Uphold Democracy: A Comparative
Summary and Conclusion
Walter E. Kretchik
The United States possesses a long and contentious history of military involvement in the affairs of Caribbean republics. From the late 1890s to the mid-1930s, many of these episodes took the form of active intervention, America's so-called "Banana Wars." During this period, U.S. military commanders roamed the tropics, landed troops, occupied countries, and quieted political turbulence in an effort to maintain order and stability. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt justified this behavior in his famous "corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, arrogating to the United States the responsibility for policing the Caribbean region.1 TR's successors, while at times using other justifications, pursued interventionist policies very similar to Roosevelt's. One such case was the U.S. intervention in Haiti, ordered by President Woodrow Wilson in 1915.
Strategic Situational Awareness
To some observers today, the use of the military instrument in Haiti from 1915 to 1934 seems quite similar to Operation Uphold Democracy in 1994. In both instances, U.S. forces operated to establish order and stability. But the two operations differ significantly in why and how the United States conducted them. While, as chapter 1 reflects, the intervention by U. S. Marines in 1915 aimed at restoring order to an unstable Haiti, the reasons for undertaking such a difficult endeavor were directly linked to American security. In short, the operation sought, in accordance with the Monroe Doctrine, to keep Germany from enhancing its position in the Caribbean. This is not to say that other, nonstrategic considerations did not accompany this overarching concern. On a more personal level, for example, certain U.S. political leaders and Marine Corps officers at the time perceived a role for American forces as the fatherly protectors of a juvenile Haitian society that was susceptible to European dependency. (Inherent in this paternalistic mission, of course, were feelings of White superiority that ultimately caused Haiti's self-appointed benefactors to distance themselves from the country*s population, elite and poor alike.) Still, in absence of the German question, it is doubtful that Wilson would have deployed the Marines. Once in Haiti, they set up an occupation government as the vehicle for creating order and stability. The legacy of that government and the occupation as a whole continues even today to affect Haitian views of Americans.2
Neither a strategic threat from Europe nor a misplaced sense of paternalism prompted the U.S. action in Haiti in 1994. Rather, that "intervasion" was motivated, on one level, by the moral and humanitarian outrage generated by a predatory regime that, having recently deposed a democratically elected president, showed few qualms about brutalizing its own people, many of whom fled by boat to the United States. In the interests of democracy and human rights, both the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations condemned the Haitian junta led by Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras and enacted economic sanctions designed to pressure his government into capitulation. Unfortunately, these regional and international measures, despite the intentions behind them, tended to hurt the Haitian people more than the government, causing even more Haitians to flee the country.
While President George Bush struggled with. the plight of the "Boat People," it was his successor, Bill Clinton, who felt the full brunt of their impact on domestic politics. His decision to intervene in Haiti can only be understood fully with reference to these internal considerations. To begin with, the president could not ignore the political pressure generated by the congressional Black Caucus, whose members were heartily criticizing his failure to implement preelection promises to ease restrictions on Haitian immigration. Furthermore, as long as the restrictions were in effect, the president needed to find a suitable means for locating and processing the mounting wave of "Boat People." Adding to these domestic pressures was the USS Harlan County debacle in Port-au-Prince harbor, where in October 1993 a group of drunken Haitian thugs from the FRAPH appeared to humiliate the United States (as well as the UN) by running off a U.S. flag-carrying naval vessel. Under the circumstances, a strong U.S. response to the Haitian crisis was one course of action that offered Clinton a way to extract himself from a delicate political situation. A strong response, in turn, could count on multinational support, given the concerns voiced by the OAS and UN. It is not inconceivable that future peace operations might also become a means to solve complex U,S. domestic political concerns through an international venue.
