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

  • STemplar

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

  • STemplar

    Actually from what I’ve read they are pretty awful.

    • STemplar

      They are worse though. They are beaten and they are essentially land pirates now. No cause they are ever going to achieve, just kind of rampaging though central Africa.

      • crackedlenses

        He said nothing about recolonizing Africa…..

    • crackedlenses

      Name one person the Tea Party has killed or raped, directly or indirectly…..

  • Kevin Metcalf

    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.

    • major.rod

      Darfur is a both a humanitarian issue and any AQ involvement is definitively a national security issue. The LRA though heinous isn’t a national security issue while Darfur and the Sudaneses relationship with AQ is. The only reason to not go to the Sudan is the risk is greater and not an easy publicity win.

      • crackedlenses

        Then why are we complaining? I’ll gripe about this being low priority when we start sending combat troops as we did in Vietnam….

  • Jayson

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

    • Mister Rose

      Unfortunately, the mineral resources are going to be needed by our economy in the future. Why do you think China has been building roads and other infrastructure projects in the area?

      • You’re an a$$. You don’t own the rest of the world. China controls something like 90% of the rare earth metals, time we started makind new friends.

      • blight

        I guess when the last of the world’s coltan is in Africa, you’ll claim divine right of kings as to why Europe and America deserve it more than Asiatics?

  • Jayson

    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.

  • FormerDirtDart

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

    • FormerDirtDart

      You’re right, Pakistan didn’t request US operations in their country. The US paid cash money for access.

      “We do it because we can” …pfft…what utter ignorant nonsense

  • FormerDirtDart

    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.

  • 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.

  • Stephen Russell

    Stage for ” Vietnam 2″ now send our forces into “darkest Africa” vs the Stans.

    • TLAM Strike

      Well if your going to fight, fighting in Africa. China, Indochina, and the ‘stans are murderous on European armies. While Africa has been rolled over by Europeans and Arabs so many times its a joke.

      When Italy is able to conquer vast swaths of a continent you know they got to have crud for soldiers.

    • moronoxy??what?

      Well, it , is 111 weeks later, and STILL NO VIETNAM 2! Must be the budget cuts….yeah, that’s it…..:-)

  • ajohnson379

    Kony is anything BUT Christian

    • TLAM Strike

      But its still telling that the first rebel army in sub-Saharan Africa President Obama decides to fight is the one claiming to fight in the name of the Christian God.

      There are Muslim rebel and militia groups all over Africa killing Christians and Animists (for lack of a better term the various native religions) and President Obama had not sent troops to defend them.

      • major.rod

        Understand the point you are trying to make but the LRA is as much fighting for God as AQ is fighting for Allah. Pointing to the Muslims killing Christians in Darfur would further your argument and rightfully so.

      • blight

        The LRA is just nutjob. They could pick any god to claim to fight for and they’d still be savages.

        Anyone can claim to be fighting for God these days. It doesn’t mean they really are.

  • heath

    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?

    • moronoxy??what?

      It used to be a time when we (USA) were known for doing helpful things, other than for financial gain….could tracking this murdering, pillaging, rapist be one of those times….Hmmmmmmm.

  • Kski

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

  • major.rod

    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.

  • Dumb Grunt

    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.

    • zhijb

      Dear Sir,(

      I admire your quick, from-the-hip analysis based on sound historical data. I also am a big fan of your self-awareness, as displayed by your name.

    • TLAM Strike

      Africans were living in mud huts when Europeans sailed the Atlantic for America, Africans were still living in mud huts when European decedents traveled though space for the Moon.

      You get with the times or get steamrolled.

      How come the only technologically advanced African nation is the one where white people held on to control the longest? Now its going far down hill since that ended.

      • crackedlenses

        And now most of the Africans live in mud huts under the threat of war while the Europeans live in relative luxury with no threat of invasion. TLAM’s point is still valid…..

        • blight

          What point? That the kingdoms of Mali were destroyed by exposure to Europe?

          I guess civilization doesn’t just come at the point of a gun: it is the point of a gun.

      • The African moores invaded Europe during the Dark ages 1400’s to be exact. They helped usher on the Renissance introducing science and universities when most Euorpeans only believed what the Catholic Church told them to, you know witch craft and what not. At any rate your knowledge of African history and anciestry is woefully lacking, thus how can you draw any conclusion other then a biased one?

        • TLAM Strike

          Yea that Arab led Moors had a wonderful time raping and pillaging Spain (ask St. Pelagius of Cordova about that). The books they brought were ones they saved from the Civilizations they conquered. In other words they were simply the ones who saved the Greek and Persian (from the Persian built libraries in Babylon and Roman built one(s) in Alexandria), Chinese (acquired though trade), and Indian (who they massacred and took “Arabic Numerals” and the concept of Zero) knowledge that was forgotten in Europe and brought it back to Europe. Searching the Muslim world for knowledge came to an end when Europeans discovered a lot of that knowledge had been saved in Byzantium (Istanbul after it was conquered by the Turks in 1453).

