The intrepid bloggers of Powerline noted that one of the signs behind Cindy Sheehan at the much (by Mainstream Media) overhyped demonstrations this past weekend against our military involvement in Iraq called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Haiti. As Powerline blogger John Hinderaker said, "And Haiti? What's that deal? International ANSWER always seems to be exercised about Haiti. But do we have any troops there? Not last I knew, although the U.N. was trying to persuade us to send some." The link is a reference to a June 29 story in the Washington Post reporting that Kofi Annan wanted more U.S. troops in Haiti.
This prompted me to do a little Web research. I found this reference from an apparently authoritative source.
According to this report, the United States "maintains a small military staff contingent in Haiti as part of MINUSTAH." The reference is to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, authorized by the U.N. Security Council in 2004. Judging from the numbers of troops reported in this account, the number of U.S. troops there must be well under 1,000, probably in the hundreds or, more likely, dozens. About the number of Marines we would routinely station to guard our embassy in any violence-prone nation.
As the Washington Post piece referenced by Powerline notes, the lead role in this mission is being taken by Brazil, which also has the most troops there. Brazil's government is headed by President Lula da Silva, or the left Workers Party (PT). My understanding is that Brazil was chosen because it has competent military forces who come from a country with a multiracial heritage and where African cultural influences remain strong, as they do in Haiti. Brazil stepped up to the plate and offered to contribute forces to promote stability and peace. Any U.S. military role in Haiti has thus been sanctioned by the United Nations and is part of a multilateral effort, one in this case headed not by the United States but by Brazil. This is just the kind of effort so many of George W. Bush's critics say they would support. The Brazilians I know are proud that their military forces are making a positive contribution to establishing peaceful conditions in Haiti. Perhaps Cindy Sheehan should take her 29 protesters, or however many they now are, and stage a demonstration in Brasilia.
You wouldn't know any of this if all you had to rely on was Mainstream Media. They have consistently failed to report the politics of Sheehanwho calls the Iraqi insurgents who killed her son "freedom fighters"and of A.N.S.W.E.R., the organization that cosponsored the antiwar demonstration last weekend, an organization that supports the dictatorships of Kim Jong Il in North Korea and Fidel Castro in Cuba. You would have to watch Fox News to get this information, to wit, Special Report With Brit Hume last night (transcript evidently not yet available on website). It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Mainstream Media want to promote antiwar demonstrators and that it is willing to deprive its readers/viewers/listeners of information they should have to make intelligent judgments on the movement of which Cindy Sheehan has become an icon. On Cindy Sheehan, as on abortion, Mainstream Media is more interested in promoting their own causes than in presenting an accurate view of the world.