“I believe that a man must be a good patriot before he can be, and as the only possible way of being, a good citizen of the world. Experience teaches us that the average man who protests that his international feeling swamps his national feeling, that he does not care for his country because he cares so much for mankind, in actual practice proves himself the foe of mankind; that the man who says that he does not care to be a citizen of any one country, because he is the citizen of the world, is in fact usually and exceedingly undesirable citizen of whatever corner of the world he happens at the moment to be in. In the dim future all moral needs and moral standards may change; but at present, if a man can view his own country and all others countries from the same level with tepid indifference, it is wise to distrust him, just as it is wise to distrust the man who can take the same dispassionate view of his wife and mother. However broad and deep a man’s sympathies, however intense his activities, he need have no fear that they will be cramped by love of his native land.”–Teddy Roosevelt
Army Times: The Obama administration says flying the flag could give Haiti the wrong idea.
“We are not here as an occupation force, but as an international partner committed to supporting the government of Haiti on the road to recovery,” the U.S. government’s Haiti Joint Information Center said in response to a query about the flag.
In the immediate aftermath of the quake and our initial response, France accused the US of conducting a de facto “occupation” of Haiti. Not surprisingly, Venezuela and Nicaragua followed suit. Ironically, the French don’t seem terribly concerned with flying their flag over Haiti despite their status as its original colonizer.
The decision not to fly the flag is an embarrassment of weakness on the part of Obama. Our nation has conducted relief efforts for decades through our military, saving millions of people from death, disease, and starvation. Like France, Britain, and Croatia, we have flown our flag during those operations not to note occupation but to represent the American people’s solidarity with those suffering from disaster. That historical record is answer itself to the lunatics in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and even France who indulge in paranoid hysteria.
Fly the flag, Mr. President. Let our actions speak for themselves, but demonstrate that we aren’t ashamed to arrive anywhere in the world with that flag flying proudly.