United States To Deploy Troops Against Lord's Resistance Army

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by DarthBoba, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    CNN clickety click


  2. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Let's see. The ICC indicted Kony in 2002 for war crimes. A mere 8 years later the U.S. House and Senate passed the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Scarcely 18 months after that, Obama rushed troops to the scene.

    As usual in sub-Saharan Africa matters, the west is lightning quick in recognizing the urgency of humanitarian crises there.
  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I agree that the West isn't very good at dealing with sub-saharan Africa; however I'd say this is something of a landmark, as it marks the first armed US intervention in Africa since Mogadishu, iirc. Wasn't this a campaign point of Obama's to begin with? I seem to recall something of that nature.
  5. Raven Administrator Emeritus

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    That depends on how you define "armed intervention" and "Africa" I suppose.
  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Suppose I should have clarified and said soldiers. The CIA & Air Force are one thing; Army is a new level of seriousness.
  7. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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    Does sending non-combat advisers really count as an armed intervention?
  8. Mr44 VIP

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    Not on their own.

    But it's interesting to note that after the French withdrew from Vietnam, the US's role started with a couple hundred non-combat advisers, and quickly escalated. It's funny now, but one of JFK's original plans was to send US troops disguised as disaster relief workers. The disguise plan was abandoned, but JFK still sent the initial transition force that bridged gap between the non-combat and combat troops. Not that Uganda is anything like Vietnam, but the situation in Somalia draws some parallels. Remember, the original personnel deployed to Somalia were unarmed advisers/aid workers. However, security of the aid shipments were quickly compromised, so armed troops were also sent in. What's never noted in all the depictions of the Somali mission (ie "Black Hawk Down," etc..) is that the first US casualty in Somalia didn't come from the military, it was a CIA intelligence operative.

    It all just depends on what goals the administration wants to achieve. The current force of couple hundred US Special Forces advisers aren't really going to be able to directly impact the conflict. (The LRA is supposed to have anywhere from couple hundred to thousands of militants) They will be able to represent the turning point of a larger conflict. If US troops are attacked, it would probably result in a wider deployment. If US troops observe and document more atrocities that occur, its going to fall back on either the administration or the UNSC on what move to do next. But if it's violence that occurs between only African nationals vs African nationals, the international response is most likely to wag fingers at it, but not do much of anything else.
  9. Ghost Chosen One

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    I'm undecided about this.

    The LRA are a source of violence and instability in Africa, but we can't get too involved in yet another region's troubles. We got involved in the Muslim World, and we still have three big problems in that region: Pakistan, Iran, and Syria (as well as terrorist cells in Saudi Arabia and negotiating peace for Israel/Palestine). We are now directly invested in this region. We shouldn't shift focus to another region before we're completely out of that one.

    If this doesn't mean a new region to focus on, and we're just sending these advisors in for a quick job (help locate and cripple the leadership of the LRA, then leave) then I approve. But we can't allow ourselves to get tangled in sub-Saharan politics too.

    Once we have a more friendly and stable Muslim world, and we no longer have to focus on that region, I think our new foreign policy focus should be renewing and strengthening ties with Latin America, India, and Indonesia. Particularly healing our rifts with Cuba and Venezuela, and helping to restore stability in Mexico. We need to focus more on our own backyard. Africa is still such a mess, and I'm just worried about getting too involved there.
  10. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I'm not sure that Iran & Syria count as serious problems. Iran has very effectively made itself the neighborhood boogeyman and alienated virtually every last one of its neighbors, and its economy is grinding to pieces under sanctions, more of which are coming from this assassination flap; Syria is coming apart with internal strife. Neither is what I'd consider a distinct problem, at least not right now. The Islamic world in general isn't particularly stable, I'll grant, but I'd say the instability is mainly in our favor; pro-democracy movements are not a threat to the USA.

    Terrorists cells being an actual threat isn't something I believe in, either; they are only if you overreact to them, and the Islamic world has shifted away from supporting groups like Al-Qaeda. As for Palestine & Israel, I don't think there's much progress to be had there. Both sides seem to be controlled by extremist minorities.

    Anyway; Africa needs stability in an extremely bad way. There's tons and tons of potential there (one reason China has been deeply involved in alot of African nations-this dates to the 1970s) and groups like the LRA frankly need to go just on an ethical basis, let alone an economic one.



