Jewish World Review Oct 18, 2011 / 20Tishrei, 5772
U.S. plans limited mission in an Africa with no limits
By Dale McFeatters
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Let us first posit the Lord's Resistance Army, which is neither an army nor the Lord's, is overdue for elimination, long overdue. It was founded in Uganda in 1987 and unlike so many movements that flourish briefly and bloodily, this one was never stamped out.
Led by its messianic and murderous leader, Joseph Kony, who spouts a crackpot form of Christianity, the LRA has continued to survive by hiding in mountainous and densely forested central Africa, emerging periodically to replenish itself and refresh its reign of terror by mass killings, kidnappings, mutilations and sexual slavery. Kony has been wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes since 2005.
The LRA has moved among Southern Sudan, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, taking advantage of the rough terrains, its reputation of amoral viciousness and these countries' limited capacity for military cooperation.
The U.S. stepped into the role of improving that capacity this past weekend when President Barack Obama elected to send 100 U.S. trainers and special operations advisers to work out of the regional capitals to aid in tracking down Kony.
They are there, the White House says, strictly to advise and not to engage in combat unless forced to defend themselves. This is the kind of rule of engagement that may seem clear in the sterile confines of the White House situation room but is likely to break down quickly in any kind of African field situation, particularly against an enemy that is, by any definition, crazy.
In itself, the anti-LRA operation doesn't set any particular precedent. Advisers from the U.S. Africa Command are scattered throughout the continent with the largest contingent, about 3,500, in Djibouti. But the continent doesn't lack for problems that may draw U.S. attention -- al-Qaeda's attempts to establish itself in northern Nigeria and the ongoing chaos and anarchy of Somalia.
The so-far limited deployment to central Africa is billed as both a training and a humanitarian mission, but now that the U.S. has committed itself there is, despite what the White House Power Point presentations may say, only one successful outcome -- the death or capture of Kony and the death or dispersal of his followers.
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