Just as there are differences as to why U.S. troops entered Haiti in 1915 and 1994, so, too, is there a clear difference as to how they were employed. The source of this difference can be found in the circumstances and assumptions underlying the use of military power in each case. In 1915, U.S. Marines responded to an urgent appeal to Washington from the American ambassador in Haiti. There was little time to formulate a detailed plan or to derive, in today's terminology, a clear "end state"; rather, the Marines simply landed and, after establishing a position of dominance, tried to determine what needed to be done. In contrast, planning for what became the U.S. "intervasion" in 1994 began several years in advance as an effort to be prepared for a noncombatant evacuation operation. Later, in the months preceding Uphold Democracy, planners shifted their focus to an invasion of Haiti and included in their plans a deadline for extracting U.S. troops. Unlike the 1915 operation, which had no apparent exit strategy, the 1994 operation was envisioned to last anywhere from a few weeks to possibly six months, depending on the achievement of specific objectives. In short, an exit plan was central to U.S. thinking from the start. There would be no twenty-year occupation or U.S.-controlled government as in the first intervention, but a turnover of peace operations to the United Nations once American forces had established stability in Haiti. Civilian and military decision makers in the United States simply assumed that there would be considerable domestic pressure for a quick handover to the UN and that the American people would want their men and women in uniform "home by Christmas," or by some similarly arbitrary deadline.
Concerns about the fickleness of public support for American military operations abroad limited what the U.S. government could realistically hope to accomplish in Haiti during Uphold Democracy. Ideally, peace operations should avoid specific exit deadlines, since success or failure then becomes a condition of an operation's duration rather than its attainment of critical objectives. That said, however, no U.S. politician can reasonably be expected to support a long-term occupation of a foreign country. In the case of Uphold Democracy, plans linked exit deadlines to achievements; in reality, the issue of when the troops were coming home generated more public discussion than what they were accomplishing. This meant, as Don Schulz notes, halfway efforts that led to halfway, ineffective, and counterproductive results.3
Whether the focus is on 1915 or 1994, the decision to apply the military instrument of power and the policy for employing it originate within the civilian-led sectors of the American government, specifically within the Executive Branch. In this context, one aspect of the strategic planning for Uphold Democracy deserves mention: for the first time in a peace operation, U.S. government officials produced a tangible interagency plan that set forth America's political-military policy in the crisis. The plan was not perfect. It was, for one thing, tilted in favor of military concerns, largely because of the predominant role the Department of Defense and USACOM played in drafting it. It was also in no way comparable to the joint OPLANs nor well integrated with them. Still, despite these qualifications, the interagency plan provides the best example to date of cooperation between top-level political and military actors anticipating a peace operation.
In 1915, U.S. President Wilson used military force in Haiti in response to an immediate crisis, then figured out, much later, how to use that force to bring stability to the country. In contrast, the U.S. National Command Authority in 1994 planned and envisioned from the start how it would use military power operationally in Haiti. Initially, the policy makers of the Interagency Working Group and the appropriate U.S. military headquarters planned for a UN-sanctioned invasion and hostile takeover of the country. Labeled as a forcible-entry option, U.S. forces under OPLAN 2370 were to destroy key points of the Haitian infrastructure with aerial gunfire and conduct airborne insertions, raids, and air assaults to seize control of critical nodes. Those Haitian FAd'H and military police who resisted would be killed or captured. The unilateral American invasion force, consisting primarily of the 82d Airborne Division, Special Operations Forces, and U.S. Marines, expected first to engage in combat, after which it would make the transition to peace operations. As it turned out, U.S. troops came perilously close to having to shoot their way into Haiti. If the Carter Team's negotiations with the junta had not aborted, the insertion of the American invasion force, the OPLAN 2370 variant, would have resulted in at least brief combat and the potential loss of American and Haitian lives. Today, emerging U.S. Army doctrine cautions that a peace operation may, in fact, begin with short-lived offensive or defensive combat operations, during or after which stability and other noncombat operations in support of national objectives commence.4
The Marine invasion force in 1915 landed quickly in Haiti, quelled local disturbances, and eventually garrisoned the country. The leathernecks operated as a large security force within the cities, but as noted in chapter 1, they also patrolled the countryside to put down Caco uprisings and to keep the peace. Once they had stabilized Haiti, the Marines reverted to occupation and mundane garrison duties contributing to the administration, security, and internal development of the country, while U.S. government officials interacted with Haitian authorities. The Marines continued in support of U.S. policies toward Haiti until 1934 when, after nearly twenty years, the occupation ended.
