Obama sending American soldiers to Uganda to aid fight against Lord’s Resistance Army


Obama sending American soldiers to Uganda to aid fight against Lord’s Resistance Army.

WASHINGTON – President Obama has deployed a small contingent of elite troops to aid Ugandan government forces battling a murderous insurgent group.

The first troops departed for the Central African nation Wednesday, part of a complement that will total about 100 American soldiers.

They’ll assist in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, Obama wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders.

On Sunday, the NY Times reported about simmering discontent in Uganda:

“Life is not O.K. at all,” Mr. Katende said. “I’m not a politician. I don’t know whom I support, but whoever comes I welcome.”

His Rolexes (two eggs rolled up inside a chapati) are not just a fast-food snack; they are a veritable index for the entire local economy, like The Economist’s Big Mac Index. In April, Mr. Katende said, he sold 100 Rolexes each day. Now he sells only 20.

There is no doubt that this country has come a long way since the murderous days of Idi Amin, Uganda’s mercurial dictator in the 1970s. President Museveni has stamped out a rebellion by the Lord’s Resistance Army and opened up the country to foreign investment and development aid, becoming one of the United States’ closest allies in Africa.

Birdlike cranes lift skyscrapers into the skyline. American hip-hop stars play concerts. Regionally, the country enjoys growing influence, and has supplied thousands of peacekeepers to Somalia. On a continent where rulers are often icons of the state, Uganda’s success has propelled President Museveni into the spotlight.

“He looks around at his fellow African heads of state and sees no equals,” wrote the American deputy chief of mission to Uganda in a 2007 diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks. “No one of his intellect, vision, drive, and few of his longevity.”

But cracks bleed through. Corruption and waste pervade a society steeped in neglect. While the government enjoys newly acquired fighter jets and spy drones, the roads are cratered with potholes. Kampala suffers rolling blackouts, partly because the government has failed to pay its fuel bills, and yet street lamps burn uselessly during the day. Trust in local leadership has sunk to such a point that an Irish immigrant was recently voted into a major city council position precisely because he was a foreigner, some voters said. [NYT, 10/16/2011]

I am concerned that the US Army Special Forces trainers are not there to protect American interests but to safeguard the interests and investments of China — our major creditor.

The Lord’s Resistance Army reportedly operates in northern Uganda where the gold and other mineral mines are located. It is believed that they use the mined ores to finance their campaign of terror, rape and murder.

I recently spoke with Joan Rosenhauer of Catholic Relief Services about Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Ms. Rosenhauer, who has been to Uganda, told me about how the LRA forces boys to rape their own mothers as a psychological means of preventing them from returning home. She confirmed to me that the LRA use mineral resources to finance their terrorism.  She would not comment on President Obama’s decision to deploy US Army Special Forces trainers because the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have not issued a statement.

Do you think President Obama made the right decision to deploy troops to Uganda?  Have your say!  Leave your comment below!

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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