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NY Times: Haiti’s Problems Are Bush’s Fault

It turns out that not a sparrow falls that it isn’t Bush’s fault.

Just ask that fount of objective journalism, The New York Times:

Fear, fueled by a recent wave of violence, has left the central market district in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, nearly empty at night.

Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos

By WALT BOGDANICH and JENNY NORDBERG
Published: January 29, 2006

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — As his plane lifted off the runway here in August 2003, Brian Dean Curran rewound his last, bleak days as the American ambassador in this tormented land.

DEMOCRACY UNDONE

Haiti, Mr. Curran feared, was headed toward a cataclysm, another violent uncoupling of its once jubilant embrace of democracy more than a decade before. He had come here hoping to help that tenuous democracy grow. Now he was leaving in anger and foreboding.

Seven months later, an accused death squad leader helped armed rebels topple the president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Haiti, never a model of stability, soon dissolved into a state so lawless it stunned even those who had pushed for the removal of Mr. Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest who rose to power as the champion and hero of Haiti’s poor.

Today, the capital, Port-au-Prince, is virtually paralyzed by kidnappings, spreading panic among rich and poor alike. Corrupt police officers in uniform have assassinated people on the streets in the light of day. The chaos is so extreme and the interim government so dysfunctional that voting to elect a new one has already been delayed four times. The latest date is Feb. 7.

Yet even as Haiti prepares to pick its first elected president since the rebellion two years ago, questions linger about the circumstances of Mr. Aristide’s ouster — and especially why the Bush administration, which has made building democracy a centerpiece of its foreign policy in Iraq and around the world, did not do more to preserve it so close to its shores.

The Bush administration has said that while Mr. Aristide was deeply flawed, its policy was always to work with him as Haiti’s democratically elected leader.

But the administration’s actions in Haiti did not always match its words. Interviews and a review of government documents show that a democracy-building group close to the White House, and financed by American taxpayers, undercut the official United States policy and the ambassador assigned to carry it out.

As a result, the United States spoke with two sometimes contradictory voices in a country where its words carry enormous weight. That mixed message, the former American ambassador said, made efforts to foster political peace "immeasurably more difficult." Without a political agreement, a weak government was destabilized further, leaving it vulnerable to the rebels.

Mr. Curran accused the democracy-building group, the International Republican Institute, of trying to undermine the reconciliation process after disputed 2000 Senate elections threw Haiti into a violent political crisis. The group’s leader in Haiti, Stanley Lucas, an avowed Aristide opponent from the Haitian elite, counseled the opposition to stand firm, and not work with Mr. Aristide, as a way to cripple his government and drive him from power, said Mr. Curran, whose account is supported in crucial parts by other diplomats and opposition figures. Many of these people spoke publicly about the events for the first time.

Mr. Curran, a 30-year Foreign Service veteran and a Clinton appointee retained by President Bush, also accused Mr. Lucas of telling the opposition that he, not the ambassador, represented the Bush administration’s true intentions.

Records show that Mr. Curran warned his bosses in Washington that Mr. Lucas’s behavior was contrary to American policy and "risked us being accused of attempting to destabilize the government." Yet when he asked for tighter controls over the I.R.I. in the summer of 2002, he hit a roadblock after high officials in the State Department and National Security Council expressed support for the pro-democracy group, an American aid official wrote at the time.

The International Republican Institute is one of several prominent nonprofit groups that receive federal funds to help countries develop the mechanisms of democracy, like campaigning and election monitoring. Of all the groups, though, the I.R.I. is closest to the administration. President Bush picked its president, Lorne W. Craner, to run his administration’s democracy-building efforts. The institute, which works in more than 60 countries, has seen its federal financing nearly triple in three years, from $26 million in 2003 to $75 million in 2005. Last spring, at an I.R.I. fund-raiser, Mr. Bush called democracy-building "a growth industry."

Translation: The New York Times will never be happy until we invade Haiti and restore the defrocked priest and Communist Aristide back in power. The Solons at The Times and other democracy lovers like Senator John Kerry (D-France) have been pushing this agenda for almost 15 years.

This is just the latest installment of The Times’ bi-annual call for the US to invade Haiti. Kerry has also used The Times’ editorial pages to call for the US to attack Haiti and reinstall the America-hating dictator Aristide.

The following passages are from Kerry’s May 16, 1994 editorial for the New York Times:

Haiti’s military rulers continue to thumb their noses at the United States and the rest of the world. Since the ouster of President Jean-Bertrande Aristide in September 1991, the international community has consistently tried to pressure the junta to step aside, but nothing has worked –not diplomacy, not tighter sanctions, not a partial naval embargo. By tolerating their defiance and unrelenting brutality, we have empowered Haiti’s military thugs…

Opponents argue that President Aristide is so flawed that he does not deserve our help, that an invasion would be bloody and costly and could involve us in a long-term military quagmire…

Some argue that intervening in Haiti is not worth the loss of an American life. We should remember that American soldiers were at risk when we intervened in Grenada, Panama and Iraq. Those who supported Presidents Bush and Reagan ought to ask themselves why the Haitian situation is different. Is it simply that the President is of a different political party? What other facts are different? …

No one should ever casually entertain the use of military power. Certainly I do not; it is a most serious proposition. But it is imperative that we and other nations in the hemisphere put the option on the table now. It is the best means to avoid a unilateral response under emergency conditions later on. It’s also the best means of putting teeth in our diplomacy now.

The people of Haiti cannot restore democracy — cannot overthrow a drug-running, gun-wielding military regime — by themselves. They need our help. If our stated goal of restoring democracy is real, if our concern for the Haitian people is genuine, if our credibility as a world leader is important, then we must confront the crisis in Haiti with the will to act.

Why the surprise? There is no hypocrisy here. The Democrats and their lickspittles in our media have been amazingly consistent on this point.

These Solons are always eager to use our military power to help the enemies of our country. They believe war is always justifiable when it hurts US interests.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Sunday, January 29th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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