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Pentagon Leaders Warn of Dangers for U.S. in Liberia

Two days after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called for the speedy deployment of troops to Liberia, the top two American military officers warned today of significant dangers facing United States military involvement there and called for a clear mission and a strategy for its successful end before any troops are sent. The anarchy and violence in Liberia, they predicted, would not yield to a quick solution. “It’s not a pretty situation,” Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during his reconfirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It’s not going to give way to any instant fix. Whatever the fix is going to be is going to have to be a long-term fix.” Two days ago, Mr. Powell acknowledged his frustration with the slow pace of the administration so far, telling The Washington Times that “we do have an interest in making sure that West Africa doesn’t simply come apart.” Pentagon officials and military officers have for several weeks described the complexities – and dangers – of American involvement in trying to separate warring factions in Liberia, which was founded in 1847 by freed American slaves. But the comments today by General Myers and Gen. Peter Pace of the Marine Corps, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, were the most sobering public analysis to date of the risks. Full Story

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