This morning, on the Diane Rehm Show, a panel discussed whether it was wise of President Obama to ask his two immediate predecessors to coordinate America’s efforts to provide relief to the suffering people of Haiti. Most of the criticism has focused on President George W. Bush’s failure to effectively help the people of New Orleans when the levees broke after Hurricane Katrina.
This criticism is as misplaced now as it was deserved after Katrina. Bush is no longer in charge of the government and it is President Obama’s responsibility as Commander-in-Chief and President to coordinate the immediate combined military and civilian efforts to save those trapped in the rubble, bury the dead, and bring food, water and medical aid to the survivors. Bush and Clinton will have a different task, to raise money and to keep the American people mindful of the suffering in Haiti after the CNN cameras are gone.