Bush: Don't politicize Haiti disaster

Jan. 17, 2010 at 1:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Former U.S. President George Bush said Sunday the humanitarian response to the Haiti earthquake should not be politicized.

Asked by ABC's "This Week" about comments from some U.S. conservatives accusing President Barack Obama of using the Haiti disaster for political gain and others asserting that aid to the impoverished nation is wasted, Bush said, "We've got to deal with the desperation. And there ought to be no politicization of that."

Bush, making the Sunday talk show rounds with fellow former U.S. President Bill Clinton in a bid to elicit donations for Haiti relief efforts, disagreed with conservatives who contend efforts to help Haiti are useless because its corrupt government has thrown away millions of dollars in past foreign aid.

Agreeing with Clinton that a long-range strategy on Haiti needs to be established to ensure aid is well-spent, Bush said, "The fundamental question for the country is, do we care? Beyond the earthquake, do we care?

"And the answer is, I think we should, and I think we ought to care from a humanitarian perspective and I also think from a strategic perspective, because it makes sense to have a stable democracy in our neighborhood."

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