. The chaos has given the gangs almost free rein. Despite the population?s spontaneous solidarity, depredations and rapes have increased in the camps. Over five hundred of Haiti?s most violent convicts walked out of prison during the earthquake. Only about fifty have been re-arrested. The police chief still does not know how they got out, since the inner wall of the penitentiary held. The wardens and prison guards all disappeared into thin air.

There exist alternatives in Haiti in the capable business class, grassroots organizations, the civil society, and the links to the diaspora. But so long as it is U.S. policy to prop up the traditional type of corrupt and abusive regime against the broad masses of the people, the U.S. military should resign itself to making Haiti a regular stop. This is the third time in sixteen years they have been called in to clean up after the policy-makers. It will not be the last.