100 US Special Operations Forces began deploying to Africa in order to assist local military leaders in their quest to capture the brutal Joseph Kony head of the Lords Resistance Army who has killed thousands of civilians, raped women, and abducted children for use as child soldiers.
The soldiers will fan out throughout Uganda, Central African Republic, Congo, and the newly minted South Sudan. Their role is to act in an advisory and intelligence capacity unless forced to defend themselves. This is another example of Barack Obama’s military strategy: smaller numbers of more specialized forces and greater use of targeted drone strikes. The question: Is it the right strategy?
President Obama has defined this mission in terms of America’s national security interest. While that claim is disputed by some, the Pentagon has added “preventing of human suffering due to mass atrocities” to its’ list of priorities outlined in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. The L.R.A. most certainly fits that definition, meaning that such action is indeed warranted. Furthermore, the President was given a 2010 Congressional mandate to deal with the L.R.A.
Obviously, a big military buildup is out of the question given other commitments, but something small and directional is warranted given our human rights stances and the fact that Africa is considered by many experts to be the next terrorist hotspot.
I’m further struck by a lack of alternatives: we shouldn’t sanction an already economically fragile region for 300-400 L.R.A operatives. Doesn’t it make us appear heartless and cruel to let more people die?