US sends troops to Uganda; Human Rights Watch approves

US troops have been deployed to back up the forces of Uganda and neighboring nations to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), in what authorities hope will be a final offensive to crush the notoriously brutal guerilla group, known for its campaigns of killing, rape, and use of child soldiers over the past two decades. US troops are landing in Uganda and from there may deploy to the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and southern Sudan, where the LRA’s scattered force of some 400 is also operating. The US troops are combat-ready and have instructions to fight if attacked, but Pentagon spokesman Cpt. John Kirby said their mission is limited to helping Ugandan and other regional forces crush the LRA.

The New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been pushing for US intervention against the LRA. HRW executive director Kenneth Roth told National Public Radio:

We are hearing from residents of northern Democratic Republic of Congo. These are just local villagers who live in the area that has been ravaged by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and they are pleading to President Obama to do something to help them. The Lord’s Resistance Army is really one of the most brutal, vicious forces around. And it exists by essentially approaching a village, killing as many adults as it can find and then kidnapping the children, some just shockingly young, and forcing the boys to become child soldiers and the girls, in essence, to become so-called bush wives. It is just creating havoc in this part of the world, but the area is so remote that most people have no idea that it’s going on.

Another Washington-based human rights group, Resolve, updates its online Crisis Tracker in real time with information on LRA attacks from the UN, partner organizations and a field radio network. A video on the group’s website features one female victim of the violence saying: “I want President Obama to end this war. We do not know why we are being killed without any cause.”

However, the intervention advocates have voiced some caveats. HRW’s Washington advocacy director Tom Malinowski warned: “If you provoke the hornets in the hornets’ nest without effectively removing them from the forest or the battlefield, they tend to strike out even more viciously. So that’s the dilemma.” He recalled that the US backed up another regional campaign against the LRA in 2008. But that mission failed to capture warlord Joseph Kony or his commanders, resulting in retaliatory attacks against civilians. (VOA, Oct. 19; VOA, Oct. 18; NPR, Oct. 17)

As human rights groups back the intervention, voices on the political right in the US are opposing it. Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily thinks the whole thing was instrumented by George Soros to protect his oil investments in Central Africa. Michelle Malkin writes with apparent skepticism that “President Obama just announced he’s sending US troops to central Africa to fight something called ‘the Lord’s Resistance Army.'”

See our last posts on Uganda and the struggle for Central Africa.

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  1. Rush Limbaugh defends Lord’s Resistance Army
    In a convergence we have noted before, sectors of the idiot left are lining up with right-wing media bloviators to spew practically identical rhetoric about the Uganda mission. In its report on the deployment, the International Action Center again points to US oil interests in the region, but all it can say about the LRA is that it “has been carrying out a war against the Ugandan government.” A rather sanitized characterization of a group whose targets are overwhelmingly civilian villagers, who are massacred, raped and abducted for sexual slavery and child soldiers.

    Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh is downright enthusiastic for the mass-murdering LRA. An Oct. 17 report on the New York Times blog The Lede notes that Rush approvingly nodded to the group’s namecheck of the Almighty, and suggested Obama is persecuting them for being Christians:

    Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God.

    After suggesting that Obama “supported” violence against Coptic Christians by Muslims in Egypt, Limbaugh then read aloud what he called the “Lord’s Resistance Army objectives.”

    I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting.

    The Lede notes that Rush apparently got this information from Wikipedia, which as we all know is always fastidiously accurate (cough). Maybe Rush and the IAC should team up for an LRA solidarity rally.

    Idiot left and bloviating right. Proverbial birds of a feather.

    1. Rush Limbaugh defends Lord’s Resistance Army
      Hey Bill,

      Thanks for the post — I missed this story completely (job searching will do that). I checked out the NYT and the Salon article on this latest gaffe and was astounded. Would it kill him to have his (highly paid) ditto-head staff research this sort of topic before he makes an ass out of himself? Certainly he is clever/evil enough to find some other angle in the true story in order to attack Obama’s judgement.

      And it’s interesting how other right-wing nuts followed the same lead without doing any research. Amazing! They are acting like post-war fascist tools who supported brutal governments, terrorists and death squads because they were dedicated to destroying ‘godless communism’.

      Reminds me of the time when Bob Grant got a call from the National Alliance and Grant assured him he had “no problem with the National Alliance” – so he let the caller spout his white-pride propaganda and give out his contact information for those white people who might be interested. To be fair, it wasn’t totally clear if Grant really knew who they were, but he sure acted like he did! Back then, however, there was not internet to let people know — only FAIR. Thank the Lord for them, too.

      Will be sending money soon.

      Love and Peace,