The world's greatest country can't manage to airlift injured Haitians to the hospital?
Hundreds of grievously injured Haitian earthquake victims remained in limbo Saturday, waiting for the U.S. military to resume airlifts to American hospitals four days after the flights were halted amid finger-pointing from the state and federal governments.
The Obama administration insisted late Saturday that the flights ceased because of logistical challenges -- and not over questions of who will pay the hospital bills in the United States, as the military had said earlier in the day.
Flights stopped on Wednesday amid a bewildering flurry of accusations and confusion over intentions, visas and costs -- and an angry surgeon's prediction that 100 of his patients would die if military flights didn't resume.
Military officials blamed Florida hospitals, saying they wouldn't take more injured Haitians. Hospital spokesmen strongly denied saying it.
One hospital administrators' group blamed Gov. Charlie Crist, who insisted he neither asked for a halt to the flights nor suggested it. Crist said that the feds misunderstood his request for their help earlier in the week.
Early Saturday, Navy Capt. Kevin Aandahl, a spokesman for U.S. Transportation Command in Illinois, said the military had stopped the flights because states, including Florida, were unwilling to accept Haitian patients without knowing they would get paid.
"It comes down to this: U.S. Transportation Command cannot do an air evacuation medical mission without an accepting medical hospital on the other end,'' Aandahl said.
Who cares whose fault it is? This is the sort of operation a functional empire with a functional ruling class is able to get done -- if they care about it.
Katrina all over again, except on an island where nobody can see.