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LRA leader Joseph Kony: Why Obama sent US troops to Uganda to get him

The feared group LRA is responsible for the murder and rape of thousands in Central Africa. Siding with interventionist advisers, Obama sent the US troops to help remove Joseph Kony from the battlefield.

By Staff writer / October 14, 2011



Washington

By sending 100 US troops to Uganda to help in the battle against one of Central Africa’s most violent and feared armed groups, President Obama is once again siding with those in his administration who favor American intervention against the world’s worst violators of human rights.

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On Friday Mr. Obama informed Congress that he has dispatched the “combat-equipped US forces” to assist regional forces in their fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, a group that has murdered, kidnapped, and raped thousands of Central African civilians and which Obama says continues to commit “atrocities” across several African countries.

Obama said an initial team was dispatched to Uganda Wednesday, and that additional forces would deploy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan.

Specifically, the American troops are tasked with assisting in “the removal from the battlefield” of Joseph Kony and other senior leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, Obama said in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate.

Although the troops will be equipped for combat, officials specified that their principal role would be advisory. “These advisers will not engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense,” said State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland in a statement Friday.

In his letter, Obama noted that Congress has supported US efforts to “help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability” in legislation in 2009 and 2010.

But the president’s announcement Friday is also reminiscent of the decision he made in March to undertake a bombing campaign in Libya targeting the forces of Muammar Qaddafi. At that time Obama’s decision was seen as a victory for the administration’s “liberal hawks” – in particular Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and White House special adviser Samantha Power – who argued for US intervention on the side of Libya’s threatened civilian population.

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