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October 17, 2004
Words Have Meaning And Impact

In a reminder of Rush Limbaugh's famous rejoinder that words have meaning, the BBC reports that UN commanders on the ground blame John Kerry's stump speech professing support for Haitian strongman Jean-Bertrand Aristide for the continuing violence from Aristide supporters:

The commander of the UN peacekeepers in Haiti has linked a recent upsurge in violence there to comments made by the US presidential candidate, John Kerry.

Earlier this year Mr Kerry said that as president he would have sent American troops to protect Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted from power in February. ...

Eight months ago the Bush administration withdrew all support for Mr Aristide and made it clear he should leave Haiti. John Kerry called that "short-sighted" and said he would have sent troops to protect Mr Aristide, who was an elected leader.

Now General Heleno, says those comments have offered hope to Aristide's supporters that should Mr Kerry win the US election in November the former Haitian president might be restored to power.

Aristide made his reputation as a reformer during the Baby Doc regime in Haiti, when the former priest spoke out openly against the thugocracy that Duvalier imposed after the death of his equally-oppressive father. Aristide was carried to power after the ejection of Baby Doc but shortly afterwards was exiled by an Army coup. He did not return until four years later, and was a changed man, according to the BBC:

When he returned to take up his presidency in 1994, under the protection of the US, many of those who knew him say he was a different man.

"I don't pretend to know him well enough to understand the change, but I think Aristide was always in a certain sense, an absolutist, in a certain sense, arrogant," says Robert White, a former US ambassador to El Salvador, who later worked as an adviser to the deposed Haitian leader during his years in exile in the US.

Ms Fuller says: "When Aristide came back, he seemed to be more and more focused on staying in power and in particular getting 100% control over things in Haiti."

In fact, after Aristide returned to power, his administration began to look more and more like that of those he once opposed: authoritarian, absolute, with his inner circle enriching themselves while Haiti's poor descended deeper into the worst economy in the hemisphere. In 2000, while Democrats squealed indignantly about rigged elections in Florida simply because some people there could not follow ballot instructions, Aristide delivered a Saddam-like election to Haiti, rigging the results to get 92% of the vote. He used armed thugs to intimidate his political opponents.

This is the "elected" leader Kerry supported in March of this year.

Thanks to Kerry and no small boost from the Congressional Black Caucus, Aristide's corrupt band of thugs have taken heart from our election and hope that Kerry will re-impose the Aristide regime on Haitians, even in defiance of the UN. His foolish, reckless, and ideological rants on Haiti has cost lives, over 50 in the last two weeks alone. The UN to which Kerry so quickly defers even scolds him for his lack of insight before opening his mouth. In short, Kerry is a disaster in his professed specialty of diplomacy, as he has proved over and over again in his campaign, insulting allies and obsequiously pursuing diplomatic rivals.

As a candidate, he already has cost lives. Think of the damage he will do as President.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 17, 2004 8:27 AM

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» Newspapers Make Their Endorsements-- And a few Questions. from Daly Thoughts and Dales' Electoral College Breakdown 2004
And here is a link with a roundup of about eight of them. I have a question though, spurred by a remark in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's. Or maybe quite a few questions, based on one phrase. "Kerry knows how to effectively join with U.S. allie... [Read More]

Tracked on October 17, 2004 12:52 PM

» Kerry's Words Cause Problems for Peacekeepers from EagleSpeak
Captain's Quarters has a great piece on Senator Kerry's irresponsible yapping causing problems for those who are in the front lines. In this instance he is providing aid and comfort to supporters of ousted Aristide in Haiti. [Read More]

Tracked on October 17, 2004 6:40 PM

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