Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, is usually considered a hawk when it comes to war, or, as he says, "a well-armed dove." But he wants nothing to do with a U.S. invasion of Haiti.
"There have been increasing hints from the administration that a U.S. invasion of Haiti is close at hand. I join, once again, with many of my colleagues in strongly urging the president not to pursue military action in Haiti," Hansen said Monday.A statement he issued added, "There is clearly no vital U.S. national security interest at stake in Haiti to justify risking a single American life. Our troops should not be sent into combat as a substitute for sound foreign policy."
Hansen, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has backed such recent actions as the Persian Gulf War and sending troops to Somalia, Panama and Grenada - but has urged avoiding sending troops to other complex trouble spots, such as Bosnia.
"Even though the Haitian military is small with fewer than 10,000 active-duty troops, we should not conclude that a U.S. invasion would be without casualties on our side. We could assume that Americans would surely be killed."
He complained that President Clinton's policy about Haiti is "ever-changing" and has as its main goal returning ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in hopes that he will promote democracy and human rights.
"I think that is a big mistake," Hansen said. "We should realize that even the United States, as the last remaining military superpower, cannot forcibly impose those values on every one of the dozens of countries throughout the world where they are lacking."
Hansen said Clinton should work with other nations and Haitian leaders to schedule "new, democratic and internationally observed elections as a way around the current impasse."