U.S. forces are already stretched thin, but that hasn’t stopped President Obama from introducing them into a new theater of combat, sending special forces to central Africa to chase around someone named Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.
Apparently, local troops in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Congo can’t apprehend him, and he’s doing lots of terrible things, so U.S. troops are now involved.
The first batch of troops arrived in Uganda Wednesday, unannounced to the United States. A total of about 100 will eventually deploy. While armed, they are supposedly instructed to play defense only.
This is operation what’s known in technical military jargon as “a bad idea.”
What exactly happens if some of our troops are captured or killed? Do we then send more? But can we possibly afford not to defeat these barbarians now that our prestige is involved? Does anyone remember Somalia?
What this is, is the latest manifestation of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine promulgated by White House National Security aide Samantha Power. The theory holds that the international community – that is, U.S. armed forces – have a responsibility to protect people who are victims of “crimes against humanity.”
Nobody likes “crimes against humanity.” But U.S. troops must be used sparingly. We cannot commit them half-heartedly to far-flung locations where we risk situations in which we either escalate or lose. And when we lose, our national security is gravely harmed.
The ignominious retreat from Somalia in 1994 overseen by Bill Clinton is part of what gave Osama Bin Laden the confidence to attack the United States, viewing us as effete cowards who wouldn’t dare to put up a fight.
And none of our men or women should be killed in some God-foresaken place unless there is an urgent national security interest. Can someone tell me what our national security interest is in Uganda?
The White House low-keyed this announcement as much as possible, putting word out on Friday afternoon when no one is listening and releasing only a letter informing Speaker Boehner of the action. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t even mention it in the briefing he held on Air Force One today.
Obama should have announced this himself and explained it to the American people. Instead, the action seems careless. We are now just casually throwing troops into theaters of battle all over the world.
Obama didn’t say anything because he knows the American people would never support it. Pity the mother whose son might die under torture at the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army.