David Brooks' commentary in the Jan. 17 Forum ("Haiti Was Destroyed by People, Not Nature") was cruel and offensive, especially at a time when the people of Haiti are suffering from such a great tragedy. Mr. Brooks, like the evil televangelist Pat Robertson blames the victims for an event that no one foresaw. His dismissal of all efforts to ameliorate poverty in one of the poorest nations only underlines his insensitivity and ignorance. He sees no cause of Haitian misery in decades of U.S. occupation, 30 years of U.S. support for the hated Duvalier dictatorship and two forced deposals of the elected president of this tiny country.
While these interventions are ignored, Mr. Brooks attacks Haitian culture, depicting it as shaped by voodoo religion; no doubt this is the understanding Mr. Brooks receives from watching Hollywood movies.
Mr. Brooks recommends a No Excuses counterculture, as though that would somehow create and distribute the wealth that does not now exist in Haiti. This prescription made by someone who has always enjoyed the benefits of education and privilege takes arrogance to a new level.
It is pathetic that a nationally syndicated columnist would use a tragedy of this dimension to promote his own political agenda of callous neglect for the needs of billions of people not as fortunate as our own. Sadly, this column will serve as a further excuse for those who are unwilling to help those now suffering in Haiti.