Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Haiti and “the only recourse”


The WaPo has another wacky foreign policy editorial, this one entitled “Haiti, One Year Later.” Actually it’s been one year, one month and a few days since, in the Post’s words, “U.S. forces escorted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into exile,” but who’s counting. Escorted! like they were taking him to a high school dance. The article notes the violence that has roiled Haiti since then, which it then blames entirely on the (unexplained) existence of armed thugs and the weakness of the UN’s armed thugs peacekeepers, who are weak by definition because they are led by Brazilians and not Americans. The Post’s conclusion is that the Bush admin needs to bite the bullet and bow to the “inevitable,” which is to intervene now alongside the UN (fat chance!) because later, “the only recourse, as so often before in Haiti’s history, may be the Marines.”

Haiti is referred to as a “quasi-failed state,” a description I can’t disagree with, without any suggestion that that failure might have something to do with the repeated “recourse” to the United States Marines. The Post demonstrates the same blithe disregard for Haitian political institutions that was behind the removal of its elected president when it says that now, “[h]eavily armed gangs loyal to Mr. Aristide or to drug traffickers roam urban neighborhoods”. Note the false equivalency: drug traffickers, President Aristide, same thing.

Recourse, according to Webster’s, means “a turning to someone or something for help or protection.” If asked whether they want, “as so often before in Haiti’s history,” the help or protection of an invasion by the Marines, not that we ever do ask, the Haitians would doubtless respond, Thanks, you’ve done enough already.

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