Secondly, obviously, there needs to be a strategy that makes sense to people. And the president has said that, prior to the devastation, there was such a strategy that would be able to deal with Haiti as it is with a bright future. And the question -- fundamental question for the country is do we care -- beyond the storm -- or 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.
TAPPER: When you were heading up the tsunami relief with President Bush's father, one of the mottos you had was "building back better." A lot of the infrastructure in Haiti to begin with was really shoddily constructed.
How do you focus reconstruction after the rescue of Haitians and Americans in that country right now takes place? How do you focus the reconstruction so that it is better?
CLINTON: You had to have, first of all, a system you can work with in the Haitian government. And to complement what he said, before this
happened, I watched the Haiti government do things I never thought they'd do. They dramatically speeded up the time that they would approve foreign investment. They finally gave dual citizenship to the Haitian Diaspora; the United States, for example, something the old political powers were scared to do.
They want to modernize the country. So what we'll do is we'll get the donors together and we'll ask the donors to condition the release of their funds based on construction meeting certain standards and being part of a certain plan.
And I think the Haitian government will welcome that. That will give them the support they need. They want to build a modern country.
TAPPER: And last question because we're running out of time -- but to both of you.
You both have been presidents during times of huge natural disasters. What lessons can we learn from previous disasters to apply to the western relief efforts here to make sure we don't repeat mistakes of the past? And I'll start with you
BUSH: Well, I think the most obvious one that comes to my mind is that there are going to be a lot of people who want to help. And it's important to have an organization to funnel that compassion in the proper way.
The other thing is expectations are never met. Like your friend -- your friend -- I'm sure your friend has heard that, you know, Americans want to help. And then he's saying, where is it? And -- and the president is just going to have to do his very best to set proper expectations. I thought he did so today. And then funnel the, you know, the most effective organizations that he's got at his control. That would happen to be the military in my judgment, and -- and USAID to get -- get aid out there as quickly as possible so lives can be saved.
So that email turns to, When are you going to help us in the long-run?
TAPPER: President Clinton?
CLINTON: I think the lessons are in the right now -- logistics matter. Distribution channels have to be built. When there is no structure, you've got to create a structure. Otherwise nothing is sustainable. And the metaphor -- you have -- everybody has seen the pictures on television of the -- the food truck being assaulted. And then running off filled with food to be distributed.