If the American “anti-war” movement hadn’t vanished completely the instant Barack Obama became President of the United States, they’d be really upset about the beginning of Obama’s third war.
The first war Obama launched was in Libya. By the way, did you know there was still a lot of shooting going on in Libya? The rebels are bringing in extra armor to stamp out Qaddafi loyalists in his stronghold of Sirte. Actually, the anti-Qaddafi guys are the government now, so the Qaddafi dead-enders would be the rebels. Thousands of surface-to-air missiles disappeared during all this confusion, and have begun turning up on the borders of Israel.
At the same time, American forces have been conducting an ongoing search-and-destroy mission in Yemen, which has paid some excellent dividends in the War on Terror, including the death of al-Qaeda guru Anwar al-Awlaki.
Now we’ve got a third Obama war in Uganda, as reported by ABC News:
Two days ago President Obama authorized the deployment to Uganda of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to help regional forces “remove from the battlefield” – meaning capture or kill – Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and senior leaders of the LRA.
The forces will deploy beginning with a small group and grow over the next month to 100. They will ultimately go to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the permission of those countries.
The president made this announcement in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Friday afternoon, saying that “deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa.”
He said that “although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense.”
Wow, from zero to “boots on the ground” overnight. A BBC profile says the Lord’s Resistance Army has been “fighting the Ugandan government for nearly 18 years,” in a very brutal fashion, for reasons no one is terribly clear about.
The current leader of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, took power in 1986, sending those loyal to his unpleasant predecessors scurrying home to await retaliatory strikes from the new government. They formed a militia, which fell under the sway of an enigmatic supervillain named Joseph Kony. Kony found a novel way to increase his “manpower:”
The Refugee Law Project report says his recruitment is as simple as it is bloody.
Twenty-thousand children have been abducted – often forced to kill their own parents so they have no way back.
They are used as expendable troops – frequently not even given guns to fight with.
Only 200 core combatants are fully armed with weapons supplied by the Sudanese government and other sources.
(Emphasis mine.) The LRA, by all accounts, is a tumor that humanity will not miss once it has been excised, although it’s unclear how they can be construed as a threat to U.S. national security. Of course, the American intelligence community might have developed information it can’t share with the rest of us at the present time – perhaps links to global terrorism or credible threats against Americans. GlobalSecurity.org provides Joseph Kony’s bloody resume:
The LRA committed numerous abuses and atrocities, including the abduction, rape, maiming, and killing of civilians, including children. In addition to destabilizing northern Uganda from bases in Sudan, the LRA congregated in the Bunia area in eastern Congo. They linked up with the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) and other rebel groups that were battling with forces from the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD).
The LRA continued to kill, torture, maim, rape, and abduct large numbers of civilians, virtually enslaving numerous children. Although its levels of activity diminished somewhat compared with 1997, the area that the LRA targeted grew. The LRA sought to overthrow the Ugandan Government and inflicted brutal violence on the population in northern Uganda. LRA forces also targeted local government officials and employees. The LRA also targeted international humanitarian convoys and local NGO workers.
The LRA abducted large numbers of civilians for training as guerrillas. Most victims were children and young adults. The LRA abducted young girls as sex and labor slaves. Other children, mainly girls, were reported to have been sold, traded, or given as gifts by the LRA to arms dealers in Sudan. While some later escaped or were rescued, the whereabouts of many children remain unknown.
The group has operated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic, so they’re an international threat. Perhaps they’ve developed links with Sudanese terrorists. CNN quotes at least one Republican, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who strongly supports the effort to hunt Kony down:
“I applaud our nation’s military for making this a priority and taking the steps outlined in our legislation that will eventually protect the children and people from Joseph Kony’s reign of terror,” said Inhofe.
“I have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by the LRA, and this will help end Kony’s heinous acts that have created a human rights crisis in Africa. We must work to bring justice to the children and victims in Uganda devastated by Kony and the LRA. I have been fervently involved in trying to prevent further abductions and murders of Ugandan children, and today’s action offers hope that the end of the LRA is in sight.”
This seems like an awful lot of military action for a Nobel Peace Prize-winning President. I wish our troops both safety and success.