The Fire This Time in Haiti

Haiti, once again, is ablaze. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is widely blamed, and he may be toppled soon. Almost nobody, however, understands that today's chaos was made in Washington - deliberately, cynically, and steadfastly. History will bear this out. In the meantime, political, social, and economic chaos will deepen, and Haiti's impoverished people will suffer.

The Bush Administration has been pursuing policies likely to topple Aristide since 2001. The hatred began when Aristide, then a parish priest and democracy campaigner against Haiti's ruthless Duvalier dictatorship, preached liberation theology in the 1980's. Aristide's attacks led US conservatives to brand him as the next Fidel Castro.

They floated stories that Aristide was mentally deranged. Conservative disdain multiplied several-fold when President Bill Clinton took up Aristide's cause after he was blocked from electoral victory in 1991 by a military coup. Clinton put Aristide into power in 1994, and conservatives mocked Clinton for wasting America's efforts on "nation building" in Haiti. This is the same right wing that has squandered $160 billion on a far more violent and dubious effort at "nation building" in Iraq.

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