Days before his first official visit to Africa, US President George Bush is under increasing pressure to send troops to Liberia to police the ceasefire.
But with big military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Americans seem reluctant to send more troops abroad.
President Bush has reiterated that the main thing needed to bring peace to Liberia is for President Charles Taylor to resign and leave the country.
Are the US too stretched to send peacekeeping troops to Liberia? And will their presence bring peace?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received.
As a Liberian, I am glad that there is a flicker of light at the so-call end of this brutal, inhumane, and senseless killings of our families and friends. But at the same diminishing and disparaging the crime of which Charles Taylor is accused, would be a blow to the UN and the international law, order and justice. A man of his character, with the nature of deeds as described in his indictment should definitely be tried and punished. Having him step down would be a slap on the wrist and injustice to his victims who are either dead, limb, displaced in their own country or in exile.
Carmen Jones, Liberia
US Military presence in Liberia is needed in order to bring stability to that war torn country. United States and Liberia have always maintained a cordial relationship with regards to US Military presence in the country, which dates back over a century. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Nixon maintained a USMM (United States Military Mission in Liberia, that helped train the Liberian Army. Remnants of United States Military presence can still be seen in Snafu Dock, Marshall Territory and Tallah.
Now Liberia is in need of United States Military presence to protect its sovereignty, there is no doubt that if a surgical strike is needed to get rid of Charles Taylor who has defied President Bush's ultimatum to leave Liberia in 48 hours, that surgical strike is needed without any further hesitation, because Taylor is not going to leave.
I thought the US rejection of the Nigerian solution was interesting. Nigeria was preferring a handover by Charles Taylor at a later date to avoid a power vacuum. The US on the other hand wanted an immediate handover. Presumably, because they created a power vacuum in Afghanistan and Iraq, they believe that is the way that it is supposed to happen. George, just because you got it wrong does not mean that it is the only way.
Bob Burch, Singapore (ex UK)
I spent two years of my life as a US dependent of a US Army officer living in Monrovia. My memories are of a loving and kind people,that had a dream of one day coming to the USA. They love this country, and it is our duty as Americans to put a stop to the violence and murder once and for all. I lived there during the time of CIC Doe, and he was just as bad as Taylor. The US needs to remember their commitment to the Liberian people and to follow through and free them from the oppressive governments that have ruined families and lives. Liberia has so much potential. The world needs to step in and help install a democratic government representative of the entire country of Liberia. All the tribes need to put aside their differences and agree to peace.
Sure the US can send troops, but that won't fix the problems of Liberia. Liberia, just like the rest of Africa. Africa has so many natural resources but has the worst living conditions for their people. If cash-poor sanctioned Cuba, can feed, educate, provide health care
For almost all of the population, why can't Africa? Africans should unite, look past their ethnic differences.
Then make the sacrifice to get rid of corruption in every level of their society. I think that is what makes the US work so well, no one is above the law.
Sending peacekeepers to Liberia will not stop the war. The World Super Powers are enemies of Africa. Are they not the one manufacturing these arms and selling them to rebels? Of course they know what to do to end the war.
Liberians can call on all the governments in the world to come and help them stop the war but if Liberians themselves do not learn to live together in peace, it will just be a useless endeavour by some friendly governments who want to see peace in Liberia. There is always miscalculations by Liberians that by removing one leader, peace would come. It is yet to be seen. Tolbert died, no peace, Doe died no peace and here today Taylor is on his way to Nigeria; who's next?
Will someone please explain to me why most of the world opposed US intervention in Iraq, but now most of the world is calling for US intervention in Liberia? Saddam Hussein killed many more people than Charles Taylor. And it's absurd to say that the US has an obligation to intervene in Liberia because it was founded by freed American slaves.