American troops arriving in Haiti in 1994 confronted a highly uncertain and ambiguous situation. As a result of the Carter negotiations, combat operations to gain entry into the country and to topple the Cedras regime became unnecessary. Instead, U.S. armed forces found themselves trying to restore to office a democratically elected leader, while cooperating with the very government that had ousted him in the first place, a government that Washington had branded as illegitimate. That situation led initially to confusion for Haitians and U.S. forces alike and brought home the need for flexibility and adaptation. Plans for Operation Uphold Democracy had been based on three options: a forcible or hostile entry, an uncertain entry, and a permissive entry.5 To deal with the situation that American troops actually confronted in Haiti, the U.S. commander ordered that the plans based on these options be modified, a tasking met in a timely way by planners working the issue. Staff officers who find themselves planning future peace operations should take heed of this example and be prepared to make last-minute mission adjustments of more than minor proportions.
As shown in chapters 2 and 3, Uphold Democracy revealed that the National Security Council and its IWG carry a great responsibility, not only in planning but also in executing peace operations. Yet many of the Executive Branch departments and other agencies that made up the NSC had little to no experience in conducting such operations. In Uphold Democracy, for example, the U.S. Departments of Justice and State failed to assemble the International Police Monitors called for in the political-military plan to supervise the newly formed Haitian Interim Public Securitv Force. That task fell, by default, to DOD and USACOM. Only last-minute heroics by members of the JCS and the USACOM J5, in close coordination with Department of State and government contractors, salvaged the effort to create a credible Haitian security force, an imperative political objective.
After military operations had secured Haiti, many nongovernmental agencies and private volunteer organizations lagged in their support of essential U.S. government programs and policies. Further hindering these programs, U.S. Army, Marines, and Special Operations Forces were forbidden, after they had secured Haiti, to assist in upgrading the country's infrastructure beyond what U.S. military necessity demanded. Colonel Jim Dubik noted that he could only construct one bridge--for military use--over a swollen strewn, despite the local population's demand and need for two others. Lacking support of the necessary civilian agencies, U.S. Army commanders, attempting to help the Haitian people, soon became masters of creating military justifications for what, in reality, was nation assistance. This experience should be instructive for military planners who, in anticipating the fog and friction of a forthcoming peace operation, need to consider that civilian organizations will not always arrive in a timely fashion and that commanders might have to take certain creative measures to further the achievement of known politicat objectives.
Uphold Democracy introduced U.S. forces into a culture vastly different from their own. Yet, in planning for the Haiti operation, the Army, in general, had little appreciation of Haitian history and culture. Few planners knew anything about Haiti, other than its basic geography. In a combat operation, where overwhelming firepower achieves objectives, sensitivity for the local population's culture and traditions clearly is not a top priority. In a peace operation such as Uphold Democracy, however, knowledge of how a people think and act, and how they might react to military intervention arguably becomes paramount. The U.S. military culture, in general, focuses on training warriors to use fire and maneuver and tends to resist the notion of cultural awareness. When Lieutenant Colonel Tom Adams, an instructor at Fort Leavenworth, asked Dr. Bryant Freeman, a noteworthy Haitian expert from the University of Kansas, to provide his expertise to help train UNMIH, Freeman gladly volunteered. At least one U.S. officer, however, stated that he did not appreciate having to listen to anyone who did not wear a uniform.6 Freeman eventually overcame such narrow-minded rebuffs and went onto become a valued adviser to Major General Joseph Kinzer, Commander, UNMIH.
There is a certain amount of U.S. political and military operational arrogance in Uphold Democracy that bears mentioning. Chapter 3 reflects upon U.S. participation in Haiti with CARICOM, a unit formed to bring a multinational presence to what had theretofore been a unilateral American operation. As Fishel notes in chapter 4, the United States in peace operations tends to request the assistance of other nations' forces to demonstrate that American actions are multinational and not unilateral. Yet CARICOM, a force that could have provided a wealth of intelligence and experience specific to the Caribbean area, did little more than perform routine mission tasks. It was not part of the forced-entry option and did not share the initial risks as part of JTF 180 and JTF 190. CARICOM, in a way, was snubbed, appearing to be on the receiving end. of U.S.-procured equipment, without sharing the same hazards as the rest of the force. While CARICOM was clearly an ad hoc unit of varied training levels, multinational forces should share the same risks as U.S. forces in the interest of coalition cohesion.
In the 1915 occupation, most enlisted Marines and NCOs went about their daily business without a great amount of interaction with the Haitian people. Indeed, the majority of Marines who served in Haiti knew the locals only from hunting them down as Cacos, training them as gendarmes, or observing them on a daily basis as they walked the streets. Marine officers were more likely than the enlisted men to meet and befriend Haitians, yet even this interaction was inhibited by racial views then prominent in American society. As a consequence of the language barrier and American social taboos, Marines, in general, could spend a multiyear tour in Haiti without even speaking to a Haitian.
