Sunday, October 16, 2011

U.S. Troops to Uganda

The President of the United States is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Uganda to wipe out Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). But that’s all right, the White House tells us, since these troops will fight in self-defense only. I’m sure Kony will be content to sit deep in the bush and just watch the Ugandans learning those tactics that, when executed will result in the destruction of his movement.

Who is this Joseph Kony? This terrorist leader has been fighting off Ugandan forces for the better part of the last quarter century. Originally, his insurgent group aimed at overthrowing a demonstrably corrupt government. But then increasingly, religious overtones began to enter the picture to the point where Kony presented himself as receiving orders directly from the Christian God. Intermingled were elements of tribal (Acholi) animist elements. In their long history, the group conducted horrible massacres of entire villages in the interior of Uganda and southern Sudan. Kony’s principal notoriety resulted from his kidnapping children and turning them into a children’s army. Kony and his LRA are a particularly despicable insurgent group and they certainly deserve neutralization if not annihilation.

The question remains, is this mission proper? Where is the U.S. national interest in this project? President Obama made a lot of political noise when he condemned President G.W. Bush for having put us into the Iraq adventure. In the latter case, one could make the argument that Saddam’s policies threatened the entire Middle East and that region is within our national interest to protect. One might raise this point in the case of Libya. But where is the U.S. national interest in putting down a terrorist group threatening the Ugandan government? Yes, Uganda does have minerals that would be ‘nice to have’ in our basket of commodities. These minerals may be worth our treasure, but definitely not worth the blood of our military.



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