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Did Obama Make the Right Call on Kony?

Author: Kate Collins
October 14, 2011
Council on Foreign Relations


This is a guest post by Kate Collins on the blog, "The Water's Edge."

President Obama's decision to send up to a hundred U.S. troops to several countries in Central Africa isn't likely to be popular here at home. With U.S. troops still fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, seven in ten Americans say that the United States is involved in too many conflicts abroad. Nonetheless, it's hard to disagree with Obama's argument that Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army needs to go—and soon.

The LRA has been wreaking havoc on Uganda since 1987. The rebel group, which originated in the northern part of the country, hopes to overthrow the government in Kampala and create a state based on the Ten Commandments. Over time the Ugandan army, with assistance from the United States, succeeded in beating back Kony's fighters. Unfortunately, the result was that the LRA dispersed into the neighboring countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and what is now South Sudan.

The LRA has now murdered more than 30,000 people and displaced another two million. It has abducted more than 100,000 children, indoctrinating them with the belief that Kony speaks the word of God and drugging them to fight without fear. For these crimes and more, Kony and his senior aides have been living under the threat of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant since 2005.

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