  11. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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  12. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

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    I am unabashedly happy about this. The Lord's Resistance Army has be one of the most repugnant groups on the planet; they make the Taliban look like girl scouts.

    I don't think this will turn into a drag out fight though. Simply put, the LRA has nowhere near the training, equipment, or popular support that Al Qadia and the Vietcong had. Executive Options, a mercenary company, managed to easily defeat a similar group in a manner of months (well, almost. They had the rebels on the point of surrendering when a UN mandate made EO leave, and war dragged on in Sierra Leon for a while afterwards, if I remember correctly).
  13. Darth Geist Force Ghost

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    Time to fight the good fight again. I approve.
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I agree, Ace. The SF "advisory" (which is more or less what they played in the first few months in Afghanistan) role is honestly one of the most indirectly lethal roles any force of soldiers can play; the estimate I've seen for Taliban deaths in the first three to six months was around thirty thousand enemy killed. If SF plays the same role (hanging back and directing airstrikes in support of Ugandan/African Union forces) in here, the LRA is going to get massacred.
  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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    Are they actually going so far as to use airstrikes against the LRA? I thought this was going to be mostly a ground operation.
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    The potential is there; AFRICOM is already running airstrikes (both manned and unmanned) against Al-Shahaab in Somalia and AQAP in Yemen.
  17. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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    Hmm, is it really necessary to use airpower though? I can see why it might be a useful tool, but to the world the sight of airplanes dropping bombs could represent a serious escalation in a way that soldiers using guns wouldn't.
  18. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I'd suggest that it is actually the reverse. Soldiers with guns were the norm for the Bush years, but prior to that the primary tools of American military diplomacy were air strikes and (especially with Clinton) cruise missiles. Soldiers with guns was a political hot topic for both Gulf War I and Bosnia/Kosovo; aircraft and ships were deemed much less invasive, for fairly obvious reasons-a carrier group, or even several carrier groups, can literally leave the very next day if necessary; much beyond a few hundred soldiers is a much more continual presence as they cannot leave easily. Look at how the CIA Predator strikes in Somalia and Pakistan are handled; it's practically a news item about as exciting as reporting the weather for the next day.

    Soldiers are the escalation, not aircraft.

  19. Ghost Chosen One

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    I agree that the Arab Spring is not a threat to the United States (unlike what some Republicans think...), but I still see Syria-Iran-Pakistan as the biggest remaining "problem-countries" for the United States in the Muslim world (which here I basically mean the Arab world, plus Iran and Afghanistan and Pakistan, minus North Africa).
    *Iran for its negative influence on the region, particularly Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.
    *Syria for being the main ally of Iran, and now for massacring its own people and setting off a potential regional crisis.
    *As for Pakistan, it's obvious why that's a "problem-country," despite nominally being a US ally.

    Once those situations are resolved, along with negotiated peace between Israel/Palestine as well as a greater respect for human rights and economic fairness in Saudi Arabia, we will finally be able to withdraw our focus from that messy region. (And just wanted to note, the West Bank is not controlled by an extemist minority).

    The region will still be unstable, but once those 5 situations are resolved we'll have come a long way. The region will no longer require our military's attention and overall foreign policy's attention as much as it has since 9/11 (at least). Isn't it great to have a number for the big problems in the Muslim world, and for that number to be as low as 5?



    So, what will we do, where will we refocus, as the number of problems requiring our attention in the Muslim World continues to gradually decrease?


    *Pacific Region (East Asia, Australia, Indonesia, Oceania)... this is an optimistic region to focus on, a focus that will not bring wars but treaties and alliances and free trade zones. There's a small possibility of China becoming a threat, but it's unlikely, there's just some concern about competition in the South China Sea, and I have faith that China will be humbled and begin a transition to democracy. There is only one "problem-country" in this region, North Korea, but it's sufficiently isolated and contained, and we could counter the North Koreans if the war ever reignited. There's progress on Burma/Myanmar. We're becoming closer with Vietnam. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Phillipines aren't perfect but there's not big foreign policy concerns there. Japan and South Korea are still close allies, so are Australia and New Zealand, and we have numerous allies scattered across the Pacific Islands. It would be so refreshing to have our foreign policy refocused on the Pacific region.

