Accuracy in Media

Having accused President Bush of lying about Iraq, the radical left thought they had another issue?Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide did not leave the country voluntarily; he was kidnapped. CNN interviewed Randall Robinson, founder of TransAfrica, who took a call from Aristide and said, “He was abducted by the United States in the commission of a coup.” Congressman Charles Rangel, who also spoke to Aristide, told CNN, “He was kidnapped. He resigned under pressure.”

U.S. official denied those claims as nonsense, and reporters speculated that Aristide made the allegations to justify leaving the country to save his own neck. In Haiti, there was jubilation in the streets at the news of Aristide’s ouster. Those who reported the kidnapping claims ignored the fact that Aristide has long been the subject of stories about his mental health. Back in 1994, when the Clinton administration was trying to drum up support for Aristide, who had been ousted in a coup, it was revealed that the CIA had a report describing him as mentally unstable. Stories at the time even said that the CIA considered Clinton’s pro-Aristide campaign as “madness.”

Aristide first seized power in 1991, through violent intimidation and fraud. In his book, “In the Parish of the Poor,” he laid out his Marxist philosophy of the theology of liberation, his preference for violent revolution, and rejection of representative democracy. Aristide gave speeches in which he promised to turn the streets of Port-au-Prince red with blood. He endorsed Pere Lebrun, the necklacing of his political enemies, in which tires laced with gasoline were put around a person’s neck and set on fire. He was overthrown in a popular military coup but restored to power by Clinton using U.S. troops.

Critics say that Aristide’s accumulation of huge wealth signaled his intentions to become the “Bin Laden” of the Caribbean, to make good on his pledges to bring down America and capitalism, which in his view, are mortal sins and a disease worse than AIDS. Aristide was issuing official decrees bestowing citizenship on individuals from Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, just a few months before 9/11. Aristide was accused by a convicted Haitian drug trafficker of running most of the cocaine trade through Haiti.

The lunatic allegations of Aristide confirm that the Bush policy of encouraging him to resign and leave the country was correct. This is a Bush foreign policy victory that has had the effect of making Aristide’s supporters, such as the Congressional Black Caucus, look like supporters of a crazy murdering despot. Rangel and the others who supported Aristide?and now report his crazy charges as fact?have a lot to answer for.

Rather than waste time with spurious allegations of kidnapping, the press should be asking Bill Clinton why he restored this madman to power and prolonged the suffering of the people of Haiti. If any criticism is due of the Bush administration, it is that Aristide was given a free pass out of Haiti and that he should have been turned over to the Haitian people for trial. It was the fear of such a fate that caused Aristide to flee.

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