OAKLAND, CALIF - Ivan Eland, senior fellow for foreign policy at the Independent Institute, issued the following statement today regarding the NSA Condoleezza Rices news conference of how to proceed in Liberia:
Charles Taylor is a thug, but so are his opponents. It doesn't really matter what happens to Taylor because any leader there would rule in the same manner.
While already overstretched U.S. forces are taking increased casualties in the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, sending troops into Liberia and reneging on his campaign promise to be diligent with troops would be a mistake. Not only does the instability in Liberia fail to threaten U.S. vital interests, such U.S. interventions for peacekeeping and nation building have an abysmal record of success. Mostsuch as in Lebanon, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraqhave either failed or turned into quagmires in which a long-term military presence is needed. Although the Bush administration insists that U.S. forces will remain in Liberia only a few, then-President Clinton promised that U.S. troops would remain in Bosnia only a year, and those troops are still there eight years later. In such brush fire wars, when stability is not restored, it becomes politically difficult to bring them home unless Somalia-like casualties occur.
President Bush should learn from his father and resist intervening in Liberia. It would be a mistake to send troops into Liberia. The American public should ask why the conflict in Liberia is different from the roughly 20 other civil wars in the world. And all of the parties to the Liberian war are tainted. Although African nations have been calling for U.S. interventions in Congo, Sierra Leone and now Liberia, they, have, in the past, been able to depose brutal dictators on their ownfor example, the removal of the brutal Idi Amin in 1978. If the United States intervenes in Liberia, African nations will become dependent on American power for what they could do themselves. President Bush should resist the temptation to risk the lives of American soldiers only to score political points before his African trip. Bush cant afford yet another quagmire.