Jean Griffith and Ross Haskell
Special to CNN
In situations like the dire humanitarian crisis that has followed Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti, we all are forced to witness what is the sometimes painful truth behind the cliché about it taking a village to raise a child. In the tragedy unfolding before us now, it will take a global village.
President Obama and former presidents, along with other leaders and representatives of humanitarian organizations, have reminded us of this. We would like to add our own small, humble contribution to the efforts under way around the world to help the people of Haiti.
In particular, we would like to draw your attention to the many children who were living in Haitian orphanages when the earthquake hit. As we have heard from professionals devoted to children's issues, children are among the most vulnerable segments of a population subject to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. It is not hard to imagine that orphans living in institutional care might often be even more vulnerable.
Reporter's Note: President Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is going to Haiti to survey the situation. Perhaps the single best message she could take to all the Americans who are there to help, is “Go ahead.” That’s the subject of my latest letter to the White House.
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Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
The wonderful historian, Stephen Ambrose, wrote at length about the amazing accomplishments of normal American troops during World War Two. He went as far as to suggest that their initiative was what won the war; their instinct to make decisions on the fly and adjust their battle plans, while not always waiting always for instructions from above.
I was fortunate enough to visit with Stephen several times before his untimely death, and he spoke passionately about his faith in the essential creativity, courage, and trustworthiness of ordinary Americans. However, when I look at situations like Haiti, Katrina, and others, I find myself wondering if our leaders these days, at all levels of management in both public and private offices, are driving that spirit into retreat.
Often I am frustrated by the measured lack of bravery and boldness in confronting great problems. I feel like too many leaders, faced with challenges such as a natural disaster, worry too much about having the “perfect” plan, and so they have no plan at all until it is too late. They fret so much over taking excessive risk that they start thinking any risk is unacceptable. They give up on satisfying needs, and instead focus on satisfying lawyers. And in the process, they cage the true heroes who work with them; folks who are ready to put their own concerns and careers behind the needs of others.
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