The whole Liberia saga is an absolute disaster caused by Charles Taylor. For over a decade the people of Liberia have been subjected to wars, despotic regimes, hunger and famine. In five years in power the Liberian government has failed to provide even basic electricity, water or healthcare for the people, whilst Charles Taylor continues to enrich himself and his cronies at the suffering of his own people. American military intervention will bring much needed temporary reprieve to the people of Liberia as the problems are a lot deeper. There needs to be a post-Taylor plan to rebuild Liberia using the brains of prominent well meaning Liberians at home and abroad. I hope for the sake of the ordinary Liberian people that they find hope within this mess and they can once again live a peaceful life!
Tejan Fadlu-Deen, S Leonean/UAE
I support the presence of foreign intervention. I am not sure about African Peace Keepers, especially seeing their work for the past ten years in Liberia. Their priorities changed as soon as they got of their gun boats. They joined the rebels and looted. I do not entirely blame them because these are poor soldiers equally suppressed by their governments. We need the United States and the United Nations because we Liberians believe in US and we are founding member of the United Nations. Although oil has recently been discovered off the coast of Liberia if that is what will attract the Americans then so be it. It is a small price for peace.
Achemedes, United Kingdom
Where do people like Charles Taylor get their weapons? Oil money? Conflict diamonds? Who pays them? It's a cycle of revolution and corruption and more revolution. Who wins? In Liberia's case the oil never stops flowing. Out of chaos comes profit. Will the US send troops? Only if their profit stream is threatened or they have another realpolitik motivation like image enhancement. So it goes.
Jay Davis, USA
Let the Americans first sort the problems they started in Afghanistan and Iraq, then if they want, they can go to Liberia.
It is America they are calling for to help and I think we should go and help. I hope it is soon for their sake.
Janet Barber, US
The US should not send any troops to Liberia without complete, unanimous support of the UN. France, Germany, Russia and Belgium should also send troops, but only under UN approval.
I feel so terrible for the Liberian people, a nation many Americans feel close ties to. But I fear if we send troops it will be just a matter of time before the anti America lobby will add Liberia to the list of so-called atrocities we are accused of.
In Liberia innocent women and children who have done nothing are being slaughtered. They can't defend themselves; they don't have the money or the strength. The US has the power to try to stop the killing.
Alexandrea Adams, US
There is an old Ghanaian proverb that says that when only one tree takes on the wind it will break. The US is not the only country on the planet. There are many organizations including the UN, OAU, and EU which can help.
I suppose the US wants to get rid of all bad governments in the world. They have done it in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's time to take action in Africa.
Chandran Sukumaran, Malaysia
This is a no-win situation for the US. I do feel the US owes a debt to Liberia, and in normal times I'd express cautious support for intervention. But these are not normal times for the US. The anti-Americans will use it as an excuse to stir up worldwide hatred. There is no way we can intervene in an ugly situation like this without getting our hands dirty.
Where is the American Government? We need the world super power to act immediately.
Jerry Manneh, Liberia
This is such a sad and tragic situation, surely the international community can do SOMETHING to help the innocent people
HL King, USA
Where are the other African countries? Why aren't they prepared to offer assistance? If they are not prepared to enter this quagmire (or the one in Nigeria) why should the US, or any other country for that matter, do so?
Ajana, Hong Kong
This can be resolved, but don't look at the US to help a bit. In a way, the US has motivated the rebels to cause the chaos and destruction that has been going on.
To end the conflict in Liberia, a UN peacekeeping force in needs to quickly go in and we should ensure Taylor steps down, but only after e force is in place; and then a balanced interim government should be put in place.
Nim'ne E. Mombo,
The US should arrest all rebel leaders living in the US and charge them with terror act for aiding rebel movement in their country.
Al Green, Liberia
Funny how everyone like to take pot shots at America and call us bullies and tyrants when we do intervene, but when we don't we are begged too do so and told we have a duty to help. We can't win
The conflict can be resolved only if America stops undermining democracy in Liberia. Americans are supporting rebel activities in Liberia.
Edmund Nimely, Ghana
As I write I am in tears. I just spoke to my family back in Liberia and this is what they said: "We are stuck here and nowhere is safe to run, no food, water, we are just surviving by the grace of God." Please peace keeping force, UN, don't allow another genocide! Our people are dying!
