Friday, July 25, 2003

Bush Sort Of Makes Up His Mind

About Liberia.

WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) ordered U.S. troops into position off the coast of Liberia (news - web sites) Friday to support the arrival of a West African peacekeeping force, as renewed violence in the capital brought despairing pleas for American help.

More than two dozen people were killed and many more were wounded by a mortar barrage near the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. One shell hit the embassy grounds but injured no one.

In Washington, Bush stopped short of saying the Americans would participate directly in a peacekeeping mission in Liberia, where rebels are trying to oust President Charles Taylor, a former warlord.

Pentagon (news - web sites) officials said the only major troop movement in the works was the dispatching of three Navy ships carrying hundreds of Marines to the waters off the Liberian coast.

It was not clear whether the Marines would go ashore.

I'm not being snarky. It's a genuinely difficult decision. The question is what can we do to make this horror stop?

The reality of increasing chaos, the images of mother's, fathers, children, grandparents, asking, begging for our help, broadcast nightly from Monrovia does seem to demand that we try and do something.

And not to be too political about this, doesn't Liberia suggest that this administration's formulation of what the challenge of terrorism is all about, a war of good against evil, us against them, democracy against tyranny, isn't an example of moral clarity, it's an example of being dangerously simple-minded.