One marine for each day of the week

So the US has sent seven marines into Liberia, bringing the total number of US military personnel there somewhere between 70 and 100. In an analysis piece I cannot for the life of me track down online, Barry Schweid (AP) writes “Bush and his politically conservative supporters came to power determined not to be drawn into what they called nation building.”
As Noah Leavitt points out, the US has a certain obligation to Liberia, given that the nation was the sanctioned destination for freed American slaves, and that since the 19th century, the US has been financially supporting the Liberian government (or at least promising that the cheque is in the mail).
Many of those who are opposed to US intervention in Liberia are citing Clinton’s Somali disaster as precedent. But, at the risk of repeating myself, it seems to me there is a more recent precedent in Iraq. The background is eerily familiar – current Liberian president Charles Taylor was educated in the US, his predecessor was trained by the CIA. Funding and political support from the US has been strongly influenced by Liberia’s relations with Cold War baddies.
Of course there are fundamental differences – in the case of Liberia, for instance, the US has ignored trade sanctions imposed by the UN to counter “diamonds [used to fund terrorism], illegal arms sales, massive refugee flows, the use of child soldiers and unspeakable human rights abuses.” Oh, and the diamonds? According to Leavitt, money from the Liberian diamond trade has been used to fund Al Qaeda, among others. So unlike Iraq, there are actual ties to those responsible for 9/11.
And of course there’s the one fundamental difference – in Liberia, US intervention is supported, requested and expected from the nation’s citizens, the UN, and all those pesky Europeans who refused to get behind the coalition.
Oh well, at least the US can’t get pissed at us for not sending anyone this time.