WASHINGTON -- There is no doubt that the terrible earthquake in Haiti -- the worst disaster in the history of the Western Hemisphere -- is a tragedy of profound proportions. The good news is that the "first responders" on-scene were wearing American uniforms. The U.S. Coast Guard -- motto: "Semper Paratus" (Latin for "Always Ready") -- was "firstest with the mostest" and began providing emergency assistance within hours of the Tuesday night quake.
The White House quickly ordered reinforcements. A veritable armada -- consisting of U.S. Navy ships and aircraft, Air Force cargo and aeromedical flights, a brigade of the 82nd Airborne and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit -- was dispatched for rescue, relief and security operations. In an era when the so-called mainstream media make much of how our armed forces are "overstretched" by commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden, the U.S. military's rapid reaction to the catastrophe in Haiti is a lesson for the potentates of the press -- and tinhorn despots, such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
Events in Haiti have eclipsed some good news from the war in Afghanistan. Last week on Fox News Channel, I described how the Haqqani network -- perhaps the most dangerous terror group operating against NATO forces and the Karzai government in Kabul -- was tripped up by the malfeasance of its leaders. A grotesque series of pornographic videos, apparently made by senior members of the Haqqani organization, shows them committing serial rape. The perpetrators and victims -- young ethnic Pashtun girls and boys -- are clearly visible in videos being distributed on Islamic Web sites, DVDs and VHS tapes sold at "porn bazaars" in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Outraged Muslim clerics have accused those involved of "crimes against Islam."
The "founder" of the terror network, Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, was once the Taliban minister of borders and tribal affairs. His eldest son -- Sirajuddin, aka Siraj -- now runs the day-to-day operations of the organization and maintains close ties with Taliban leaders and al-Qaida. The network operates from tribal havens along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and is believed to be connected to a wave of suicide bombings -- including the Dec. 30 attack at Camp Chapman in Khost province, which killed seven CIA personnel and wounded six others.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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