No US Flag Flying During Haiti Relief Mission

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Posted: Mar 16, 2010 5:11 PM
The Army Times is asking a good question: Why is there no American flag being allowed to fly over America's main relief installations in Haiti?

The many nations helping Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake that struck there have set up their own military compounds and fly their flags at the entrances.

France’s tricolor, Britain’s Union Jack and even Croatia’s coat of arms flap in the breeze.

But the country whose contributions dwarf the rest of the world’s — the United States — has no flag at its main installation near the Port-au-Prince airport.

The lack of the Stars and Stripes does not sit well with some veterans and servicemembers who say the U.S. government should be proud to fly the flag in Haiti, given the amount of money and manpower the U.S. is donating to help the country recover from the Jan. 12 quake.

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.

This report is very troubling to me.  It'd be one thing if no countries giving Haiti aid were flying their flags, but according to this report, the USA--the country bringing the largest support effort to the table--is holding back when it comes to flying Old Glory because we don't want to appear to be an "occupying force"?  As our friend Ed Morrissey writes over at HotAir, that idea is ridiculous:

At first blush, it seems as though the Obama administration has been buffaloed by the French into hiding Old Glory.  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.

Further disheartening is the fact that our own administration views flying our flag on foreign lands not as a statement of pride in America and all she stands for, but rather as a symbol of "occupation."  I agree with Ed: the president should order the flag be flown over U.S. installations in Haiti:
Let our actions speak for themselves, but demonstrate that we aren’t ashamed to arrive anywhere in the world with that flag flying proudly.