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Lessons from Liberia

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

Liberia has not always been instructive as to how to proceed in international relations.

For more than 20 years the bloodshed and the violence has escaped the news, but it has been a disaster for a long, long time. But now it is under U.N. and ECOWAS (a West African peace keeping group) control, and the scene has gladly shifted to one of hope. With nearly 14,000 peace-keeping troops in this small country, disarmament of thousands of fighters is now going on with the help of many countries.

Peace has not marched into the country fully, but it is making big strides and looking like it might work.

In Iraq the killing of many of our young people continues at a higher rate, we are less in control than a few months ago, and our allies are beginning to back out. Is it not time for the Bush administration to wake up and see that there is a better way to proceed?

Our front needs to be at the U.N. and the capitals of Europe, begging for help trying to convince our former allies that we will change and proceed with a plan that could be greeted by all. We must turn this war over to the U.N. and get away from our isolationist policies.

Plainly our plans are not working. Our leader in Iraq and his generals are making tactical mistake after tactical mistake, inflaming the clerics and turning the populace against us.

To me, Liberia is instructive. The way to go is to change our ideas away from “we will stay the course” to an open and honest exploration of ideas from all over. It is certain that a majority of Americans do not want us here for years and years – we must act now. All citizens should try to convince the Bush group that this is the way to go. Liberia is now a model for this thinking.

Andy Hanson

Aspen


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