Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Needs to Take Control of Haiti Disaster Washington Has the Ability to Set Situation to Rights, Just as It Did Earlier in Grenada

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Needs to Take Control of Haiti Disaster Washington Has the Ability to Set Situation to Rights, Just as It Did Earlier in Grenada

Article excerpt

HAITI should be another Grenada. President Clinton's blockade and other sanctions may work. If not, the Haitian people would welcome American intervention. A battalion of marines, with appropriate air and sea cover, could do the job.

Allowing thugs to deter American and United Nations peacekeepers was a mistake. So was the aborted attempt to return President Jean-Bertrand Aristide without some enforcing mechanism.

After the debacle in Somalia and its legislative fallout in Washington, the renegade ruling junta in Haiti thought it could scare the Clinton administration and Congress into backing off. And so it did, jeopardizing the UN and other peacemakers on the ground.

But the junta has no popular support. Moreover, the guerrilla potential of the followers of Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras and Col. Joseph Michel Francois is far less than that of Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed and other warlord factions in Somalia. Nor would Haiti's ragtag 7,000-man army, with its scattered and badly-maintained vehicles, prove even a moment's match for the Marines.

Just as the mass of Grenada's people cheered the forcible removal of their oppressors, so most Haitians would be excited finally to be rid of those who now hold their country hostage. After all, Mr. Aristide won a massive two-thirds of the popular vote in the 1990 election; few doubt that he still has overwhelming support.

But is it the business of the United States to to oust the junta? Yes; first, there is a moral imperative. The world's only major power has a responsibility to combat the world's most outrageous violators of human rights and restore democrats to power, even though it can't redress every wrong. Haiti, less than 1,000 miles from Miami, lies well within the US hemispheric zone of influence.

Second, and more compelling: If the world's only major power allows itself to be humbled by rent-a-crowd demonstrations, warlords, drug-enriched junta leaders, and other pop-up despots, the peace of the world will deteriorate.

If the blockade of Haiti produces no results, a clear ultimatum ought to be followed, if necessary, by the mobilization of the Marines. …

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