President Taylor was indeed elected constitutionally and we must not allow power hungry bandits rain havoc on the Liberian people. I was personally offended when President Bush called on Taylor to resign. It smacked of arrogance and insensitivity. Or was it because he himself wasn't clearly elected the president in US that he has no value for people's verdict? I find it increasingly offensive when the US allows the rebel leaders to live in the US, issues inflammatory statements and does nothing.
Ndung'u Ndegwa, Nairobi, Kenya
As much as I believe Charles Taylor has been a major obstacle to peace in Liberia, the rebel groups that are fighting to take control of Liberia, will only complicate the problem and create a circle of violence among the Gio, Krahn and Mandingo ethnic groups. The best way this crisis can come to a peaceful end would be the involvement of an international peacekeeping military force (not ECOMOG) led by the UN or the US. With such stability, all the warring factions can put aside their weapons and turn to the ballot boxes as the sole means for control of Liberia.
Jeffrey Johnson, Liberia/US
As I write, I can't seem to quit sobbing. Mind you, I'm 34 years old, married and have a one-year-old daughter. I'm extremely worried about the fate of my brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, cousins, friends and their families in Liberia. I haven't heard from them lately. It seems like I'm currently spending all my extra time trying to find every piece of news that I can on Liberia.
It is so typical that the world should cry for the US to get involved in another third world disaster. And in the same breath we hear the president of the United States belittled and the US chastised when the US does get involved.
Where is the EU? China? Russia? The holier-than-thou Scandinavians?
LR Voss, Switzerland
I must commend British ambassador to the UN for a just statement on the role of America in sending an intervention force to Liberia. Liberia is an old historic friend of America and as such needs help from the US to bring stability to the country and the region. I do believe that America has the power to stop the war in Liberia within few days. It is a good thing that President Bush has asked president Charles Taylor to step down but I think more has to be done.
The fact is that the rebels and Mr Taylor will never understand that the survival of the Liberian people is more important then their struggle for power. They will all continue to kill people. How long will the world sit and watch our people die from the hands of few bad people who continue to bring terror to the rest of the Liberian people with the false message of freedom?
As in the case of genocide in Rwanda, the international community looked blindly until hundreds of people died. As is always indicated, Liberia poses no strategic advantage to the US. However, what about the United Nations? What is the purpose of indicting Charles Taylor when the UN makes no apparent effort to stop the bloodshed?
W. Lecount, USA
The African Union has got to take immediate steps to send peacekeepers to separate the warring factions. Any efforts by Africans either as individual nations, regional groupings, or individuals should be welcomed. Do not let Africans put all their hope and faith in foreign intervention to stop the conflict in Liberia.
Liberians must now forget about the United States or the United Nations for peace. Liberia has no oil or resources of interest to the WEST for now.
Let Liberians make peace within themselves through prayers and come to the table. Remember, the gun dealers are the only winners.
Addison L. Sherman, USA
What assurance do the Liberian people have, that stability and restoration would follow the removal of Taylor? The UN has to intervene now, and maintain a strong presence in Liberia until signs of progression and stability are positively felt.
We cannot resolve the Liberian crisis in the midst of fighting. Let someone stop the fighting and keep the peace then we come together and talk peace.
I visited my country in January and saw first-hand the deplorable condition our people are in while Taylor and his friends live lavishly on the expense of the Liberian masses. I call on the United States to follow the role played by the British in Freetown and the French in Ivory Coast.
Jackson N. Sieh, Liberian, Maryland, USA
The US knows that the parties will not stop fighting. They have to be made to stop. It does not make sense to send intervention troops after the fighting has stopped.
Anwar Amir, Switzerland
The problems stem from the fact that Liberians never know how and when to forgive each other, even those who fled the war and are living in other countries still want to retaliate. The first step towards peace should start with all Liberians forgiving one another because we are all to blame for this civil war.
Funny how we always get yelled at for foreign intervention, and yet, the US is expected to "naturally" lead a peacekeeping operation in Liberia.
