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Mixed reactions to U.S. Marines in Haiti

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  • Mixed reactions to U.S. Marines in Haiti

    As the convoy passed an angry knot of people, one youth shouted: "You took our president -- now you're taking our country!"


    All I could think about reading this was somalia. This is the kind of stuff that gets me worked up. I really do not like how we are equipped to handle it.

    I do think if we are going to have to do this kind of security detail, we need a specialized "nation building" force. Our military is trained to chase, disable and kill. Not police. It obviously reflects in the challenges of Afghanistan and Iraq. They got them playing cop now, not soldier. That is why the National Guard is being leaned on so much.


    I mean, this kind of action is a much different from Germany or Japan.
    These (somalia, rwanda afghanistan, iraq) are by and large lawless, rebel/tribal regions. They are somewhat more primitive societies compared to germany or japan, in regards to rule of law.

    I think we caved to international pressure on this one.
    Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

  • #2
    More

    Whose coup in Haiti?

    Mar 4th 2004
    From The Economist print edition


    Jean-Bertrand Aristide played a big part in his own downfall. But Washington made mistakes too

    AFP

    NO, IT is not Iraq. But once again, American television screens have been full of pictures of their country's troops being helicoptered into a foreign land, to stake out bridgeheads and secure perimeters. Once again, the marines are being dispatched in the name of peace, order and democracy. In Haiti, their mission is on a much smaller scale (up to 2,000 American troops will be involved), and is less dangerous than in the battlefields of the “war” on terror. It is cast in an older mould, a police action in Uncle Sam's backyard. But as so often in the past, the marines have flown in through a cloud of controversy and much debate as to how deep and lasting should be their commitment. And as in Iraq, the Americans are already being accused of being slow to take charge, allowing a power vacuum to develop.

    The Americans, along with French, Canadian and Chilean troops, form the spearhead of a “multinational interim force” approved by the United Nations' Security Council to “secure and stabilise” the country, facilitate humanitarian aid and establish law and order. Its arrival followed the ousting of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's elected president, by a combination of armed rebellion, popular protest and French and American pressure.



    A thuggish rebellion

    No sooner had Mr Aristide landed in African exile than he claimed to be the victim of kidnapping and an American coup against democracy. “Nonsense,” George Bush's spokesman retorted; Mr Aristide had agreed to resign to avoid further bloodshed. But the controversy does not end there. The Bush administration faces two other, somewhat contradictory, criticisms (see article). The first is that by refusing to send troops until Mr Aristide, a leftist former priest, stepped down, it in effect endorsed the thuggish armed rebellion against him. The second charge is that it was far too slow to appreciate the seriousness of the Haitian crisis.

    These criticisms owe something to electioneering in the United States. But there are serious questions to answer. Mr Aristide became the sixth leader in Latin America since 1999 to be ousted before the end of his term. That is worrying confirmation that the region's democratisation, one of the great achievements of the past two decades, remains far from consolidated. The United States did much to promote the spread of democracy, and Mr Aristide was part of the process. In 1990, he became Haiti's first freely elected leader. Within months he was overthrown by a military coup. In 1994, Bill Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore him to power. The Bush administration has seemed more ambivalent, withholding support from elected leaders it dislikes. In 2002 it failed to condemn a coup (quickly reversed) against Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, one of America's main oil suppliers.

    Establishing democracy in Haiti, the poorest and most misgoverned country in the Americas, was never going to be easy. The Americans and the United Nations quickly gave up. But Mr Aristide, too, carries much of the blame. The same dogmatic inflexibility that made him a brave opponent of dictatorship made him a poor democratic ruler.

    Having installed an ally as president in 1995, Mr Aristide was complicit in delaying legislative elections for three years, with a consequent breakdown of government and the loss of several hundred million dollars of aid. When those elections were at last held in 2000, they were flawed. Several opposition candidates were murdered; the electoral court was browbeaten into awarding ten disputed Senate seats (and thus a majority) to Mr Aristide's party. Mr Aristide was then re-elected president in a poll boycotted by the opposition.

