Posts Tagged ‘Uganda intervention’

Is the Lord’s Resistance Army our business?

October 16, 2011

Many U.S. interventions against evil tyrants during the past 30 years have turned out badly.   The U.S. way of war involves massive use of air power, which inevitably creates casualties among innocent civilians, and the rulers put in power by these interventions have often been as dubious as the rulers that were overthrown.

I would like to see the United States adopt the “humble” foreign policy advocated (but not carried out) by George W. Bush in the 2000 election campaign—a policy based on the realization that the United States does not have the standing or the power to dictate to the rest of the world, and that the mission of the U.S. armed forces should be to defend their country, not to dominate the world.

In spite of this, I can’t object to President Obama’s decision to send 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to advise on how to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army.  They are not being sent to overthrow a regime.  They are being sent to support legitimate governments against a rebel terrorist organization guilty of mass killing, mutilation, and rape, and the kidnapping and brainwashing of young children into being soldiers and sex slaves.

Daba Emmanuel, a Ugandan villager forcibly recruited into the LRA in 2008, escaped to tell journalist Graeme Wood how the LRA entered a village, chose the children they wanted as slaves and locked everybody else into a church, was set on fire.  Those who tried to escape were hacked to pieces with machetes.

Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court.   Congress in 2009 enacted a law authorizing aid to Uganda to suppress the LRA.   In passing the law, Congress cited studies that say the LRA over two decades has abducted 60,000 children and displaced 2 million villagers.

Now it is possible that intervention against the LRA will turn out to be a mistake.  Maybe 100 U.S. troops can’t really help in a place where they don’t know the terrain and don’t speak the language.  Maybe 15 years from now the U.S. will be bogged down in a quagmire war in central Africa, and the real reason for the intervention will have turned out to be central Africa’s rare earth minerals, which are vital to military and civilian electronics.   But I don’t think so.  Given what we know, this intervention is justified.