Once again the US Federal Government has militarily intervened in an impoverished country on the other side of the globe that could in no way threaten the security of people here in North America. Like the last several wars the Feds have waged, this is by no stretch of the imagination a matter of “national defense.” Uganda, the targeted country, has the 97th largest economy in the world according to CIA statistics and spends only 2.2% of the little money generated there on its military. Meanwhile the Feds spend half of the planet’s total military budget. What honour is there in beating up on a poor Third World country a world away? Notice also that this, like every war the US has fought since WWII, has no congressional declaration of war as required by the US Constitution. The Feds’ own law is openly flouted by the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, DC. This military intervention will give the Feds control of even more of the Earth’s territory and stretches DC’s resources even thinner. John Glaser has the story for Antiwar.com:
The wars are piling up for the Nobel Prize winner, war-monger-in-chief. By arbitrary presidential decree, Obama has involved America in another war without asking for approval from Congress and without even giving an explanation as to how in the world it serves our “national security interests” at all.
A little background on the conflict and our newfound Ugandan rebel enemies, the Lord’s Resistance Army, from Danger Room’s David Axe. Sadly, this isn’t our first intervention against the group:
The LRA has its roots in a bloody civil war in Uganda in the 1980s and ’90s. Chased out of their home country by the army and angry civilians, the pseudo-religious LRA spent a few years doing the bidding of Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir before international pressure ended that arrangement and the LRA fled south into the thick, roadless forest of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Central African Republic.
…Though the danger to American lives is probably minimal, any effort against the LRA poses serious risks. Previous operations targeting Kony have ended badly. In 2006, a squad of Guatemalan commandos trained by the U.S. infiltrated an LRA encampment. But Kony was away. In the ensuing firefight, LRA troops wiped out the entire eight-man commando force and beheaded their commander.
Three years later, a small team from U.S. Africa Command helped the Ugandan army plan a complex series of raids on LRA camps, codenamed “Operation Lightning Thunder.” But the Ugandan air and ground forces could not coordinate their attacks. The enraged rebel survivors fanned out, killing more than 600 civilians as they fled deeper into the forest.
After the disastrous Operation Lightning Thunder, Africa Command assumed a lower profile in Congo, sending small numbers of trainers on short-term missions aimed at boosting the Congolese army. Meanwhile, aid groups and civilian militias ramped up their efforts to guard against LRA attacks, employing homemade shotguns and a DIY radio warning network. And advocates of greater U.S. involvement continued pleading their case, culminating in today’s announcement.
Of course, there’s always the risk of mission creep; just look at how the American efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan have metastasized, for instance. That’s one reason why Center for a New American Security analyst Andrew Exum called the idea of U.S. intervention in Congo “not quite New Coke, and it’s not as ill-advised as signing up to be al-Qaeda’s #3, but this is a pretty bad idea.”
Wondering how bad this could get? Yeah, me too.
Update: As for those “national security interests”…Obama couched them in terms of humanitarian intervention. But something tells me this, instead, isn’t so irrelevant (a report from back in July):
‘Uganda’s Oil Potential Arouses International Interest’
Recent discoveries of vast oil reserves, particularly the oil rich Albertine Graben, with estimated reserves of at least 2.5 billion barrels of oil, mean Uganda is set to become a key oil producer on a part with other African oil producing nations, such as neighboring Sudan, Angola, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. Some estimate place the Albertine Graben reserve as high as six billion barrels of recoverable oil.
On the basis of such reserves, government analysts estimate that Uganda will be able to support production of over 100,000 barrels of oil per day for the next two decades.