Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 15, 2011

Those Who Cannot Remember The Past Are Condemned To Repeat It

Isn`t there anyone remembering the impossibleness of successful jungle warfare against local guerrilla?

In a letter to Congress announcing the deployment, President Barack Obama said that up to 100 U.S. special-operations trainers and military advisers would assist African forces in their search for Joseph Kony, the fugitive head of the Lord's Resistance Army.
U.S. to Pursue African Rebels


May 1961 - President Kennedy sends 400 American Green Beret 'Special Advisors' to South Vietnam to train South Vietnamese soldiers in methods of 'counter-insurgency' in the fight against Viet Cong guerrillas.
America Commits 1961 - 1964

Update (2:15pm):

The media make this a Lord's Resistance Army/Joseph Kony "bad guy" - Ugandan government "good folks" show which is, unsurprisingly, a very skewed view of a long ranging ethnic and civil war. Short version: After Idi Amin was finally out the first governments, somewhat elected, were mostly ethnic Luo from the Achoi and Langi people in north Uganda. The ethnic Bantu from south Uganda had some problems with that and in 1986 the today still reigning dictator Museveni overthrew the government. Since then the Lord's Resistance Army acted as a northern resistance against the government. It has support from the northern population which resulted in the government's tactic to put most Achoi into concentration camps know for very high death rates.

The above is very simplified and others will certainly know much more about the detailed background than I do. But the point is that "good" and "bad" is a concept that doesn't work well in usually very complex ethnic conflicts as the one in Uganda. A solution there as for many other conflicts in Africa may be a realignment of the arbitrary borders the colonial overlords established along major ethnic (and language) lines.

As for human rights and the alleged brutality of the Lord's Resistance Army, well, Human Rights Watch says the Ugandan army is just as bad.

Posted by b on October 15, 2011 at 5:14 UTC | Permalink


It is all futile long term anyway. Short term fewer people die if you do not fight.
Vietnam's heroic guerilla fight brought it to this point today
whilst Thailand is here
the GINI index of both is pretty bad compared to Europe, similar to the US and China

From the 21st century imperialist point of view fighting is costly and futile, too:
Western oil companies need Chinese sponsors to do business with Iraq, because their countries are unacceptable as customers to the public, watch the video to the end for this revelation

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15 2011 11:44 utc | 1

When I saw this news yesterday I had all the usual questions: "Why? Are we truly going to be the world cop and go around taking out every bad guy?"

"Why now? This has been going on for a long time - is there something now more urgent?"

"Why the U.S.? Isn't this what the African Union forces are for?"

"No UN figleaf to give this operation some legitimacy?"

Some guesses about the motives:

1. Use this as a wedge to set up an Africom headquarters?
2. Access to Sudan and its resources?
3. Compete for influence with China?
4. Another base from which to attack and manipulate Somalia?

It is a disturbing, depressing development whatever the real motives.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Oct 15 2011 11:50 utc | 2

Especially when the past was so profitable.....hell yeah, you're going to repeat it.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Oct 15 2011 12:57 utc | 3

maxcrat, I think, this can only be analyzed in psychological terms
it is probably vacuum or displacement activity faced with the prospect of going to war with Iran or not.

Libya was extremely foolish, this is the next stupid act

Looks like the French have armed their enemies.

Yes war profiteers win both ways, but they are a minority. everybody else looses.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15 2011 13:18 utc | 4

everybody else looses.

That's precisely the point. Only a handful make out at the expense of everyone else. That's Civilization, and until it's replaced with another way of co-existing with one another and the rest of the planet and universe, it's what we'll get, because that is the System. You don't reform that. You don't make excuses for it. You don't get trapped and mired in its complexity. You evolve away from it, or you ultimately perish.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Oct 15 2011 14:21 utc | 5

public announcements like this cover operations already in progress that will eventually draw media attention at some point, esp considering uganda's burgeoning oil industry. considering the last u.s. effort to kill kony failed so spectacularly, the military is re-adapting its existing policies of majority reliance on proxy, surrogate & merc forces in pursuing its own interests across africa. whereas only a handful of boots on the ground to assist in operations is proving ineffective in realizing larger objectives (namely resource "stabilization" and/or removal of resistance to political and commercial designs), utilization of more boots on the ground in actual fighting capacity appears to be the future. this correlates w/ africom getting a boot-in-the-door and the inevitable scope/mission creep that inevitably follows. for instance, as i said in another thread, don't be surprised to see u.s. boots on the ground waging battle in somalia.

here is an excerpt from an august interview w/ africom's war pig

daily monitor:

After the passage of counter LRA legislation by the US Congress, the US has been helping UPDF with intelligence information regarding the whereabouts of Joseph Kony. How far have you gone with the hunt for Kony?