    Ironically, Mr Aristide would almost certainly have won a free vote. But he was turning into another Haitian despot, wanting absolute control of his destitute country. He relied on gangs to enforce his rule. So reviled had this become that he was toppled by a rag-tag army of as few as 200 rebels.

    But the opposition's democratic halo is equally tarnished. It refused all compromise with Mr Aristide, seeking his overthrow. Its claims not to support the armed rebels rang hollow. The Bush administration insists it gave no support to the rebellion. But it blocked aid to the government for years. And the Republican Party gave active help to the opposition.

    The most plausible charge against the Bush administration is that it looked away as Haiti's discontents came to the boil late last year. Only last week, when the Americans became alarmed at a potential exodus of refugees, did their diplomats put their weight behind a compromise that would have kept Mr Aristide in power in a coalition government with the opposition, pending fresh elections. That was the best option; Mr Bush acquiesced in its rejection by the opposition.

    But the United States was hardly alone in refusing to prop up Mr Aristide. France and Canada took the same view. And countries that are prepared to risk their troops to keep the peace are surely entitled to set the conditions on which they will do so. Most important of all, though perhaps 80 Haitians were killed in the rebellion, Mr Bush can claim—so far—to have forestalled the bloodbath forecast by many.



    Dealing with elected despots

    Will the occupiers be successful this time in laying the basis for a more democratic and less poor Haiti? Already, there are worrying signs. They are supposed to be implementing a plan drawn up by Caribbean mediators. The chief justice was named as the interim president. Mr Aristide's prime minister remains in office. A council of “wise men”, to be drawn from both sides, is supposed to govern until elections can be held. After order is restored, the UN plans a “follow-on” force devoted to supporting constitutional rule.

    Yet the suspicion remains that the United States is blessing a coup. Guy Philippe, the quick-witted rebel leader, was allowed to march into the capital, where he proclaimed himself head of a reconstituted army. The abolition of that repressive institution was one of Mr Aristide's achievements. What Haiti needs is a stronger and better police force. Mr Philippe, a former police chief, may deserve a place in that—provided there is no truth to allegations, which he denies, of drug trafficking. Some of his followers with death-squad pasts belong in jail.

    Outsiders will be needed for several years if Haiti is to become a better place, though not necessarily in large numbers. Haitians themselves need to learn to work together. And just as much as aid, mobilising the resources of the Haitian diaspora is vital in fighting poverty.

    The lasting question raised by the past month's events is how to deal with elected presidents who start to rule despotically. The world has fumbled this in Zimbabwe. The United States may well be faced with it again in Venezuela, if Mr Chávez quashes a recall referendum on his rule. There are no easy answers. But one lesson is not to allow such questions to become tainted by partisanship at home. The same rules should apply to elected despots of the right (such as Peru's Alberto Fujimori, accepted for too long by the United States as an ally) as to those of the left. Haiti has been ill-served by becoming the plaything of partisan politics in Washington. There should be no place for coups in the democratic Americas.


    Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

    Comment


    • #3
      Not much good to say about the Bush administration on this one.

      I'm very curious about this :
      The Bush administration insists it gave no support to the rebellion. But it blocked aid to the government for years. And the Republican Party gave active help to the opposition.
      Exactly what "active help" did the Republican Party give to the opposition of an elected leader of a country.

      Sounds awfully familiar to other Republican administration's dealings in South America.
      2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

      Comment


      • #4
        I guess all these passages slipped by huh Trig.

        You partisan hack.


        In 1994, Bill Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore him to power.
        Establishing democracy in Haiti, the poorest and most misgoverned country in the Americas, was never going to be easy. The Americans and the United Nations quickly gave up. 

        Mr Aristide was complicit in delaying legislative elections for three years, with a consequent breakdown of government and the loss of several hundred million dollars of aid. When those elections were at last held in 2000, they were flawed. Several opposition candidates were murdered; the electoral court was browbeaten into awarding ten disputed Senate seats (and thus a majority) to Mr Aristide's party. Mr Aristide was then re-elected president in a poll boycotted by the opposition.

