On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to Uganda to help local forces “remove from the battlefield” Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony. Obama made the announcement in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Friday afternoon, October 14, 2011, 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.” Obama continued, “… 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.”
The troops will eventually deploy to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The US has been helping the four African nations counter the LRA for several years by providing local militaries with training and equipment. Over the last three years in Uganda the US has provided $33 million to help Uganda’s military. This new Africa deployment, though quite modest, has the imprint of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. Both women have given attention to addressing the mass atrocities committed by “terror armies” across portions of Africa.
Obama, in his letter to Boehner, noted that Congress passed “the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act,” and signed it into law on May 24, 2010. Obama said, “… the Congress also expressed support for increased, comprehensive U.S. efforts to help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability.” Does anyone remember which party controlled Congress then?
Obama said that for more than two decades the LRA has been responsible for having “murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women, and children in central Africa” and continues to “commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security.”
One of the first congressional responses to the announcement was from Sen. Jim Inhofe, (R-OK), who cited his own experience in Africa in applauding the military deployment. “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.”
No word yet (surprise) from Jackson, Sharpton, or the Congressional Black Caucus condemning Obama for getting us into another conflict/war where our national interests are not (clearly, if at all) defined. But they sure were quick to condemn George W. Bush for getting us into Iraq and Afghanistan.
But that’s just my opinion.