The Pentagon says at least 400 U.S. Marines will be in Haiti by day’s end with a total of two-thousand on the way, in addition to an eventual international peacekeeping force. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the troops will help to curb the chaos after last week’s ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to whom Grassley says good riddance. Grassley says Aristide was a “rascal” who lived in wealth in the world’s most impoverished nation. He says Aristide had the backing of the U.S. and every opportunity for success but didn’t take advantage of his opportunities. Grassley, a republican, says he’s satisfied with how the Haiti situation is being handled by the U.S. and international communities, adding, the island nation will be better off without Aristide. Grassley says Aristide “left voluntarily” but Aristide, now in exile in the Central African Republic, claims he was kidnapped by U.S. forces and was removed from power. U.S. officials deny that claim. Some black members of Congress are calling for an investigation into how Aristide was treated by the U.S. Iowa’s other Senator, democrat Tom Harkin, says the primary concern must be restoration of order in Haiti and “the prevention of a humanitarian crisis.” Harkin says any political arrangement that emerges must not turn over power to the “violent, antidemocratic forces who’ve been attacking the legitimate, elected government.” Harkin says those forces were “enabled and empowered” by the Bush Administration’s “inaction” and it’s important to send a “clear signal” that those rebel elements have no place in Haitian government. Iowa Congressman Jim Leach says Haiti presents a “no-win situation” for the U.S. Leach says “there is a real strong feeling” that the U.S. military is “overextended” around the world. But Leach says there’s also the problem that doing nothing would lead to a massive Haitian migration into the U.S. and might spark other difficulties in our own hemisphere. Leach says it all means the U.S. is in an “awkward situation.” Leach says circumstances and events in Haiti seem to have a momentum of their own, and it’s difficult to foresee the future of the island nation. But Leach says hopefully the U.S. forces will be adequate, in cooperation with O-A-S and UN troops, to stabilize the situation as quickly as possible.
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