    *Latin America and Canada... this is a region that has been severely overlooked, almost taken for granted that we have a largely peaceful and stable neighborhood. It w
  20. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I don't see an issue with us getting "dragged in", personally; I mean, Obama has done nothing but widen the war on terror despite troop draw-downs, mainly through asymmetric means like Special Operations forces and the CIA, and it's garnered very little public attention. I don't think most Americans are aware that we even have an Africa Command.

    Also, I feel that our title of 'leader of the free world' isn't just something cute or that we're just owed just because, like the Republican Party seems to think; "leader", to my mind, doesn't mean getting involved solely when it's in our best interest. That was my rationale for staying in Iraq-if you're supposed to be a country that leads, you can't just stop and leave people to suffer just because it's not fun or beneficial for your country-and I think that selfless action is about the best thing the United States can do today.

    Africa and the Pacific Rim are my two main focuses right now; there's a reason that China has garbage relations with most of its neighbors, and that's because those neighbors do not trust them. China has been nothing but antagonistic to the majority of the Pacific Rim, and has generally played a less-than-admirable role elsewhere-helping Pakistan build nuclear weapons and so on. Theirs has not been a peaceful rise to eminence, like Japan was; it's been almost inherently militaristic and aggressive, and that's a major cause for concern. I don't think a war with them is especially likely either because the main reasons for China to go to war (hint: not Taiwan) would almost certainly drag in Russia and Europe, but keeping China on the track to be an economic superpower like Japan seems like the best course of action for everyone involved.

    North Korea, to my mind, is irrelevant; yes they have nukes, but they don't have any ability to actually deliver those weapons. And South Korea outspends them 3 to 1 on defense anyway, and is vastly more technologically advanced and far better trained.

    Mexico-I think that's mainly a hype issue and one that should be left largely to Mexico-in terms of the military aspect anyway. Any sort of major American military operation in Northern Mexico would probably dredge up alot of ugly feelings. Economic aid should be our main priority there.

    Pakistan is probably the biggest potential nightmare right now. Remember all those crappy 1990s movies about terrorists getting ahold of a nuclear weapon? Yeah. They're horribly unstable and have a paranoiac view of their neighbors that makes North Korea look sane; their foreign policies ultimately lead to domestic instability.

  21. Ghost Chosen One

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    I don't see an issue with us getting "dragged in", personally; I mean, Obama has done nothing but widen the war on terror despite troop draw-downs, mainly through asymmetric means like Special Operations forces and the CIA, and it's garnered very little public attention. I don't think most Americans are aware that we even have an Africa Command.


    Yeah, I've heard reports that we were getting more involved all over Africa. Not only Libya, Somalia, and fighting the LRA in Uganda. That's what I'm a bit worried about. I know Bush established a presence in the Sahara states, but Obama really seems to have expanded the covert operations there.




    Also, I feel that our title of 'leader of the free world' isn't just something cute or that we're just owed just because, like the Republican Party seems to think; "leader", to my mind, doesn't mean getting involved solely when it's in our best interest. That was my rationale for staying in Iraq-if you're supposed to be a country that leads, you can't just stop and leave people to suffer just because it's not fun or beneficial for your country-and I think that selfless action is about the best thing the United States can do today.


    I agree, that's why I supported intervention in Libya and now support intervention in Syria (although I think Syria is definitely in our interest).

    But there is the concern that we might literally overstretch and overspend ourselves, and the even greater threat of popular backlash and the lack of will to get involved in so many messy conflicts.




    Africa and the Pacific Rim are my two main focuses right now; there's a reason that China has garbage relations with most of its neighbors, and that's because those neighbors do not trust them. China has been nothing but antagonistic to the majority of the Pacific Rim, and has generally played a less-than-admirable role elsewhere-helping Pakistan build nuclear weapons and so on. Theirs has not been a peaceful rise to eminence, like Japan was; it's been almost inherently militaristic and aggressive, and that's a major cause for concern. I don't think a war with them is especially likely either because the main reasons for China to go to war (hint: not Taiwan) would almost certainly drag in Russia and Europe, but keeping China on the track to be an economic superpower like Japan seems like the best course of action for everyone involved.


    It's not been as peaceful as Japan's in the latter 20th century (I assume you're not talking about Japan in the 30's and 40's here :p ), but it doesn't seem to overtly aggressive. With the big exception being the South China Sea. But you're right that their neighbors absolutely do not trust the Chinese, as Obama's recent Pacific trip showed.

