One hundred “combat-equipped” U.S. forces Special Forces have boots on the ground in Uganda, or will very soon. The mission: kill or capture Joseph Kony, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Leader and senior leaders of the LRA. While the ‘killing and capturing’ is going on, our troops will be there ONLY in an advisory capacity, and will be there for only for a “few months.” Just like we would be in Libya for only a few weeks. In May 2010 Congress passed legislation calling for aid for Northern Uganda. Over a year later, Obama, in a letter to Speaker John Boehner, said the Congressional action “crystallized” a U.S. commitment. Our Defense of Marriage Act is a lawful act, but apparently “crystallized” nothing in the mind of the President as he has announce the law will not be enforced. Same with our immigration laws. They haven’t “crystallized” in the mind of Obama or our Department of Justice. Just saying… See ongoing updates below.
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.”…
The president in his letter noted that Congress passed “the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act,” signed into law on May 24, 2010, in which, the president 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.”
Lawfare notes that Obama mainly relies on his constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief to conduct foreign affairs.
This is another humanitarian intervention based on the president’s unilateral Article II power. This time it involves a small number of ground troops rather than air support, and it is not backed by a U.N. Security Council Resolution. The WPR letter [read it at Lawfare linked above] notes that Congress in the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 “expressed support for increased, comprehensive U.S. efforts to help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability.” But while the President’s letter noted that his action was “in furtherance of the Congress’s stated policy,” he relied as authority for the intervention solely on his “constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.” It will be interesting to see whether the White House consulted with congressional leadership before the intervention, and how Congress reacts.
So readers, what do you think?
UPDATE 6:47 pm CDT: Fox News confirms that the troops sent ARE Special Forces.
Heard on Fox News Panel tonight that some troops are already on the ground in Uganda
UPDATE 3:05 pm CDT: Joseph Kony is listed on the World’s 10 Most Wanted List
Information on Joseph Kony, a professed Christian nut, from Wikipedia:
Joseph Kony (born 1961) is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group that is engaged in a violent campaign to establish theocratic government in Uganda, which he claims is based on the Ten Commandments.
The LRA has earned a reputation for its actions against the people of several countries, including northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. The LRA has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has also forced the internal displacement of over 2,000,000 people since its rebellion began in 1986.
Joseph Kony considers himself quite a good Christian, and he wants Uganda to be a Christian nation. So in 1987 he formed a resistance group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and the LRA has been at civil war against the Ugandan government ever since. If the LRA wins, Kony has promised that Uganda will become a theocracy, with laws based on the Biblical Ten Commandments.
Kony’s LRA has kidnapped an estimated 20,000 children for use as fighters or sex slaves. As part of their initiation, these children are often required to kill their own parents, so they’ll have no homes to return to. (It’s not clear which of the Ten Commandments Kony’s strategy is based on.) Once kidnapped, children are used as pack mules, carrying LRA supplies until they are too weak to walk, at which time they’re killed or simply left to die. Kidnapped boys also serve as targets and decoys, sent to the front lines — unarmed — whenever the Ugandan Army engages the LRA. Kidnapped girls that Kony or his senior commanders find attractive become their “wives” (Kony is reputed to have 60). Troublesome captives have their noses, lips, and/or ears cut off, and are then made to eat their own flesh.
Joseph Kony is one of the most vilified rebel leaders on the planet. He stands accused of brainwashing countless children across northern Uganda, turning the girls into sex slaves and the boys into prepubescent killers. His so-called Christian movement, the Lord’s Resistance Army, has terrorized a corner of Africa for nearly 20 years, killing tens of thousands of people, burning down huts and hacking off lips. The fact that Mr. Kony, whose followers believe he is a prophet, rarely appears in public has only added to his brutal mystique.
Exiled to a fiefdom on the border of southern Sudan and the Congo, Mr. Kony has in recent years emerged from the wilderness indicating a willingness to sign a historic peace deal with the Ugandan government that would disband his army. But on April 10, 2008, he once again demurred, saying he needed more time to consult Ugandan elders and contemplate the war crimes charges he faces from the International Criminal Court. –April 10, 2008