Apparently deciding one ongoing,undeclared war was not enough,our president of peace has committed 100 U.S. soldiers to central Africa to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). That announcement came Friday,two days after deployment. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Friday,Barack Obama wrote “the U.S. forces are combat-equipped,”but —not to worry —“they will only be providing information,advice,and assistance to partner nation forces,and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense.”The president asserted that his action was taken in “furtherance of the Congress’s stated policy,”citing the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009,which encourages greater “military”cooperation to defeat the LRA. However,he concluded,“I have directed this deployment,which is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.”This has some questioning whether this is a second war-by-decree,following the still-simmering conflict in Libya.
Ironically,Obama closed the letter,“I am making this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed,consistent with the War Powers Resolution”—an act he is currently violating in Libya.
The Lord’s Resistance Army is one of the purest forms of concentrated evil on the planet. Led by Joseph Kony, who has been “possessed” by “spirits” multiple times a day for decades, the LRA has placed itself at the service of its leader’s violent visions. The LRA has kidnapped an estimated 65,000 children from central African homes, impressing them into his army as child soldiers, mutilators, or sex slaves as part of his 23-year campaign of terror. Much of its brunt has been borne by Christians.
The goal of eradicating the LRA is a praiseworthy one, but it will not be an easy task. Max Fisher at The Atlantic assessed: “Disarming the LRA today would mean sweeping thousands of miles of dense jungle with metal detectors. Defunding them would require persuading Sudanese President Omar Bashir, who is still fighting insurgent groups in Darfur and elsewhere, that supporting terrorist groups, his signature tactic for decades, is no longer in his interest.”
It may be a worthwhile humanitarian undertaking, but it is one launched with at best dubious Congressional authorization and which — the moment the LRA machetes an American soldier — has the potential to widen well beyond the parameters Obama insisted would hold when he deployed them by fiat.