By warner music
BY MILA MIMICA
President Obama’s putting boots on the ground in Uganda -- to the tune of 100 U.S. troops in support of that country’s fight against rebel forces.
MSNBC’s Martin Bashir reports.
“President Obama sent a letter today to Congress announcing the U.S. military will put 100 combat-ready troops on the ground in central Africa to help the local military help remove the Lord’s Resistance Army’s Joseph Kony and his commanders.”
As Washington Post’s Elizabeth Flock explains, Kony and the LRA are responsible for wreaking havoc across central Africa for more than two decades.
“...the group has engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government and committed an extraordinary number of human rights violations … [T]roops enter a village, killing the adults and kidnapping the children. The boys are enscripted into the army and the girls are taken as ‘bush wives.’”
CNN’s Barbara Star points out the intervention in central Africa is part of recent intelligence-gathering attempts.
Barbara Star: “US troops may wind up now in Uganda, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s part of a growing military effort to engage in Africa.”
General Martin Dempsey: “And so our presence on the African continent is part of our network of building partners, of gaining intelligence.”
The fact President Obama chose to send a letter to Congress after deploying troops to Uganda as well as in Libya earlier this year is drawing some parallels between the two incidents, but a contributor to Fox News says the two cases are not created equal.
“It is surprising. Although this is very different from the Libyan case... Congress unanimously in both houses passed a law in 2009 calling on the president to put a stop to Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army.”
Although it took the administration two years to act on that law, Henry Okello Oryem, Uganda’s foreign acting foreign minister, told Al Jazeera the country has needed international military aid for decades.
“For 20 years, the government of Uganda has been pleading with our American and European friends to help in the LRA problem, because these are international terrorists … We wanted our friends to help in providing technical support, such as intelligence, because they have the best."
According to The New York Times, the U.S. sent 17 counter-terrorism specialists to Uganda during George W. Bush’s administration. But...
“Unlike the earlier effort, the 100 military advisers sent by Mr. Obama will be armed. They will be providing assistance and advice to their African hosts, Mr. Obama said, and ‘will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense.’”