U.S. Sending “Combat Equipped” Troops to Africa

Well, the President is sending about 100 “combat equipped” U.S. troops to Uganda to help local government forces hunt down and ‘remove’ Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The LRA is a rebel group that has terrorized the African countryside for years, murdering, raping and kidnapping thousands of civilians.  Like countless other African “resistance” armies, the LRA specializes in abducting kids and forcing them into service as child soldiers. Needless to say, he’s a bad dude at the head of a bad organization. The first U.S. troops apparently arrived in Uganda on Oct. 12 and more will follow in the coming weeks, according to an Oct. 14 letter sent from the White House to Congress.

In addition to Uganda, U.S. forces have permission from South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to operate on their territory while helping to hunt down the LRA.

The troops are likely special operations forces and their low numbers reflect the U.S.’ desire to avoid the appearance of neo-colonialism on the continent.  The Pentagon routinely deploys forces to Africa to train local militaries (the photo above shows an Army Green Beret training Malian counter-terror troops). They’re usually sent in small numbers and are special ops troops, often dressed as civilians, who are trained in local languages and customs. Don’t forget all the combat equipped troops who live at Camp Lemonier, in Djibouti. Still, it’s very rare to hear about U.S. forces actively hunting bad guys in Africa. Even when we go after pirates and terrorists in Somalia we usually do it with AC-130 gunships and UAVs. If Americans to hit the ground its usually for the few minutes or hours it takes to kill or capture one of these guys.

In this case, the troops will be directly assisting with a manhunt despite the fact that the White House says they won’t be “engaging” in combat with LRA forces, unless of course, the LRA forces shoot first.

“Although U.S. forces are combat equipped 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,” reads the letter.

Click through the jump to read a copy of the letter:

Troops to Africa

31 Comments on "U.S. Sending “Combat Equipped” Troops to Africa"

  1. Getting the job done correctly as opposed to funding some open ended UN peacekeeping force for decades?

  2. Actually from what I've read they are pretty awful.

  3. I think from a policy perspective the LRA represents a destabilizing element that could jeopardize American interests in promoting peace and security in Africa. While it's low priority, fulfilling this mission certainly won't work against any western interests. It also bears mentioning that there is a warrant for this individual's arrest issued by the ICC meaning that America is pro-actively working to support an internationally approved mandate. The risks are low and the return is high in terms of establishing America's ongoing commitment to its international obligations. Sudan's relationship with Al-Qaeda affiliate groups puts it in a special prominence alongside other more overt theaters of operations like Iraq and Af-Pak. Since the LRA is currently isolated regionally following the successful secession of South Sudan there is a window of opportunity to resolve the situation through the use of limited direct-action. It's certainly a better alternative to waiting 5-10 years for conditions on the ground to deteriorate necessitating a large scale military intervention, especially giving the nightmarish complexity of waging a large-scale 5GW war on the African continent.

  4. Things are much more interconnected globally than when the founders could even dream about.

  5. A more stable African nations the less areas for bad muslims to hide and plot and terrorize and train for the next big thing.

    If we can do it with only a few hundred men then lets take it to them and the world becomes a safer place.

  6. FormerDirtDart | October 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Reply

    Because the government on Mexico hasn't requested additional help?

  7. FormerDirtDart | October 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Reply

    Without reading the letter linked above, I would venture to assume that this action will be under the auspices of the "Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act", approved unanimously, by both houses of Congress, in 2010.

  8. The sooner Joseph Kony is killed the better off the world will be.

    Hopefully they will contribute a MC-12W to track this goons commo. Pablo style. Then a D boy sniper can save the ICC a lot of handwringing and embarassment over who sold weapons to who.

  9. Stephen Russell | October 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Reply

    Stage for " Vietnam 2" now send our forces into "darkest Africa" vs the Stans.
    Scary.

  10. Kony is anything BUT Christian

  11. Yet another war! What exactly is the compelling vital national security interest of Uganda? Did George Soros lose some money on a murky business deal in Uganda, or is Obama just hoping to help the Islamofascists conquer another part of the African continent— like he did in Egypt?

  12. I see this advisory group terning into a SOF kill team to help Obamers, bubbdies

  13. There is no national compelling interest to justify going after the heinous LDA. Better for the Pres just to say it was another humanitarian mission we had to do (not that I buy that). What is strange is that we have a situation in Darfur that is very similar. Why not intervene there? Its all very difficult to understand and predict. Is that what we are trying to achieve with our foreign policy? Eventually, someone is going to guess wrong.

