U.S. Sending Combat Troops to Central Africa - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-14-2011, 03:01 PM   #1
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U.S. Sending Combat Troops to Central Africa

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President Barack Obama is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the leaders of the notoriously violent Lord's Resistance Army. "I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield," Obama said in letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Daniel Inouye, the president pro tempore of the Senate. Kony is the head of the Lord's Resistance Army.
"I believe 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 notes that the group "has 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."
He said the United States has backed regional military efforts since 2008 to go after the Lord's Resistance Army, but they have been unsuccessful. U.S. military personnel will advise regional forces working to target Kony and other senior leaders. The president said the troops will not engage Kony's forces "unless necessary for self-defense."
Obama cites the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. In that, Congress "expressed support for increased, comprehensive U.S. efforts to help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability."
"I have directed this deployment, which is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. I am making this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution," he said. "I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action."
Obama said the initial team of U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment deployed to Uganda" on Wednesday. Other forces deploying include "a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications, and logistics personnel."
"Our forces will provide information, advice, and assistance to select partner nation forces. Subject to the approval of each respective host nation, elements of these U.S. forces will deploy into Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The support provided by U.S. forces will enhance regional efforts against the LRA. "
One member of Congress, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, weighed in to support the effort.
"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."

Obama orders U.S. troops to help chase down African 'army' leader - CNN.com


Makes sense, given the horror the LRA has caused in Uganda and DRC.
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
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just reading about this ... not sure what to think as of yet ...
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:29 PM   #3
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figures,
Joseph Kony is a Christian that wants laws based on the Ten Commandments.
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:19 PM   #4
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I just hope this doesn't turn into something like Somalia.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:34 PM   #5
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Great. Not as if we're stretched militarily as it is and in a severe financial crisis.

Hey I heard Iran was acting up... let's go bomb them too.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:35 PM   #6
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100 US troops does not seem like a big deal. Hopefully we're not planting a seed, though.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:42 PM   #7
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Are they troops or "advisers," which is what I read before... is he sending missionaries?
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:48 PM   #8
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Obama wants to convert them to become Muslims like him?
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:51 PM   #9
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Apparently. He's sneaky like that.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:00 AM   #10
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I think Libya has been a good example of limited U.S. involvement.
I support this.

From Reuters:
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A senior administration official said the mission was "time-limited" to last only months. The bulk of roughly 100 troops being dispatched were special forces, a U.S. defense official said.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said U.S. troops would train local forces in activities such as tracking, intelligence assessment and conducting patrols "to render the LRA ineffective." The trainers "will be armed for self-defense," Little said.

Obama asserted that U.S. forces "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."
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:52 AM   #11
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This sounds like a reasonable things to do. I mean, the US sending troops into somewhere for the right reasons. They aren't after oil, they're out to bring some murdering rapists to justice.
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Old 10-15-2011, 04:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by kramwest1 View Post
I think Libya has been a good example of limited U.S. involvement.
I support this.

From Reuters:
You are absolutely right.

This Joseph Kony person is terrible. The LRA, Lord's Resistance Army have killed over 400.000 people and have kidnapped 40,000 children. These are the people that make children split their parents heads open and then make then gun carrying soldiers.

I did see the movie, Machine Gun Preacher, and these people are in it.
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:56 PM   #13
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While this is a humanitarian mission, in terms of timing it almost certainly comes as a reward to Uganda's military for continuing to serve as a US proxy against al-Shabab in Somalia. For the US and for Uganda (which is quite stable, and whose own LRA presence is pretty small at this point) this should be a fairly low-risk operation. For Uganda's neighbors, where the bulk of the LRA now reside, the risks are considerably higher; over the last decade several other US-backed attempts to flush the LRA out of DR Congo and (South) Sudan not only failed completely, but resulted in awful revenge massacres of civilians. Then there's always some risk of emboldened, trigger-happy Ugandan forces creating more instability than they solve by committing atrocities of their own when pursuing rebels into foreign territory, which also has happened multiple times before. On the 'bright' side, the LRA are widely believed to be weaker and more fractured now than at any prior time, and unlike the Somali situation (where foreign intervention was widely resented and only wound up enhancing the Islamists' existing popularity), the LRA are roundly, utterly despised by all the peoples of the region, including their own base population the Acholi (which is why they rely on slaughtering the adults then abducting the children to perpetuate themselves--meaning, to fight them you'll have to be willing to shoot kids, unfortunately).

Even if the assessments of the LRA's present weaknesses turn out to be true, I'd be surprised if this succeeded quickly--Kony may be a loony, but he and his generals are still considered tactically formidable and they've certainly crushed their fair share of US-trained-and-backed armed opponents in the past. But if these countries' forces can manage to destroy them without making too many new enemies along the way, it would unquestionably be a major security improvement for the border regions, and a satisfying end to an utterly contemptible bunch.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deep View Post
figures,
Joseph Kony is a Christian that wants laws based on the Ten Commandments.


Is a Christian

"wants laws based on the Ten Commandments."

I'm sure you have quote where he made that statement.


Those Ten Commandments are so annoying.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:20 PM   #15
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^ That's probably the most famous statement Kony ever made (granted, he doesn't speak to journalists much). It was a comment--in English, which Kony speaks--to a Times of London reporter, in an article published June 28, 2006:
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"Yes, we are fighting for Ten Commandments," [Kony] replied. "Is it bad? It is not against human rights. And that commandment was not given by Joseph [Kony]. It was not given by LRA. No, that commandment was given by God."
I don't find the general fact that Kony is Christian particularly interesting or important with regard to the conflict--after all, the majority of the population in all 4 countries plagued by the LRA are Christians too, so he hardly stands out in that regard. Like many Acholi, he subscribes to a premillennialist strain of Protestantism which looks forward to a physical 1000-year reign of Christ on Earth, for which a government of "laws based on the Ten Commandments" is one way of laying the ground--and which, for Kony, constitutes justification to fight for Acholi political independence from Uganda, too. Also, like localized sects of Christianity found elsewhere in the world, Acholi Christianity is noticeably influenced by local spiritual traditions predating it, such as a belief in 'spirit mediums,' special individuals selected by God to share important messages with other Acholi through the power of the Holy Spirit--Kony himself being a self-appointed 'spirit medium.' As for the LRA's ideology, specifically, it's a political and military application of the teachings of Kony as a 'spirit medium,' backed by the tremendous cult of personality surrounding him; like cult leaders the world over, he's said to be charismatic and revered by his followers to what, even to other Acholi let alone us, is an unnerving and unsettling degree. It should be noted, though, that many Africa experts dismiss the notion that LRA fighters as a group are intensely ideologically motivated people--at this point most of them are men who were themselves abducted by the LRA as young children, and have never really known any other means of social survival than drifting parasitically from one village to another butchering the adults and abducting the young; for them that's probably just normalcy, as much as it is some kind of noble transition stage towards a glorious "Ten Commandments" future.
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