IOWA CITY, Iowa - Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a prominent opponent of the war in Iraq, called Wednesday for dispatching U.S. troops to Liberia to head off a human rights crisis.
"I would urge the president to tie our commitment to assist in this multilateral effort to an appeal to the world to join us in the work that remains to be done in Iraq," Dean said.
Dean called for a short-term deployment of roughly 2,000 U.S. troops as part of an international effort to stabilize the African nation.
"We could stabilize the situation and remain in Liberia for no more than several months, at which time a U.N. peacekeeping mission could be deployed to oversee a period of transition," he said.
Dean argued his position on the use of force is not out of line with his opposition to the war in Iraq.
"The situation in Liberia is significantly different from the situation in Iraq," he said.
Dean is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and made his comments while campaigning for Iowa's leadoff precinct caucuses.
He started the race with little name recognition, but won heavy attention with his outspoken criticism of the war in Iraq. His fund raising topped the field of Democratic candidates in reports filed this week.
Dean argued there's no inconsistency in opposing the war in Iraq while backing intervention in Africa. He said Bush never made the case that Iraq posed a threat to the world.
"The situation in Liberia is exactly the opposite," Dean said. "There is an imminent threat of serious human catastrophe and the world community is asking the United States to exercise its leadership."
© 2003 The Associated Press