I think that the world awaits a genocide before it can intervene in this crisis. Just because we don't have oil doesn't mean that we don't have the right to live. The world waits and watches as thousands of people are killed and starved to death. Something must definitely be done to stop the chaos and it is the intervention of the international community that is needed.
Christopher Irby Jallah, US
In the eyes of crude oil lovers, Liberia has far less importance than Iraq, so do not expect oil-loving Americans to come to the rescue just yet.
C.F. Gonzalez, Panama City, Panama
Perhaps the world should start focusing on the people of Africa instead of constantly focusing on the Middle East.
Shona Blackwood, Canada
Wasn't the UN created to resolve situations like this? Why isn't anyone asking for the UN to intervene?
Only unity among Liberians can resolve the crisis even after Charles Taylor.
Vamba Kanneh, Liberia
I don't know why people are so stubborn. Mr Taylor does not have any good adviser. We are tired of war, we tired of hunger, and we tired of sanctions. We want freedom just like other nations. We need help.
Mohammed S. Kamara,
In July 1990, this senseless war took the life of my brother who was the breadwinner for my family. Consequently, my widow mother got paralyzed from stroke and cannot even move as another war engulf the country. My only daughter, with my sisters and cousins, are now stranded in a house in Monrovia. With my entire family under fire again, it is unbearable for me no matter where I am. Will I see my family after this senseless war? It is about time that President Bush and the Congress reflect soberly on the past as Liberia degenerates. No one can go to the aid of Liberia without America's support.
Due to the on going upheaval, I have lost contact with my parents. The last time I ever spoke with my mother, she told me that the Government forces ransacked and virtually took away everything from our house, and eventually burned it. My mother cannot locate my father. His wellbeing is unknown. The situation is worsened by the fact that communication systems are in a very poor conditions, it is even more difficult for me to communicate with anyone else in Liberia now.
Mohammed A. Dukuly, Liberia
What is the famous African Union doing that is aside of building a new Head Quarter in Addis Ababa?
Imru Zelleke, USA
Fighting in Liberia will only cease with foreign intervention. A rebel or government victory will lead to unimaginable bloodshed.
It is very sad that a man like Charles Taylor can let his people be in this Situation. He should step down and face justice.
Mulika Frederic, Munich, Germany
When will America rescue our people? Should everyone die before the US troops can go in? Please help us.
Donatus S. Nah, Gambia
I am appealing to the United States to intervene to save the lives of innocent Liberians caught up in this senseless cycle of violence in my country. Liberia is a steady ally of the United States. An intervention to stop the bloodshed would not only affirm America's image as a champion of freedom, but it would also fulfil its moral and humanitarian responsibility to a troubled friendly nation.
Alex Quermorllue, US
I am Liberian appealing to all fighting factions in Liberia to stop the fighting. The people of Liberia are suffering and this suffering has gone too long. Liberians let us put our country and people above all else.
Victoria, Sierra Leone
I watched the street celebrations in Monrovia after the peace agreement was signed last week. It was deeply moving to see such an outpouring of joy and hope, now so quickly and cruelly dashed. Charles Taylor seems to be the biggest obstacle to peace, let us hope that he sees the end is coming and a UN peacekeeping mission can intervene. There can be no stability in West Africa until the conflict in Liberia can be bought under control.
David, Sri Lanka
I think Charles Taylor should leave for peace to reign. He should go for the sake of the poor suffering masses.
Philip Summerville, Malta
I have been seriously harmed by Liberian war because I can't visit my parents freely. Our main problem is Charles Taylor. He brought shame on Liberian.
Saye S. Gbalah, US
I am a Liberian and I am worried about my mother, brother, my wife and my four children in Liberia. I can't hear from them since the fighting started. I left Liberia for Nigeria to buy goods but as soon as I got to Lagos, I heard that there were problems in my country. I am worried about my family and there is no way I can go back home.
All Liberians, one way or another have been affected by this continuous civil war. The FACT is Liberians are not patriotic enough. They are never willing to sacrifice anything for Liberia. Until we start loving and caring for Liberia and ourselves we should just expect more of want we see now in Liberia.
Max Jones, US