While watching Larry King interview Sean Penn and Diana Jenkins, partners in the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief organization, I'll admit that I had expected a certain response from the actor to the US military's response to the crisis. Penn often pops up in newsworthy places all over the globe, glad-handing the likes of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Tariq Aziz of Iraq. His humanitarian streak took him to New Orleans, and now, Haiti. Perhaps I was expecting Penn rail against the militarization of the humanitarian response, or to denounce the American humanitarian response—as one Italian official did—as "pathetic." As the transcript shows, Penn played against type:
As Diana was saying, you know, it's — it's an extraordinary thing to see an army having an agenda of peace. And they do it with such incredible intentions. ... I would like to tell all my lefty friends out there, these guys are doing an amazing job and they're doing it with the greatest intentions in heart and in conjunction with all of the other organizations. It's a — and it is an amazing amount of cooperation.
I give Sean Penn a lot of credit for his willingness to see events in Haiti with a fresh perspective. I and can certain respect Diana Jenkins, a Bosnian by birth who's only complaint against the US military is that "they came too late" to the defense of her native country.
The American presence in Haiti has been greeted by many Haitians, with some demanding that they "take over." Dr. Evan Lyon complained of the large American military presence in the country, declaring "there are no security issues" in the country. An interesting conclusion to arrive at, that's for sure.