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Quayle Hammers President's Policy on Haiti


COSTA MESA — Former Vice President Dan Quayle criticized President Clinton's Haiti policy Wednesday, calling it a "terrible precedent" to send American troops to the Caribbean nation to restore exiled President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

"Aristide was duly elected, I admit that," Quayle said at a speech sponsored by CARE, one of the largest private relief programs in the world. "But you have to recognize that some people who come through the democratic process do not necessarily subscribe to democratic values."

Quayle was the featured speaker at a reception sponsored by CARE at the Robert Mondavi Center. About 70 people attended.

Quayle praised the organization for its relief efforts worldwide. But most of his comments were reserved for a critique of President Clinton's Haiti policy.

"This situation is on the verge of being insane," he said. "We almost invaded Haiti to return Aristide. For what?"

Quayle said that after meeting Aristide twice, he determined that the United States should not be promoting the return of the exiled Haitian president.

"With his quasi-endorsement of necklacing (draping gas-filled tires around enemies' necks and setting them ablaze), I came away with the impression that this was a person who did not believe in democratic values," Quayle said.

Quayle said he would not have sent U.S. troops into Haiti because it was not in the United States' vital interest.

"Haiti was not a threat to us," Quayle said.

The former vice president said he would have tried to work with "democratic" institutions in the country like the Parliament. Until the recent arrival of U.S. troops, however, most members of Parliament were in hiding because they feared for their lives.

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