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January 21, 2010

If it starts to swing, run

Unlike recent military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, this week's military occupation of Haiti has been conducted without an United Nations mandate. And, naturellement, this means the French are on hand to help. An uncharitable urge suggests we have gone hunting with the accordian guy.

There is only one functioning pier. It looks stable, but it is not. Sgt. Joshua Palmer, a U.S. Army diver, said that he and his men have examined every piling and that the news is not good. Many are splintered at the tops, tipped with frayed rebar where there should be solid concrete. It is not clear whether the pier can handle the weight it needs to bear. "I'm just a grunt, but I don't know. There's a lot missing under this pier," Palmer said.

The Americans weren't happy that a French naval vessel, the Francis Garnier, had docked. They weren't being competitive. They were being cautious. The French ship and its cargo could have tipped the pier over like an empty paper cup.

An ounce of preparation: Glenn Reynolds points to a lesson on preparedness in the wake of the disaster in Haiti.

Here at Popular Mechanics, we've posted a number of special issues on disaster preparedness, with stories on the top first-aid kits you can buy, steps to save yourself when a natural disaster hits, stories about smart survival tactics that saved lives, hundreds of must-have survival gadgets and gear and a lot more. There's also lots of government help on such topics. (This L.A. Fire Department guide (pdf) on earthquake preparation is actually applicable to a lot of other potential disasters. And there's much more information available at Ready.gov.)

Or you could choose the Reality Based approach to the problem, I mean, it's all relative right?: Chavez: US weapon test caused Haiti earthquake.

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez has once again accused the United States of playing God. But this time it's Haiti's disastrous earthquake that he thinks the U.S. was behind. Spanish newspaper ABC quotes Chavez as saying that the U.S. navy launched a weapon capable of inducing a powerful earthquake off the shore of Haiti. He adds that this time it was only a drill and the final target is ... destroying and taking over Iran.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 21, 2010 08:37 AM