Two million people in Sudan, mostly Christians, have been killed over the last ten years. In Zimbabwe, 12 million people?or 70 percent of the population?live under conditions of famine created by the country’s dictator, Robert Mugabe. Over two million people have fled the country. Liberal newspapers, led by the New York Times, have called for U.S. military intervention in Liberia, an African nation of three million people. In the words of Morton Kondracke of Fox News, another supporter of intervention, “The case for U.S. involvement is that freed American slaves established Liberia.”
The campaign for intervention has been led by the New York Times, which adamantly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As the Washington Times noted, “Many of those opposed to the U.S.-led effort in Iraq now argue that American participation is vital [in Liberia]? Among them are U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, leading European powers?including France?and the editorial page of the New York Times.” Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, who strongly opposed the liberation of Iraq, is also a big supporter of intervention in Liberia.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld opposes any deployment of U.S. forces to Liberia because they are stretched so thin in other areas. President Bush had run for office committed to the proposition that he would pull our troops out of the Balkans. The Christian Science Monitor said, “As a candidate, George W. Bush said U.S. troops should be used to fight and win wars, and peacekeeping in places like the Balkans should be left to others.” But they are still in Bosnia and Kosovo.
The New York Times said the U.S. couldn’t intervene everywhere, but that U.N. boss Kofi Annan had made a “compelling case” for sending American troops to Liberia. Our review of the Times web site shows 45 stories over the last 30 days on the conflict in Liberia. The Washington Post supports the Liberia deployment as well, insisting that this is an opportunity for the U.S. to use its power “for more than narrow self-interest”?in other words, for the benefit of the “international community,” the rest of the world, and the U.N.
The Wall Street Journal rejected that kind of reasoning, saying the U.S. could help in other ways besides sending troops. It acknowledged that pressure for intervention was coming from “The U.N., American liberals and even the French?” The Journal said, however, that, “Having left America alone to clean up Iraq, the French and their U.N. friends can take care of Liberia.”
Another supporter of U.S. military intervention in Liberia is Jesse Jackson, who has himself meddled in this and other conflicts in Africa over the years. The web site of the Coalition of Progressive Liberians in the Americas contends that Liberian President Charles Taylor had paid Jackson “huge sums of blood-stained money” to improve the regime’s image. But Jackson has switched sides and now wants U.S. intervention to force Taylor out. Under the influence of Secretary of State Powell and the New York Times, Bush seems inclined to go along, having already called for Taylor to go.