HAITI….I don’t really have a strong opinion about whether military action in Haiti is justified, but Phil Carter puts some perspective on Colin Powell’s surprisingly firm insistence that we don’t want to intervene there:
However, one has to wonder just what is on the table in the way of U.S. contingency plans for [Haiti]. This is not 1994 — we can’t load the XVIII Airborne Corps onto planes to back up any sort of diplomatic initiative in Haiti. At most, we could probably muster a MEU to send to Haiti on short notice, or perhaps a piece of a unit that’s already redeployed from Iraq. But doing so would have tremendously difficult secondary and tertiary consequences for America’s military that’s already stretched to its breaking point. Our commitments to Iraq and Afghanistan now constrain our foreign policy to the point that we cannot consider the deployment of troops to a place like Haiti as a viable option — there just ain’t any more to give.
Phil’s general point ? all our troops are currently tied down in Iraq ? is a commonplace one, but this example really drives the point home. Haiti is a small place, after all, and is it really the case that our military is stretched so thin that we don’t even have the troops necessary for this kind of relatively small intervention?
If we are literally stretched so thin that even intervening in Haiti causes problems, it means our freedom of action is now practically nonexistent. Not a comforting thought, is it?