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August 14, 2003

A New Hope? Part Deux

The Marines have landed, the rebels are pulling back.

"We have no reason to doubt the credibility of the Americans, and we have no reason to doubt the credibility of the peacekeepers, so we will leave as we have said," said rebel official Sekou Fofana. "I'm leaving right now."

Sure, it all happened before most people read my previous post. So what? My enhtusiasm is becoming less guarded all the time.

The next problem:

Fresh fighting south of Monrovia has already shown that getting rid of Taylor, indicted by a U.N.-backed court for his role in a savage conflict in Sierra Leone, would not be a guarantee of peace...
...The rebels are wary of Blah who is an old Taylor ally from years of bush war before the ex-president won elections in 1997. They have said that up to October is too long for him to remain in power.

There will be minor setbacks. There will be footdragging. People accustomed to using violence to reach their goals don't set down the rifle eagerly. But the first quote indicates why I'm very hopeful. We have lent enough credibility to the peacekeepers that real progress can be made.

Posted by at August 14, 2003 01:33 PM

I'm always perturbed when news media go over the bounds of reporting to forming an opinion. From the above linked article, the AP story reads:

Liberians would dearly love to have a big American force on the ground. But Washington, with heavy commitments elsewhere and mindful of the bloody debacle its forces suffered in Somalia a decade ago, is reluctant to get sucked into another potential African mire.

Interesting. While I'm sure many, perhaps ever single Liberian but one, may want the U.S. troops there, I hate seeing a news report make such a sweeping generalization for every Liberian. The AP should make more clear that "most" or "many" Liberians are pleased, but clearly not all. They didn't do any polling; the statement is from a very Western viewpoint.

It's akin to saying "Americans wanted to fight terrorism and favored the war in Iraq." And clearly, that is a fallacy.

But aside from that, I'm glad to see U.S. foreign involvement doing something -- how shall I say this? -- positive.

Posted by: David Hauslaib at August 18, 2003 07:41 AM

Obviously, we're going to be looking at this from very different points of view on a political front. I consider both Afghanistan and Iraq to have been positive developments and Liberia to be a little more difficult to support. (I do support it, but I fear another Somalia debacle without the proper support and forethought).

All that said, while I understand about your view on the polls (or lack of), while we can't actually say that all Liberians want an American presence, we can say that consensus matters. A sweeping generalization may not contain the whole truth, but in a case like this it does have more than a mere kernel. When the rebel, government, and citizenry have all called for US intervention, then the statement pretty much stands.

Posted by: zombyboy at August 18, 2003 05:15 PM
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