The way in which the Haitian people were engaged by U.S. forces during Uphold Democracy poses possibly the greatest controversy of that operation. The 10th Mountain Division's modus operandi in Haiti adopted a radically different approach from the Joint Special Operations Task Force, or JSOTF, toward tactical mission accomplishment and dealing with the local population. While U.S. Army Special Forces moved freely throughout the country and mingled with the people (except in the capital), the 10th Mountain in Port-au-Prince, by and large, remained a secluded force. Some argue that this was the consequence of a "Somalia syndrome," referring to the psychological disposition that the division supposedly acquired as a result of its experience in that African country. According to this thesis, the 10th Mountain Division behaved timidly in Haiti because of the casualties it had received in its bitter experience with mobs and gangs in Somalia. The nexus between Somalia and Haiti was made explicit by Lieutenant Colonel Randall P. Munch of the 10th Mountain Division, who observed during Uphold Democracy, "I think it should be noted that a lot of these [10th Mountain] officers and non-commissioned officers are Somalia veterans. Very often we have fallen back to the same tactics and techniques that we used in Somalia."7
To gain a better understanding of whether or not the 10th Mountain Division was suffering from a Somalia syndrome, one should examine OPLAN 2380 and the ramifications it entailed. During the planning phase of the Haiti operation, USACOM, on the orders of the NCA and JCS, directed the 10th Mountain to prepare an OPLAN for a permissive situation in which the Haitian junta and the FAd'H-police would be in control of the country with the intent and capability of cooperating with JTF 190. The division was also to train for the scenario set forth in the plan, What 10th Mountain produced was a plan that anticipated a permissive or an uncertain environment. USACOM had not directed the division to plan for the latter scenario, in which host government forces. whether opposed or receptive to JTF 190, did not have total effective control of the territory and population. Yet, as written, OPLAN 2380 required 10th Mountain to train for two distinct missions, one pennissive and one uncertain. In effect, by writing a plan that included the possibility of an uncertain environment, the division stood to dslicate what JTF 180 was supposedly preparing under OPLAN 2375.
As it turned out, the 10th Mountain Division did not train for the two environments simultaneously. Rather, it concentrated on the uncertain scenario and emphasized training for combat. Colonel Andrew Berdy, Commander, 1 BCT, spent a great deal of time putting his rifle platoons and squads through day and night live-fire exercises to improve their marksmanship and small-unit tactics--a training method more reflective of an uncertain, rather than a permissive, situation.10 It could be assumed that, since the 10th Mountain Division was also part of OPLAN 2370, or the hostile option, Berdy was simply training his unit for that contingency. But as he himself conceded, that was not the case:
We were not privy to 2370; that was a compartmented plan. And, consequently, we did not know who was going to be on the ground. I will tell you that if it had come off, I would be very uncomfortable, and that's putting it lightly ... now I'm sure at the eleventh hour, maybe it would have been made known to us, but that's bull shit. You don't do that; you don't risk that. Now if they're concerned about OPSEC [operational security], then have trusted agents. There wasn't even any of that. If there was, it was at the Division level. But clearly, the operator on the ground, and the 1st Brigade Combat Team, needed to have someone who was read in on that, and I didn't have that.11If the 1 BCT's emphasis on training for an uncertain environment was not derived from OPLAN 2370, the question remains as to whether it was driven by the Somalia experience. Yet, as Colonel Thomas Miller, JTF 190, J3, indicated, "[I]f anything, it's [a] lesson teamed from Somalia that you never drop your guard. That you treat every single operation you do as a combat operation."12
The preparation for combat by the 10th Mountain did prepare the division for the mission it ultimately executed under OPORD 2380 Plus, a mission that assumed uncertain Haitian conditions. Yet OPORD 2380 Plus did not reflect Haiti's political realities. The junta and the FAd'H were very much in total control of the country on September 20 1994. Therefore, the actual situation, as defined by U.S. joint doctrine, was in fact permissive. However, both JTF 180 and JTF 190 did not believe that the junta or the FAd'H would willingly cooperate; therefore, JTF 180 chose to label 2380 Plus as uncertain. It appears, then, that the 10th Mountain Division and its higher headquarters at XVIII Airborne Corps either misinterpreted or did not fully understand U.S. joint doctrine definitions of permissive, uncertain, and hostile environments. In essence, U.S. forces did not know the junta's intentions and therefore expected the worst case, which doctrinally meant a hostile environment.