        Ironically, Mr Aristide would almost certainly have won a free vote. But he was turning into another Haitian despot, wanting absolute control of his destitute country. He relied on gangs to enforce his rule. So reviled had this become that he was toppled by a rag-tag army of as few as 200 rebels.

        The lasting question raised by the past month's events is how to deal with elected presidents who start to rule despotically.
        The most plausible charge against the Bush administration is that it looked away as Haiti's discontents came to the boil late last year.
        Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

        Comment


        • #5
          Lazy - you're out of your mind.

          None of those statements you pulled out are "good things to say about Bush".

          And you overlooked the criticism entirely.

          Like the last paragraph:
          Haiti has been ill-served by becoming the plaything of partisan politics in Washington. There should be no place for coups in the democratic Americas.
          2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

          Comment


          • #6
            He's going to walk the plank again today.

            Self-inflicted wounds are the most delicious.
            And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

            -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Damtoft@Mar 5 2004, 01:00 PM
              He's going to walk the plank again today.

              Self-inflicted wounds are the most delicious.
              Following me around like a scalded cat again, huh JD?

              Can't stop thinking about trigfunctions, can you.
              2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

              Comment


              • #8
                I do enjoy watching you humiliate yourself with your hate-filled screed.

                I'm glad you decided to remove the mask yesterday.

                Most people do pause and glance at accident scenes.
                And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                Comment


                • #9
                  Trig you are something else.

                  You took that whole article and picked out only the Bush Administration. I repeat, you are a partisan hack.

                  Then you throw back some sanctimonious crap like this:
                  And you overlooked the criticism entirely.

                  Like the last paragraph:
                  Haiti has been ill-served by becoming the plaything of partisan politics in Washington. There should be no place for coups in the democratic Americas.
                  Instead of realizing and acknowledgin that to continue to give aid or even to intervene prematurely(which none of your other "role-model" countries had) was to finance and protect a repressive and dictatorial leader.

                  Exactly what you blame the Bush administration to have done elsewhere for years.


                  You have become transparent.
                  Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    >>You have become transparent.<<

                    Always has been to his on-line pals that know him best.
                    And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                    -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lazydaze@Mar 5 2004, 01:09 PM
                      Trig you are something else.

                      You took that whole article and picked out only the Bush Administration. I repeat, you are a partisan hack.

                      Thats BS lazy.

                      All I said was "Not much good to say about the Bush administration on this one."

                      Which is absolutely true. That article does not have much good to say about Bush.

                      I didn't claim Clinton was perfect, or that Aristide was a saint or anything else.

                      I said that the article doesn't have much good to say about Bush.

                      That's not being partisan - that's stating the facts.

                      What is with this VASTLY misrepresenting my every sentance?

                      I'm sorry that everytime I make a comment about Bush, I don't also throw in a criticism of Clinton, as you would prefer, but Clinton isn't running things anymore.
                      2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Trigfunctions+Mar 5 2004, 01:16 PM-->
                        QUOTE(Trigfunctions @ Mar 5 2004, 01:16 PM)

                      • #13
                        Good one, lazy.

                        Instead of addressing what I wrote, you go for nonsense.

                        That's the best option when you can't refute what I said.
                        2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Trigfunctions@Mar 5 2004, 01:19 PM
                          Good one, lazy.

                          Instead of addressing what I wrote, you go for nonsense.

                          That's the best option when you can't refute what I said.
                          Common response.

                          "You misunderstood me, or
                          you didn't address what I said."


                          Trig, make no mistake, we all understand you fine.
                          Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by lazydaze@Mar 5 2004, 01:22 PM
                            Common response.
                            "You misunderstood me, or
                            you didn't address what I said."
                            Trig, make no mistake, we all understand you fine.
                            And you follow with the common response of not actually addressing the words I typed, but instead attacking what you perceive to be my motives for typing them.

                            You see, the reason I have to respond with "You misunderstood me, or
                            you didn't address what I said" is because so often lately you are either misunderstanding me or not addressing what I said.

                            If you can show me where my statement
                            "Not much good to say about the Bush administration on this one."

                            is not true, or hate-filled, or furiously partisan, you've got a point.

                            If not, you're now just talking to hear yourself talk.
                            2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

                            Comment

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