    Are you talking about Central Asia and the Caspian? Or Eastern Siberia?




    North Korea, to my mind, is irrelevant; yes they have nukes, but they don't have any ability to actually deliver those weapons. And South Korea outspends them 3 to 1 on defense anyway, and is vastly more technologically advanced and far better trained.

    Mexico-I think that's mainly a hype issue and one that should be left largely to Mexico-in terms of the military aspect anyway. Any sort of major American military operation in Northern Mexico would probably dredge up alot of ugly feelings. Economic aid should be our main priority there.


    Agreed on North Korea. I still label it as a "problem-country," someone to watch out for due to their occassional hostility, instablity, and oppression, but they are very isolated and only a major threat to South Korea (and potentially China, if there's a refugee crisis).

    I don't think Mexico's drug violence is a huge problem either, but it is a problem that we should help them solve, working with their government by not only coordinating action to take down the cartels but also helping their economic development. I don't think we'll be able to spend too much on Mexico until our own economy recover
  22. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I agree, that's why I supported intervention in Libya and now support intervention in Syria (although I think Syria is definitely in our interest).

    But there is the concern that we might literally overstretch and overspend ourselves, and the even greater threat of popular backlash and the lack of will to get involved in so many messy conflicts.

    FWIW, as long as Presidents stick with SOF and the CIA and State Department, we will never overspend ourselves. Special Operations Command runs on about 7 billion a year with a continual presence in something like 150 countries; the CIA and State Department also run on similarly miniscule amounts of money and can achieve results far beyond what their budgets would suggest.

    It's not been as peaceful as Japan's in the latter 20th century (I assume you're not talking about Japan in the 30's and 40's here ), but it doesn't seem to overtly aggressive. With the big exception being the South China Sea. But you're right that their neighbors absolutely do not trust the Chinese, as Obama's recent Pacific trip showed.

    Are you talking about Central Asia and the Caspian? Or Eastern Siberia?

    Given China's ever-increasing energy requirements, potentially both. Their military doctrine for the Western Pacific, which basically is designed to create a huge maritime exclusion zone running from Japan down to the South China Sea, doesn't make a whole lot of strategic sense when viewed by itself; it's basically grabbing vast amounts of empty Pacific Ocean to keep the USN from approaching to within striking distance. But when you consider that some of the most resource-laden land on Earth is located to China's east, where they already have defensive depth because of the immense size of Siberia, it suddenly makes a great deal of very worrying sense. It keeps the USN at arms length, while NATO and the US Army has to get across all of Western Siberia to respond to a land grab. It doesn't help with the potential for Atlantic Fleet units to launch long-range strikes from the Indian Ocean, or the USAF flying over the North Pole, but just it's existence is really terrifying; as I've posted before, Europe depends on Russian oil, and if China were to endanger that, you'd frankly be looking at a third world war with Russia and NATO vs. China, with the very likely possibility of nukes flying from ourselves, England, France, Russia, and the PRC itself.

    Chinese Maritime Exclusion Zone

    [image=http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/329/1031/320/Document5_Page_1_Image_0001.1.jpg]


    On Africa, which countries do you think we should get more involved in? What would be your strategy for Africa, if we were to refocus there?

    On Africa, I'm like you with Pakistan: Not even sure where to begin. Even countries like South Africa, which has typically been pretty stable and a regional power, seem to be going downhill now. There's countries there that aren't too bad, but like you said, those are the ones that just experienced revolutions. The main thing seems to be that very few people in government there understand the concept of accountability and are basically out for themselves. Short of supporting internal revolutions or launching some sort of damn-fool idealistic crusade, I can't see how we can do much besides set the example to be followed. I suppose exterminating the LRA is a good place to begin, along with the early-2000s establishment of Africa Command; we'll see what's possible beyond that, I guess.

    On Pakistan, I tend to feel we missed a major opportunity in 2001 by not invading Pakistan and Afghanistan simultaneously (and leaving Iraq off the table.) Pakistan has been at the root of our problems in the ME for years now and the ISI's support of the Taliban and AQ is the main reason 9/11 even happened.

    Edit: Japan in the 1930s and 40s wasn't a world power. It was a regional power, and a pretty strong one, but they never had a serious chance of standing toe to toe with us. They're vastly more significant
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  23. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

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    Japan pretty much became a world power after the victory in the Russo-Japanese 1904-05 war. In the Second World War it was as much a World Power as Germany was. Just look at how great an area the Japanese military forces operated in during the war.

