Marines Headed to Haiti Aristide Bows to Pressure, Leaves Haiti

A contingent of U.S. Marines was headed to Haiti as peacekeepers Sunday night, hours after the resignation and departure of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide aboard an American aircraft.

President Bush said he dispatched the troops as “the leading element” of an “international force to help bring order and stability to Haiti.” The United Nations Security Council was meeting Sunday evening to authorize the deployment.

Aristide, the first democratically elected president of the impoverished nation, resigned Sunday morning under U.S. pressure amid an armed rebellion he was incapable of putting down. It had already engulfed Haiti in violent anarchy and threatened to worsen. The deteriorating conditions prompted U.S. officials to insist on Aristide’s resignation more than nine years after U.S. forces restored him to power following a coup.

After the news spread Sunday, looting, shooting and burning swept the capital city, leaving bodies in the streets and plumes of black smoke rising into the sky. The current chief justice of Haiti’s highest court, Boniface Alexandre, was sworn in as interim president.

“The constitution of Haiti is working,” said Bush. “There is an interim President, as per the constitution, in place.”

Well, I wouldn’t go that far. Unless there’s an “angry mob runs the president out of the country” clause in the Haitian Constitutution.

While I’ve got some trepidation about getting involved here–I’m not sure that Haiti isn’t a hopeless cause–I don’t see a lot of options, either. I’m glad to see this done under U.N. auspices. Clearly, this is a long-term problem with no real security implications. That’s an ideal misson for the U.N.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kate says:

    Is there a tugboat powerful to just tow the whole wretched mess further into the Atlantic?

    Insensitive, I know.

    But hey, we tried it with Newfoundland.

  2. Rabbi M. says:

    Given Haiti’s history, I think an “angry mob runs the president out of the country” clause in the Haitian Constitutution would show a great deal of foresight and pragmatism.