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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Big Questions About the U.S. Role in Haiti

March 12, 2004

"Haiti Appoints an Interim Premier" (March 10) informs us that we have appointed a new Haitian prime minister and are disarming the pro-Jean-Bertrand Aristide forces. Increasingly it looks as if the Bush administration has pulled off a coup d'etat, illegally ousting the democratically elected constitutional government of Haiti. In the name of freedom, democracy and law we should have been supporting the Aristide government, not overthrowing it.

Why are we doing this? Is this the way we want our government behaving? As we call upon our young men to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, is this the kind of thing we want them doing? Where are our values?

William Strahan

Orange

If "Haiti Looks to the World," as your March 9 editorial suggests, why does The Times look to the U.S. to solve Haiti's problems? To quote The Times, "The U.S. and its allies can't expect the U.N. to solve the mess." Why not, pray tell? Isn't that just the role envisioned for the U.N. at its founding and for which it receives generous donations from countries around the world? And why does The Times think the U.S. should intervene? Weapons of mass destruction? A terrorist threat to American security?

Haiti is a clear case for U.N. involvement and for U.S. abstinence. By taking over the task of restoring peace and, eventually, nation-building in Haiti, the U.S. further damages the U.N.'s credibility as a useful organization.

Fritz Mehrtens

Irvine

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