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Unfocused reasons for force in Haiti

PRESIDENT Clinton's list of reasons to justify military intervention in Haiti illustrates the incoherence of United States foreign policy at a time that regional and ethnic conflicts are raging in many parts of the world.

After US military maneuvers in the Caribbean, reporters asked the president if action in Haiti was contemplated. Mr. Clinton said intervention might be appropriate.

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``First, it's in our back yard,'' Clinton said. ``Second, we've got a million Haitian Americans. Third, we've got several thousand Americans in Haiti. Fourth, we believe drugs are coming through Haiti to the United Sates. Fifth, we face the possibility, the continuous possibility of a massive outflow of Haitian migrants to the US ....'' The president listed Haiti's attempts to create a democracy as a sixth potential reason for US intervention.

Those hardly constitute the well-focused, compelling argument that would ordinarily justify placing the nation's fighting men and women in harm's way. All or some of those broadly stated observations could describe the situation in Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Northern Ireland, and North Korea, to name a few.

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