It’s not going as well as we hope it should be. There are some small successes but there are also some setbacks. So we have a lot of work yet to do in this regard. As you know, this is a hunt for one man with a small number of his followers in a very extensive geographic area. So it’s kind of tough.

It requires very precise information which can be provided by people from his area of operation or from his camp. Ugandans, the Congolese and others may be able to capture him, though the process may be longer than we may want. The US is committed to this because of the horrific atrocities Kony and his groups have committed.

I am encouraged by the commitment of Uganda and Congo to end this. The US role is to be supportive to the three primary countries involved in this and will facilitate the sharing of information by the parties. The USA will not have a leading role on the ground. Uganda, DRC, CAR and South Sudan have recognised that USA will support them to do this.

We have been training a battalion in Eastern Congo for this. It’s a very important mission for us. But we see the US doing a supporting role than a leading role. In my personal view, Kony cannot be brought to justice faster enough.

If anybody had a doubt that there is a real evil in our world, all they have to do is to look at what Joseph Kony has done and they will find out that evil exists in the name of Joseph Kony. The most important thing is that Kony has to be stopped. The preferred way to do this is to capture him and bring him to justice. There are those who would say that he should be killed. In my view he should be captured and be brought to justice but, if in the pursuit of that he is killed, I am not one who would shed many tears.

maybe 1,000 villagers were killed in the 2009 campaign - expect a higher body count from this next one

Posted by: b real | Oct 15 2011 17:15 utc | 6

near to 20 percent of US Americans say they cannot afford enough food ...

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15 2011 20:13 utc | 7

Rosebell Kagumire is a Ugandan journalist and provides good commentary in her blog. She has posted Obama’s troops in Central Africa to fight LRA; will they deliver? which includes:

Many Ugandans, through various social networks, have expressed skepticism over the 100 combat troops the US deployed to Uganda

The CAR government in December 2010 had asked the UPDF to leave but they are still present in one area. A friend who works in CAR once told me that when they were asking CAR civilians which militia groups are involved in the conflict, some wrote UPDF. This is because the ordinary people on the ground just see people in UPDF uniforms and have no clue who they are and what they are there to do.

The DRC government asked UPDF to leave, at first by May this year but later asked for a calendar showing their withdrawal. I have not heard of the details of this withdraw plan. In some incidents the Congolese Army, which has its own structural problems had clashes with UPDF in DRC which were largely unreported in the media.

One UPDF soldier who has been based in CAR told me early this year that fighting LRA was very difficult because “you have to do surveillance on a jungle bigger than the size of Uganda.”

A researcher in one of the few agencies that still work in Dungu told me that because of the wide area of operation of LRA we must recognize that “military intelligence is more important that military power. Aerial surveillance and ‘human’ intelligence is crucial” if LRA is to be dealt with. And as far we have seen over the years all the four government involved in the fight for LRA have not shown us they are capable of doing the needed surveillance work.

So the question is will this US deployment deliver?

What can 100 combat troops do? Will they deliver several other botched attacks or will they help end the conflict? Well at the end of the day, regional governments must be more willing and give LRA more attention than they have done in the last three years. DRC, South Sudan and CAR must work faster to pacify the lawless regions that have made it easy for LRA to operate for this long. Also the past has shown that focusing only on military intervention will not easily bring back rebels who were forced to carry out all these crimes in the first place.

Those who worry about foreign intervention must equally worry about the deaths and human rights violations that millions of people in the three countries face daily.

The worry is not that the Americans are here -because they have been here for some time. The question is, are they capable of delivering in a short time without staying in the region too long. If the American forces stay in the region too long this will have implications as the suspicions about their interest in oil in Uganda, South Sudan and DRC is already ripe.

Posted by: xcroc | Oct 17 2011 2:58 utc | 8

The US cannot admit to mismanagement, cannot acknowledge it is a third world country, cannot understand that killing off the natives leads to unproductive more of the same, must maintain its military dominance to defend the dollar and so on (even at the expense of its own ppl), is committed to maintaining the status quo at any cost. That frightens everybody else and works for a while.

A dystopian world run by goons in full combat gear with modern matériel is an illusion. Holding Atomic power .... not so much.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 18 2011 14:23 utc | 9

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