For these reasons, 10th Mountain Division soldiers arrived in Haiti prepared for combat or a hostile situation, as demonstrated by their expectation of having to "take down" or secure Port-au-Prince airport. Colonel Berdy noted that, when he arrived at the airfield, he was surprised to discover U.S. Special Forces securing the terminal building--one of his designated objectives.13 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division further reflected a combat posture when they moved to the Light Industrial Complex, where they stacked sandbags, wore combat helmets and Kevlar body armor, and adopted a "bunker mentality." Despite the mission to secure Haiti, the 1st BCT (which occupied Port-au-Prince) spent most of the first two weeks patrolling the streets only during daylight. During the night, the reduced or nonexistent U.S. military presence and the absence of policemen enabled thugs in the capital to prey upon the Haitian people. Combat posture or not, the above actions at least demonstrate that the 10th Mountain Division was extremely cautious and uncertain in how it undertook its initial mission in the Haitian capital.
There was, as discussed in chapter 3, another side of the division's method of operation. In Cap Haitien, where Colonel James Dubiks 2d BCT operated, the situation was handled much differently from that in the capital. U.S. soldiers in Cap Haitien, although again dressed in combat gear, worked aggressively among the Haitian people and established their presence, as called for in the operational plan. Dubik personally coordinated with local Haitian officials and authorities to explain, in detail, everything from what the U.S. military was doing in Haiti to what constituted democracy. As Dubik put it, "I had to conduct a civics lesson everyday."14 As one Special Forces officer observed, the 10th Mountain Division in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien were in two different worlds.15
One possible explanation other than the Somalia syndrome for the different approaches taken by 10th Mountain Division elements in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien is that the threat to U.S. forces in the capital was greater. Yet, as noted by a key officer within the military intelligence brigade in support of the 10th Mountain Division, the threat to U.S. forces was fairly consistent across Haiti. Although there were instances of U.S. troops being attacked by Haitians, those rare cases tended to be acts of random violence.16 Another explanation for the different operating procedures was put forth by several officers from the 10th Mountain Division staff who raised the issue of the command climate within the division.17 The command group, an organization headed by the division commander and his staff, was located in Port-au-Prince, primarily within the Light Industrial Complex, and tended to prescribe, supervise closely, and enforce strictly all military operations in Port-au-Prince, to include force protection and U.S.-Haitian interaction. Numerous 10th Mountain Division officers and enlisted men observed certain command group members castigating soldiers who exhibited the slightest variance from the force protection policy and ordering, on at least one occasion, U.S. soldiers to avoid engaging the local populace.18 Under these conditions, people like Major Len Gaddis, the civil affairs officer and thus the individual charged with establishing solid relations with the local populace, were hard-pressed to accomplish their doctrinal role. As Gaddis put it,
I was one of the few people who could actually get out into the streets and talk to the people. To do that I almost had to sneak out [of the perimeter] to do my job because my office was on the LIC where Haitians could not access [enter] it. Security, was paramount. I knew more about what the people were thinking by getting around than the command group did, which was unfortunate. They could have done what I did but they wouldn't walk around.19While the above evidence does not fully explain why two separate headquarters operated so differently in Haiti, it does indicate that command presence and location influenced military actions. In fact, one 10th Mountain Division officer went so far as to assert that the division's method of operation varied by location simply because the "division commander was in Port-au-Prince and Dubik was in Cap Haitien."20 To some, that appeared to be the crux of the matter.
Did a Somalia syndrome exist? If it did, it might have derived from nothing more than the transfer of military experience from one peace operation to another. Yet that perception does not explain how two 10th Mountain Division BCTs, each composed of 40 percent Somalia veterans, operated so differently in Haiti. Further, did the Somalia experience influence key leaders and their decision making? What was the effect of the Mogadishu debacle in political guidance, campaign design, tactical actions, or in shaping force protection levels? Those questions remain unanswered but certainly warrant further investigation for the benefit of future peace operations.
