Yesterday, the Americans arrived in Liberia but in small numbers.
A helicopter took seven Marines to Monrovia, the capital of the West African country that seems intent on tearing itself apart. The Marines were sent to prepare the way for humanitarian aid to be distributed to thousands of refugees who are desperate for food and medicine.
More than 1,000 civilians have been killed in two months of fighting, which has forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee to the capital and caused critical shortages of food, water and medicine.
Most of the aid that has been shipped to Liberia is sitting in warehouses in the rebel-held port area of the capital. But in areas such as the government-controlled city center, food is a scarce commodity.
The Marines will be supplying limited support for a West African peace force that includes nearly 500 Nigerian soldiers who arrived this week. They were the first contingent of a force that could grow to as many as 15,000 troops.
The arrival of the peacekeepers is supposed to pave the way for the departure of President Charles Taylor as early as next week and help end Liberia's 14-year civil war - promises made and broken in the past.