          If the Moors had such wonderful knowledge why is there not a Great Library of Morocco to visit like the libraries of the monasteries in Spain? Or the vast collections of the Vatican?

          The “Dark Age” in Europe actually spawned modern machine labor. With the Black Death wiping out horrendous numbers of people the lack of labor forced Europeans to build labor saving tools. From the designers of these tools we get the Artisans of the Renaissance.

      • TLAM Strike

        And who conquered those kingdoms? Oh right it was the Europeans, and Mid Easterners.

        And what were these Kingdoms? Oh that’s right Theocratic Monarchies, it was the Romans who gave us Republics and the Greeks Democracy.

        • blight_

          Rome turned into an autocracy beginning with Octavian and passed the tradition onto the Eastern Roman Empire. The tribes of Arabia were a confederation of tribes that eventually turned into the Caliphate with associated eventual Abassid/Umayyad fracturing. Either way, both West and East were just empires with an associated state religion. Democracy and Republics remained academic discussions until the Enlightenment.

  • reggie

    More taxpayer’s dollars pissed down a THIRD WORLD RAT HOLE!

  • 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.

    • moronoxy??what?


  • crackedlenses

    Personally I can’t stand Shakira’s music…….

  • morriswise

    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.

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

  • blight

    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).

  • Uncle Bill

    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.

  • hank

    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…

    • blight

      Where’d you get all this? Gunrunner moved semi-automatic weapons to Mexico. We gave death squads in El Salvador access to more; and we gave Iran weapons for nothing (as part of Iran Contra).

  • PMI

    Wow this topic certainly got ugly fast.

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

  • george

    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…

    • blight

      from wnd

      “Soros sits on the executive board of an influential “crisis management organization” that recently recommended the U.S. deploy a special advisory military team to Uganda to help with operations and run an intelligence platform, a recommendation Obama’s action seems to fulfill.

      The president emeritus of that organization, the International Crisis Group, is also the principal author of “Responsibility to Protect,” the military doctrine used by Obama to justify the U.S.-led NATO campaign in Libya.

      Soros’ own Open Society Institute is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, a doctrine that has been cited many times by activists urging intervention in Uganda.”

      Nothing on how he’s going to directly make money off of Uganda.


      “Also in 2008, the Africa Institute for Energy Governance, a grantee of the Soros-funded Revenue Watch, helped established the Publish What You Pay Coalition of Uganda, or PWYP, which was purportedly launched to coordinate and streamline the efforts of the government in promoting transparency and accountability in the oil sector.

      Also, a steering committee was formed for PWYP Uganda to develop an agenda for implementing the oil advocacy initiatives and a constitution to guide PWYP’s oil work.

      PWYP has since 2006 hosted a number of training workshops in Uganda purportedly to promote contract transparency in Uganda’s oil sector.

      PWYP is directly funded by Soros’ Open Society as well as the the Soros-funded Revenue Watch Institute. PWYP international is actually hosted by the Open Society Foundation in London.

      The billionaire’s Open Society Institute, meanwhile, runs numerous offices in Uganda. It maintains a country manager in Uganda, as well as the Open Society Initiative for East Africa, which supports work in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

      The Open Society Institute runs a Ugandan Youth Action Fund, which states its mission is to “identify, inspire, and support small groups of dedicated young people who can mobilize and influence large numbers of their peers to promote open society ideals.””

      Versus Cheney being an ex-CEO of Halliburton, who kept his shares in Halliburton. No conflict of interest when KBR makes a killing in Iraq.

      The real truth is that people with money love making money. They control the strings. You do not. However, they can pit the masses against each other just fine.

    • Mastro

      I hate Soros but its good he invests in Uganda- it means they have a real economy and not some banana basket case.

      Please, please no more conspiracy theories.

  • Black Owl

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

    • Black Owl

      You are an @$$ hole. You don’t know that for sure and even if they are who gives a damn anyway. Joseph Kony has caused far more suffering than his miserable little life is worth and he needs justice BAD.

  • Sev

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

  • Ned

    But, but…they have oil. Lots of oil http://crossedcrocodiles.wordpress.com/2009/06/10

    • blight_

      All four companies listed are British companies or Commonwealth in origin, interestingly enough.

      Museveni sounds like a typical strongman. Then again, we’ve partnered with countries on shakier grounds.

  • Mastro

    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.

    • blight_

      What “55” was this? During the ’80s? Ironically I’ve never heard of it.

  • John

    President Peace Prize at it again.

    • blight_

      Yup. Out of Bush’s axis of evil, Bush took one (Iraq) and Obama the other (Libya).

      Iran is still there, maybe next term (regardless of who wins) will do the dastardly deed?

  • TaskForceGreen

    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)