Regardless of the possible baggage carried out of Somalia, the incongruities in mission posture between the 10th Mountain Division and the Special Operations Forces was clearly evident to the Haitian community. To some members ofthe Haitian elite, the 10th Mountain's aloofness in Port-au-Prince was somewhat reminiscent of another U.S. occupation, almost eighty years earlier. Other Haitians who had lived in the United States protested that they saw nothing democratic in the 10th Mountain Division's behavior in the capital. Those Haitians observed American soldiers consciously distancing themselves from the Haitian people and therefore losing an opportunity to uphold U.S. democratic principles. While some Haitians knew from experience that the U.S. Army does not wander American cities conducting patrols and weapon sweeps on a daily basis, that nuance was lost upon the uneducated masses in the capital. To some unknowing Haitians, the 1 BCT might be acting exactly like it routinely did in New York. By failing to patrol at night, the 10th also appeared much like the FAd'H's military police, whom they had replaced.21 Once 1 BCT, 10th Mountain Division, began to conduct night patrols, its change in operational method further confused the Haitian people. Moreover, the image of U.S. soldiers handing out food, visiting schools, and holding children--all while wearing Kevlar helmets and body armor--presented a schizophrenic appearance that served unwittingly to undermine U.S. national strategic objectives.
The 10th Mountain Division's paradoxical approach to operations in Port-au-Prince seems to have originated with the strong emphasis placed upon force protection. To the 10th Mountain Division leadership, force protection not only drove the mission, it almost became the mission. The potential for American casualties was foremost in the minds of some key division leaders. Colonel Miller pointed out that, "most of our fights today are categorized successful by the number of bodies; the number of dead Americans. If there had been an enemy fighting [in Haiti] we would have lost some people, and then I don't know what the folks above us would define as successful. I think you'd have a whole different picture."22
The 10th Mountain Division leadership, in an effort to avoid combat casualties, chose to intimidate the Haitian population--the same populace that it was meant to provide with safety and security. Miller explained the 10th Mountain Division rationale this way:
[P]eacekeeping/peace enforcement does not mean anything for a rifle squad leader; it means a lot to me; [to] the Commanding General, but it means nothing to a rifle squad leader. He is going out on the street in a combat operation, because of the potential for hostility, force protection is always going to remain paramount. [T]he way to ensure force protection for them [U.S. soldiers], is through overwhelming combat force. We have it so you should use it, because we've got good leaders that can constrain the use of that and understand how to apply it. [T]he peoples of nations like Haiti [then] understand that you mean business....23In essence, some members of the 10th Mountain Division leadership saw Uphold Democracy as a tactical combat mission in every sense, except for the physical application of continuous violence through firepower. The view that Uphold Democracy was a combat operation drove how the division protected itself. That posture not only intimidated the Haitians, as expected, it also threatened to unravel the entire idea of upholding democracy. The Haitians, many of whom had preconceived expectations of their American "liberators," now felt betrayed due to a command-directed, physical barrier between themselves and the U.S. soldiers, who represented Americans and their democratic values. Despite a relaxation of that separation over time, the 10th Mountain Division had caused many Haitians to question what American democracy is all about.24
In contrast to the 10th Mountain Division, the Special Forces community, and especially Brigadier General Richard W. Potter, Jr., won a hard fight to avoid Kevlar protection and bunkers. Although well armed, SF soldiers carried their weapons in a manner that was not obviously threatening. In doing so, the Special Forces moved freely among the Haitian people, who appreciated and respected the more open, albeit risky, posture. Force protection, to Colonel Marc Boyatt, of 3d Special Forces Group, became "hearing what the people needed and getting it for them, especially electrical power, food, and other necessities."25 The notion of hearing what the populace was saying, or gathering "street rhythms" as Lieutenant General Shelton put it, served the U.S. Special Forces community in Haiti well.26
While different methods of operation generated some friction between the two types of forces, that contention should not be overstated. Some officers in Haiti perceived no serious discord between the 10th Mountain Division and the Special Forces soldiers. Colonel Miller noted that any differences between those units was merely a matter of properly aligning objectives.27 Brigadier General Potter also indicated that, although there was an initial misunderstanding on the part of conventional commanders as to the capabilities and modus operandi of Special Operations Forces, the relationship between SOF and the 10th Mountain Division was, on the whole, good.28 Still, the overall experience in Haiti would indicate that SOF was much more mission adaptive and attuned to the needs of the people than most conventional forces.
