Breaking: Obama sends U.S. troops to Uganda
posted at 7:38 pm on October 14, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
President Obama announced in a letter to Congress late on Friday that he would be deploying 100 special forces troops to Uganda to help the government take down a rebel group that has plagued the African nation for two decades.
The group, the Lord’s Resistance Army and its bloodthirsty leader, Joseph Kony, have recruited Ugandan children in their mission, ordering them to commit atrocities, including murdering their own families, or face mutilation.
In the letter Obama writes:
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.
In a separate statement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland noted that the U.S. has provided more than $40 million in equipment and training to Uganda’s military to aid in what has been a decades-long stalemate between the government and the LRA.
The decision to put boots on the ground is supported by Congress, which in 2010 passed “the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act,” authorizing U.S. efforts to eliminate the LRA menace.
The president claims in his letter that the move is being made in the interests of national security, though one is hard-pressed to justify the action on other than humanitarian grounds. I am not suggesting that those are not valid reasons, but it’s high time the president started calling a spade a spade.
It is equally hard not to feel cynical about his decision once again to bury the announcement late on Friday, at the end of the weekly news cycle, or to question why no statement was made directly to the American people.
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