Interrogating the Idea of US Military Intervention

On October 14, 2011 BBC reported US President, Barack Obama sent approximately 100 US soldiers to Uganda to help regional forces battle the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army. Although troops will be combat-equipped, the troops would be providing information and advice “to partner nation forces,” Mr Obama wrote in a letter to US congress.

“I have authorised a small number of combat-equipped US forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of (LRA leader) Joseph Kony from the battlefield,” Mr Obama wrote on Friday.

But he stressed that: “although the US forces are combat-equipped… they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defence.”

The Kony2012 campaign supports the sending of US troops by Obama to Uganda. Indeed the continuation of military support to the Ugandan armed forces is the main goal of the whole campaign. Scalea states: “President Obama’s choice is portrayed as the result of grassroots pressure exerted by Invisible Children Inc. during the past years, and as a military mission decided upon “simply because it is the right thing to do”. This interpretation is simplistic just like the superficial and Manichean description of Ugandan situation.”

Many feel that US intervention is not an appropriate solution for the unique Ugandan situation. History and Politics academic Susan Engle states that the Kony2012 campaign “lacked some depth and insight and some of its purposes where also quite questionable, the idea of US military intervention as a solution to any problem that is as much about poverty and development as it is about conflict is a really problematic one.”In fact, an article entitled, “KONY 2012, The “Good Intentions vs The Real Intentions,”  quotes Mark Kersten from Justice in Conflict who says Uganda’s recently discovered oil reserves, which: “may produce between 2.5billiob to 6 billion barrels of oil. This oil is suddenly directly linked to the country’s security.”

In an interview with TRNN (video shown above), Firoze Manji, editor-in-chief of Pambazuka News states: “I think we ought to also recognize that, you know, Uganda has just recently announced the striking of some very substantial oil resources in the northern part of Uganda, and to me it’s difficult not to think that the sending of these US special forces has not got something to do with that.” Engle concurs stating: “… given the US geopolitics over the last 2 decades its hard not to make that assumption.”

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One thought on “Interrogating the Idea of US Military Intervention

  1. […] to join the campaign, but say they would operate in an advisory role, not an offensive combat one (more on this here). However, despite all efforts, Kony remains at […]

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