President Obama decided to deploy approximately one-hundred military trainers and advisors on a mission in Uganda to assist in the Ugandan Government’s fight against the Ugandan based rebel force the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader, Joseph Kony. The State Department has designated the Lord’s Resistance Army as a terrorist organization while later, in 2008, the United States Treasury Department added Joseph Kony to its list of ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorists’. This move is the culmination of an almost fifty-million-dollar effort over the past four to five years aimed to remove this threat from the Central African nations. This mission will order support by these units for a number of countries in the area including the newly founded South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and others suffering from the threats posed by the renegade terrorist army. The American troops have orders to operate solely in an advisory and training role and avoid engaging in actual combat unless attacked and no other option avails itself. This begs the initial question of exactly who is the Lord’s Resistance Army, who is their leader Joseph Kony, and what are the motivations or objectives driving their violent terror attacks.
The Lord’s Resistance Army is claimed by its leader, Joseph Kony, to be a religious militia that was born on the remains of a similar group called the Holy Spirit Movement which opposed government efforts and jurisdiction in areas of Uganda in the 1980s. The normal modus operandi of the LRA when taking over a village is to kill all the adults then taking the children. They conscript and train the boys to serve as soldiers for the future and the girls are raised to become ‘bush wives’, forced marriages where the woman is demeaned and utilized as a sex slave and servant who is forced to serve any and all needs or desires under threat of death. These women are demeaned and robbed of any vestige of normalcy or affections and are simply viewed and treated as an object, not a person. This way the LRA is a self-propagating entity guaranteeing a steady replacement of combatants to perpetuate their reign of terror throughout the area in numerous Central African nations. Furthering the insanity which drives the LRA is the claim by its leader, Joseph Kony, that he is a medium of the Holy Spirit. They also claim to be a Protestant religious army engaged in spreading the holy word of their spiritual leader. The LRA claims to aim to establish a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and traditions from the Acholi tribal society which is native to the area in Africa. They are not true Christians in spirit or acts and more represent a tribal hierarchal society bent on spreading their influence over other tribes and peoples. They use their claims to being a devout Christian group simply working for their holy man is simply a mask behind which they can attempt to hide their true objectives. Next, does this imply taking actions in Nigeria?
Nigeria is having much the same problems which tore the Sudan apart in near endless violence and carnage. Nigeria is predominantly Christian in the south and Muslim in the north. The current makeup of the country is nearly evenly split between these two religions. The current President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is a Christian and seemingly at a complete loss on how to address the problematic violence being wrought by the Boko Haram terrorists. President Jonathan’s obvious discomfort to utilizing troops as an answer to attacks by the Boko Haram stems from his pacifist nature and his desire to attempt to avoid plunging Nigeria into a civil war. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant sect which is demanding autonomic self-rule over the northern areas splitting Nigeria on religious lines into two independent countries. One of the main stumbling blocks is the argument over which side would control the fairly extensive oil and gas fields which are located mainly in the central regions of Nigeria, an area which both sides make claims on.
There was recent terror rampages which came starting a little before Christmas last year with bombings of churches using car bombs parked right in front of the church doors just as they had ended services. These bombings continued into the middle of January and resulted in a flood of Christian refugees into the southern parts of the country to escape the violence. The Boko Haram are also tribal in their composition as well as being Muslim, thus have some similarities to the Lord’s Resistance Army which is terrorizing central African nations. The main difference is that Nigeria is more developed than much of Uganda and the neighboring countries thus Boko Haram operates in a more urban setting thus using different tactics. Both groups are murderous in nature though it might be claimed, justifiably, that the Lord’s Resistance Army is the more brutal, homicidal, and destructive as they completely wipe out entire villages in their attacks, while Boko Haram commits attacks resembling terror attacks seen in many parts of our world. Still, when it comes to protecting innocents from the slaughter simply because they are in some manner different than their attackers, there honestly is not much difference between the carnage in Uganda and the terrorism plaguing Nigeria. So, why has President Obama chosen to send advisors to support and train those tasked with protecting the people in Uganda and neighboring countries and not sent similar support to Nigeria? I realize that many will ask why send our soldiers to either confrontation, and that may be a valid question, but since we have already involved ourselves in one, why not the other is a valid question. Whether the United States remains in Uganda or even assists Nigeria, the majority of whose oil reserves come to the United States, is a decision for the representatives of the people of the United States.
Beyond the Cusp