When's an invasion not an invasion? When it's American

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The Independent Online
SO THERE has been an invasion of Haiti at last]

No, there hasn't.

American troops have gone into Haiti, haven't they? So there has been an invasion.

Yes. But it is not called that. It's called a 'democracy enabling movement'.

Gosh] What's that?

It's an invasion.

So why don't they call it one?

Historically, the Americans have never liked to call their invasions invasions. If they did, it might seem as if they were, well, invading somewhere. So they have to find other names.

What other names?

Well, in Vietnam, for a long time the Americans did not admit they had any troops there, only 'military advisers'. More recently in Africa, they have staged 'aid operations'.

Weren't they aid operations?

You don't normally get aid operations trying to kill someone like General Aideed, do you?

Well, maybe not.

'Invasion' looks bad in the end-of-term report. The Americans, psychologically, don't like to actually attack people. They prefer to mount rescue operations, restore the status quo, protect democracy or punish the baddie. It looks better when the film comes out. You might think that the aim of the Gulf war was to flatten Baghdad, but in American history books it will appear that the aim was to restore democracy in Kuwait, punish Saddam Hussein etc.

And did it do these things?

Not quite. It restored the oil sheiks to Kuwait, and punished the Iraqi in the street.

So the Gulf war failed?

That is not what the history books will say.

So has this invasion of Haiti punished the baddies?

No. It has allowed the baddies to retire with their ill-gotten gains and a full amnesty, and to remain on Haiti to plan another coup.

But it has enabled democracy to return to Haiti in glory.

I beg your pardon?

Well, President Clinton has said all along that the Americans cannot stand by and watch the result of a democratic election being set aside, so they must invade to get Aristide into his elected state role.

I don't think you'll find that the Americans really care much about enforcing the results of elections. If they did, they would have invaded Burma and Nigeria long ago. The military thugs who rule Burma have kept Aung San Suu Kyi, the winner of their election, locked up for years, but I don't remember the Americans going in. They haven't even sent Jimmy Carter into Burma.

So what's the difference between these and Haiti?

There are no Burmese and Nigerian refugees arrivingto be expensively looked after.

I see. But surely there are baddies in Burma and Nigeria?


And you said that the Americans like to punish the bad guy?

Yes, but this is a comparatively recent development. For a long time the Americans liked to put the bad guy in power and keep him there.

Good heavens, was there actually a time when the US supported the military leaders and the strong men?

Have you forgotten the Shah, and General Pinochet, President Marcos? Have you forgotten poor old General Noriega?

Why do you call him that?

Because the shift in US policy came during his tenure. He turned from good guy to bad guy without doing anything different. No wonder he was confused.

I had no idea that the Americans supported dictators.

That's because the Americans never referred to them as such. They called them 'our allies'.

Gosh, that's clever. But when they use the term 'our allies' now, who do they mean?

Us. If you hear the Americans justifying an invasion, they will always say, 'The reasoning behind the presence of American troops' (pause) 'and that of our coalition allies'. That's us.

But I don't remember British troops being sent to Haiti?

They weren't. There is, in fact, a small multi-national force on stand-by in Washington composed of a few British marines, several Greek traffic wardens and game Polish military police, ready to back any American invasion anywhere in the world, so that the Americans can call it an international operation.

Tomorrow - an exclusive interview with Colonel Gaddafi who has personally engineered the downfall of more than 10 US presidents.