Sunday, November 14, 2010

Differences Between Cultures

Sixty Minutes did two segments this evening; the first being a report on Haiti and the continuing misery going on there which includes earthquakes, hurricanes and a cholera epidemic.  The second was the story of the U.S. Army soldier who will receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in ceremonies later this week.  How could there be any parallels between these stories?

Tangents possibility; however, no parallels.  Haiti is one of those perpetual third world countries which, no matter how much the rest of humanity tries, never seems to even approach the prosperity of other countries, even of those close neighbors in the Carribean.  There are many reasons for these failures.  One of the more obvious is that of having centuries of ineffectual and often criminal governments with the accompanying numerous bureaucrats and officials who each take a share of whatever comes into the country.  This was manifested by the inability of dedicated recovery materials, donated free to Haiti for the benefit of the earthquate refugees, to clear the port and be utilized to help folks recover some semblance of comfort.  It wasn't until the CBS news crew mentioned this to the Haitian president that the materials moved.  Until that time, no Haitian had the gumption to do the right thing.

Our young soldier, on the other hand, comes from a country and an army which recognize the need for people to take the initiative.  In countless episodes, our military members, realizing a necessity, have done the right, and often heroic, thing without having to run the decision through the bureaucracy and make the right payoffs.  A great example of this occurred during the Normandy Invasion of World War II when, paratroops, scattered about northern France, regrouped into small fighting units and went about accomplishing the mission - to free Europe.

Two things come to mind:  I am constantly amazed at the quality of our military forces, especially the young men and women who carry the cause in Afghanistan and Iraq and I'm worried that our country may become like Haiti, at constant loggerheads where nothing can ever get done because we have constructed too many roadblocks in an ever increasing governmental bureaucracy.

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