The replacement of Meade's 10th Mountain Division by Major General George Fisher's 25th Infantry Division remains, at this point, controversial. Members of the FORSCOM staff describe the unit rotation as a planned event, based largely upon the 10th Mountain Division's operational tempo, changing Haitian election dates, and the impending transition of control of the operation from U.S. forces to the United Nations Mission in Haiti.29 Others however, suggest that the 25th Infantry Division replaced the 10th Mountain Division not only for the above rationale but also to alleviate the strained relationship between the 10th Mountain commander and the Commander, XVIII Airborne Corps.30 Regardless, neither OPLAN 2370, 2380, 2375, or OPORD 2380 Plus had mentioned the 10th Mountain Division transitioning to the 25th Infantry Division. While it is not unusual to have one division accept mission handover from another, it is curious that the 25th Infantry Division was never involved in the initial mission planning.31
What, then, can we conclude from Uphold Democracy and the U.S. Army's experience in Haiti? Above all, proximity guarantees that Haiti will remain a centerpiece for U.S. political concerns. As Dr. Bryant Freeman notes, Haiti always will be an American problem.32 We can also deduce that Haiti, despite being a permanent American concern, is not much better off now than it was before Uphold Democracy. Haiti remains an extremely poor country with a rigid class structure. Despite U.S. government claims of democratic success in Haiti, only 5 percent of the country's registered voters participated in the March 1997 elections. The low voter turnout could indicate that Haitians are dubious in their belief that democracy has been upheld and taken root. Furthermore, after two U.S. military interventions this century, the Haitian masses are not better educated or trained to be self-sufficient. It appears that U.S. military forces have had little impact in changing Haitian attitudes and the established social order.
Militarily, Uphold Democracy can be viewed as both a success and a failure. To some, the U.S. Army was successful because the junta left, Aristide returned to the presidency, the FAd'H was disarmed, and the Haitian Police was vetted and retrained. In effect, the U.S. Army did a fairly good job of accomplishing the operational goals of establishing a secure and, at least temporarily, stable environment. The Army, however, failed to engage the Haitian population and influence lasting change. While the Haitians must eventually change themselves, U.S. conventional forces in Port-au-Prince failed to act as role models for affecting that change. Aside from what it did and did not do in Haiti, the U.S. Army will continue to be an active player, along with other U.S. agencies, in future peace operations. The Army has the experience and resources that many of the civilian agencies do not possess. They, in turn, have valuable competencies and legal obligations that are essential to the success of military operations. Continued and improved interagency cooperation is therefore essential to the success of future peace operations.
While the U.S. military took the lead in Uphold Democracy, that might not be the case in the future. As the military downsizes, certain members of the interagency might find themselves in command of a peace operation, with the U.S. Army only in a supporting role. Uphold Democracy at least can serve as an example of what happens when the Army, various government and nongovemment agencies, and private volunteer organizations are called upon to participate in a peace operation.
Uphold Democracy generated one major controversy concerning the appropriate force protection posture to assume in a peace operation. If the 10th Mountain Division leadership in Port-au-Prince was correct in believing that peace o erations at the squad and platoon level required little more than combat techniques and activities, then that sends a clear message concerning how a conventional force participates in a peace operation. On the other hand, if the SOF community was right, then that sends quite a different signal, What is clear is that, in future peace operations, both types of forces need to examine the nature of the conflict, appropriate missions, the necessary posture for force protection, and the way in which these considerations work to supportm or undermine U.S. political objectives.
Whether or not the Haitians will benefit from the latest intervention remains to be seen. The U.S. Army "intervasion" force in 1994, unlike the U.S. Marines in 1915, departed after six months, having handed the mission over to UNMIH. Similar to the 1915 occupation, the 1994 operation left a secure environment, as well as a partially repaired infrastructure. But in both cases, the Marines and the Army failed to train or educate the Haitians adequately in maintaining the country's stability and infrastructure. Nonetheless, both the Marine and Army operations created a legacy for the future. As with the Marines in 1915, the Army's involvement in Operation Uphold Democracy forged Haitian opinions of Americans by and large more favorable than ones left behind in 1934. Regardless of what Uphold Democracy did or did not do, the U.S. Army helped to create a Haitian viewpoint of America that will shape political relations between the two countries in the future.
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