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February 25, 2004

This is an Imminent Threat

No WMDs existed, halfway around the world, and there was no rapid internal changes in Iraq demanding immediate action.

But then there's Haiti, close to our shores, and facing a societal meltdown that can only be called imminent (see here and here)

Senator Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican who has visited Haiti more than a dozen times in recent years, expressed disappointment at the opposition's rejection and said the United States should prepare to use force. "If the situation continues to deteriorate, there's really no choice but to put together a military force to go into Haiti to stabilize the situation," Mr. DeWine said. "We have 20,000 U.S. citizens living in Haiti. You have the potential for a blood bath."...

Human Rights Watch urged the international community to send a peacekeeping force to Haiti to avert violent retaliation against supporters of President Aristide in the capital. "Given the horrendous human rights records of some of the leaders of the armed rebellion, we are extremely concerned," said Joanne Mariner, deputy director of the group's Americas Division...

"If they come to Port-au-Prince, you will have thousands of people killed," Mr. Aristide told reporters in the ornate ceremonial hall of his downtown presidential palace..."I would like to see them neutralized rather than have that bloodshed," he said. "We are eager to welcome an international presence."

So you have Republican Senators warning of a bloodbath endangering tens of thousands of Americans, human rights groups warning of mass murder of the population, and the head of the Haitian government welcoming intervention.

And Bush has done nothing but increase the problem by fanning anti-Aristide mobilization of opposition forces. As Senator Kerry, who is more familiar than most with underhanded actions by the US government in undermining Latin American government, has noted:

"I think the administration has missed a lot of opportunities, in fact has exacerbated the situation over the last few years with its cutoff of humanitarian assistance and its attitude towards the Aristide administration," Mr. Kerry said. "So they sort of created the environment within which the insurgency could grow, take root. And now they're trying to manage it, I think." "They hate Aristide," Mr. Kerry said of administration officials...
The neglect of Haiti is symbolic of the Bush administration's skewed priorities. Its manic focus on Iraq has meant neglecting real priorities, from addressing the root causes driving terrorism around the world, to threats closer to home like Haiti.

Posted by Nathan at February 25, 2004 06:48 AM