  14. This a European created mess. The Belgians were the worst, followed by the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Germans, Dutch, and the British; all sanctioned and encouraged by the Catholic Church. They made this by hacking up the continent, they should be the ones who should clean up their disaster.

  15. More taxpayer's dollars pissed down a THIRD WORLD RAT HOLE!

  16. Several people posit that there are no US interests in this area. But this region has important unexploited mineral reserves. Rare metals such as tantalum and niobium are found here; these metals are used in electronic components and alloys used in jet engines. Such metals are already considered strategic materials and are stockpiled by the Defense Logistic Agency. If you want to build stealth fighters and hypersonic missiles you need these materials.

    100 troops to help remove a major destabilizing factor in a strategic region seems like a good deal.

  17. Personally I can't stand Shakira's music…….

  18. The guns of adventurist African Americans could save the troubled natives in the dark continent. They will not be the usual white colonialists, but black hunters of the feared Joseph Kony and the LRA. It will take only 10 days to train a jungle fighter, all that is needed would be a machete and pistol.

  19. Hmm I have a computer scince degree and am of African decent. By your logic I shouldn't exist.

  20. Putting Uganda to rights will bring them into the modern world. When African nations are freed of scumbags, terrorists and mad butchers, Africa will be able to take care of itself again, without turning to Europe for help; which is never bad press when dictators keep playing the "fighting Europe" card. And consequently, it means a rational player to work with when it comes with dealing with other issues related to Africa: namely, dealing with Al-Qaeda or future threats.

    It might might the world a better place when African nations can send food aid to Somalia, instead of relying so much on Europe. A developed Africa means reduced immigration to Europe: a bone of contention with Europeans at home. We will certainly no longer be able to treat them like our red-headed stepchild this way, but in the long run we won't pour so much blood and treasure into humanitarian interventions or deal with the potential nexus of terrorists with Africa, or the drug cartels of South America using Africa as a stepping stone to Europe (and from Europe to the US, should it become difficult to ship drugs directly to the United States).

  21. I am very suspicious of Obama helping Muslims to kill Christians, like in Egypt. I realize guys like Kony aren't "true" Christians and AQ aren't true muslims, but in the big picture it's us against them.

    But I've also heard this is part of improving relations with Uganda that includes their help sending forces under AU aegis to liberate Mogadishu from Al Shabbab. If that is true then I'm ok with this. But no escalation.

  22. So this Administration allows Mexican Narco-terrorists access to military grade automatic weapons, grenades, and body armor …resulting in the predictable deaths of hundreds of Mexicans and a US border patrol officer… All the while Islamists appear to be taking over Egypt and Libya with the blessing of our leaders… Not suprisingly, I greet this latest African venture with guarded skepticism…

  23. Wow this topic certainly got ugly fast.

  24. I think stupied idea, sent 100 people to chase or remove 1 person, very foolish idea.

  25. I just read an article which reported that George Soros has heavily invested in oil exploration in Uganda…Apparently Soros needs the US military to make the locals play nicely and see things his way… It's all starting to make sense now…

  26. Anyone here seen the film "Invisible Children?" I hope our guys kill that bastard.

  27. Is that the new ECH that the green beret is wearing?

  28. Its time to kill off the LRA-

    Uganda is actually an OK nation now- a friend of mine worked in a hospital there.

    This isn't a Vietnam thin wedge- they are sending some SF who will accompany the locals out in the field- and they will be armed for it- unlike the famous "55" in El Salvador who weren't allowed to carry M-16's because that was an "offensive" weapon.

  29. President Peace Prize at it again.

  30. TaskForceGreen | June 29, 2013 at 6:20 am | Reply

    WHY shouldn't WE intervene? Africa needs as many US Special Ops on the ground as possible…Anyone seen Nigeria or Somalia lately? Or Mali? I agree we don't need to be the world "police" but genocide is genocide. Just cuz we are reluctant to use that word at Security Council meetings doesn't mean squat. We should be having AS MANY of our SEALs, Delta, Special Forces, etc as possible there (trust me, ask any US SOF operator and he would love to go….they train there constantly and when not in war, they are back home mowing lawns and babysitting the kids…the live for it)

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