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Brent Sadler: 'Everything needs fixing' in Liberia

CNN's Brent Sadler
CNN's Brent Sadler

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CNN's Brent Sadler on the U.S. military assessment team in Liberia gathering information that could lead to U.S. troop deployment in the war-torn country.
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MONROVIA, Liberia (CNN) -- Helicopters landed Monday at the U.S. Embassy compound in Monrovia, carrying a U.S. military assessment team which will determine what American troops could do to aid the return of non-governmental organizations to Liberia. The team's report could lead to deployment of U.S. troops to Liberia.

CNN Correspondent Brent Sadler was at the U.S. Embassy compound in Monrovia as the first members of the assessment team were flown in, and he reports on their mission.

SADLER: First of all, got to tell you that about an hour and a half ago [6:00 a.m. EDT] on that now quiet landing pad behind me, we saw the first deployment of a specialist team of military personnel, U.S. military personnel who are now assembling in the Liberian capital here, inside the well-protected U.S. Embassy compound, and there are a couple more, at least, helicopters on their way, we understand, from an assembling point in neighboring Sierra Leone.

They're shuffling into here with these helicopter flights and then offloading men and equipment.

This is not a deployment of peacekeepers. This is strictly, at this stage at least, a humanitarian mission. They are here to lay the groundwork for a possible U.S. intervention of a military humanitarian nature.

What they'll be doing as early as today, once they assemble here, 13 of them on the ground already, another 20 or so of them on the way with military escorts and will be joining them on the ground for these missions, and we are expecting them this afternoon here our time to go out of the embassy compound, walk a few hundred yards down the street, and they'll see some pretty horrific scenes of poverty, destroyed property, and really grim scenes outside this compound area, and they'll be assessing the needs of about a million refugees throughout this country.

Looking at that problem, severe water shortage problems, contamination of water, health, eduaction, construction -- you name it, everything needs fixing up around here, not least trying to fix up a peace and a lasting opportunity for Liberia to recover from almost two decades of ruinist conflict.

Behind all that is a big question of the future of Liberia's president, Charles Taylor. He says he's accepted an invitation to go to Nigeria. Will he? When will he go? Still up in the air.


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