    China is trying to claim the supposed rich resources in the South China Sea, in the Spratly Islands. They are much clamoured about, but nothing has really emerged after decades of claims about what the seabed holds there. Does it really matter to US who gets that collection of atolls and reefs, as even if they all would go to China, it probably wouldn't have any economical difference to US at all even if there would be untold riches there?

    I don't think it's US' business overall to oppose China's rise, as that story can end only unhappily, especially for US. And what, in the end, can US do? Tajikistan's government signed off a sizable chunk of it's eastern border region to China in exchange of increased Chinese investment to it's economy, and what can US actually do from stopping these kind of deals, where China gets 1000 square kilometers of land in the Pamir mountains? Nothing that wouldn't quickly hurt the US economy.

    The best US might do could be to come up with an orderly hand-over of regional hegemonic power to China in the western Pacific. Accept the inevitable instead of fighting against it.
  24. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Japan pretty much became a world power after the victory in the Russo-Japanese 1904-05 war. In the Second World War it was as much a World Power as Germany was. Just look at how great an area the Japanese military forces operated in during the war.

    Wrong; the Japanese stuck specifically to Asia, and more importantly, didn't have the industrial or resource base to gut it out for an extended war-that was the whole reasoning behind their invasions of the South China Sea nations and China. They were a regional power attempting to become a genuine world power. Now they're a world power through economics.


    China is trying to claim the supposed rich resources in the South China Sea, in the Spratly Islands. They are much clamoured about, but nothing has really emerged after decades of claims about what the seabed holds there. Does it really matter to US who gets that collection of atolls and reefs, as even if they all would go to China, it probably wouldn't have any economical difference to US at all even if there would be untold riches there?

    Given as the US is the guarantor of peace in the South China Sea in particular and the Pacific Rim in general, yes absolutely it matters. Security ensured by the USN is one of the principles behind Asia's economic strength and nobody outside of China wants that to change.

    I don't think it's US' business overall to oppose China's rise, as that story can end only unhappily, especially for US. And what, in the end, can US do? Tajikistan's government signed off a sizable chunk of it's eastern border region to China in exchange of increased Chinese investment to it's economy, and what can US actually do from stopping these kind of deals, where China gets 1000 square kilometers of land in the Pamir mountains? Nothing that wouldn't quickly hurt the US economy.

    That's wholly different to what Ghost and I are discussing. There's nothing wrong with China being an economic power; what the US and PacRim countries want to see is that it gets there peacefully.

    The best US might do could be to come up with an orderly hand-over of regional hegemonic power to China in the western Pacific. Accept the inevitable instead of fighting against it.

    Except that nobody in the PacRim wants this to happen outside of China. If China wants to join the World Power club, that is fine, but it must do so peacefully, and without veiled hints of conquering its neighbors.
  25. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

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    I wouldn't say that Japan is a world power now, not even economically anymore. The Japanese certainly could fight an extended war, as they fought eight years continuously from 1937 onwards. Claiming that they weren't a World Power is like claiming that the US wasn't one because of it's isolationism between the wars and deliberately limiting it's empire building then in the close regions of Caribbean and Central America.

    US has done zilch to guarantee peace in the area. First it killed and helped to kill millions, afterwards it hasn't stopped a single war, just at worst poured more gasoline in the flames like when it supported the Khmer Rouge in the 1980s. When Cambodia and Thailand have been fighting over the strategically placed border temples, mainly as a result of internal Thai politics, what has US done? Piously asked for constraint on both sides and that's it.

    Yeah, but China wants to be a political power too and that's what US really can't seem to be able to accept. Yet political and economic power tend to usually go hand in hand. You can't really expect China, especially in the atmosphere of rising Han Chinese nationalism, to accept to be politically and militarily castrated, to be another Japan and play a second role to a weakening US in the area.

    China hasn't conquered a neighbour since Tibet in 1950 (if we accept, like I do, that Tibet was an independent nation before that) and is extremely unlikely to do so in anytime in the future. The closer it's neighbours become to China economically, the greater havoc any military action against them would cause for China's own economy. China's rulers, in the end, are after stable growth, and if China would be fighting it's neighbours militarily, then that stability and growth that lead to internal peace and continuation of the current rule would go out of the window.