Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution gives Congress the responsibility of raising, maintaining, and regulating our armed forces; but, with few exceptions, the members of both houses our legislative body have completely abdicated that responsibility. Haiti is only the most recent and dramatic example.
It is understandable the liberal leaders don’t wish to call attention to the fact that the man in the White House, who is a member of their party, is out of control. But, what has happened to the Republicans? For the most part they are simply rolling over and playing dead; or going along to get along, waiting for the midterm election.
So, what are we doing in Haiti? Frankly nobody knows. We not making war. Our troops are not trained for peacekeeping or nation building, and they certainly make poor riot-control police. They should not be there. There was no support for it among the American people, and there was support for it in Congress, but Mr. Clinton sent them in anyway.
Thursday the Senate passed a curious bipartisan resolution which said that what the president did was wrong. However, it failed to impose a deadline. Instead, it called for the troops to be pulled out “as soon as possible,” whatever that means. It was all bark and no bite.
Meanwhile the President and the White House spin doctors were busy declaring the mission a success. But, what is our mission — restoring Aristide to power to establish democracy doesn’t compute. When Clinton talks about restoring Haiti’s democratically elected government, he is talking about only one branch of that government. This Administration has refused to recognize legislators who were chosen in Haiti’s last election, but now we are finally admitting that Mr. Aristide does not have a majority in the old Parliament — the Parliament Mr. Aristide terrorized.
In the in the wee hours Friday morning the House overwhelming rejected a resolution put forth by Democratic leaders that would have authorized the operation until March 1, and allowed the President to extend the date indefinitely. Instead, they settled for a carbon copy of the Senate version.
Meanwhile, this Administration is busy trying to force the Haitian Parliament into authorizing Mr. Aristide to issue an amnesty as he sees fit, which is a scary proposition. In short Mr. Clinton is trying to get their legislature to be as irresponsible as ours.
So, now we have a President who has no idea what he’s doing, a Congress that buries its head in the sand, and 20 thousand of our young people marooned in a country with no clear mission. Forget Haiti, this not the way our democracy was designed to work!