Thursday, October 27, 2011

More U.S. ‘Humanitarian’ War in Africa? No!…

Sending Troops to Uganda?

Photo: Terrorist of the ‘Lord’s Army’

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
NNPA Columnist,
via Progressive America Rising

(NNPA Oct 27, 2011) Reports that the Obama administration is planning on sending U.S. troops to Uganda to hunt down the so-called Lord's Resistance Army sent chills up my spine. The Lord's Resistance Army, a group of maniacal terrorists running around Uganda for years, has been a major thorn in the side of the people of Uganda. Their atrocities are countless and it is in every one's interests that they are destroyed. That said, I ask myself, why is the U.S.A. sending troops there?

If the Obama administration wants to help Uganda defeat the LRA, they should limit themselves to advising and training Ugandans to fight their own war. Better yet, they should support the African Union in carrying out a coordinated, multi-country assault on the LRA (since the LRA crosses borders, including back and forth to what is now the South Sudan). They could also supply Uganda other forms of assistance to help the areas that are blighted by the LRA. But sending U.S. troops to Uganda starts to feel like an old film we have all seen, i.e., Vietnam.

Once U.S. troops are on the ground in Uganda, it almost automatically changes the dynamics of a struggle. The LRA, as terrorist as they are, can claim, much as the Al Shabab terrorists in Somalia, that they are fighting not just the Ugandan government (in this case) but the U.S. government and its intervention. As we witnessed in Somalia, when Ethiopia invaded with the active support of the U.S.A. in 2006 in order to crush the Union of Islamic Courts (a conservative Islamist force that had stabilized the situation in part of Somalia), this inflamed the situation even more. Instead of crushing Islamists, the Ethiopian/U.S. invasion provoked the growth of dangerous terrorists and warlords, a fact that author Jeremy Scahill has recently documented in The Nation. A similar danger could await the U.S.A. through the deployment of troops to Uganda. While it is only alleged to be 100 troops, as we know from previous U.S. interventions, there is no reason to believe that the intervention will stop there, particularly if there are U.S. casualties. Therefore, as the intervention grows, the battle cry against the U.S.A. will grow and with it the very real possibility of a prolonged engagement in Uganda.

The Obama administration needs to rescind it proposed deployment. It should support the African Union and other forces who wish to crush the LRA. But U.S. troops on the ground needs to be out of the question. Given the disasters in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, enough is enough.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and the co-author of Solidarity Divided. He can be reached at .

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Out of Iraq! Next, Afghanistan…

Iraq: After Nearly Nine Years of War and

Occupation, America to Withdraw All Troops

By Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via The Nation

Oct 19, 2011 - In a stunning and largely unexpected victory for the American peace movement and Iraqi opponents of the US occupation, virtually all US troops will withdraw from Iraq as scheduled by this December 31.

First reported by the Associated Press on October 16, the US pullout will allow President Obama to keep an important promise, and the Iraqi government to defend its sovereign power.

Remaining behind in Baghdad, however, will be the world’s largest US Embassy, the size of eighty football fields, with some 5,000 staff, including private contractors. There may be some 160 active-duty US soldiers attached to the embassy, according to the AP story. Thousands more US troops will likely be redeployed over the border to Kuwait.

According to the AP account, the Iraqis rejected intense Pentagon lobbying to retain a “residual” force of thousands of US troops. Earlier this year, the Pentagon was insisting on 10,000–15,000 troops at a minimum, a number that was slashed to a slender 3,000–4,000 troop proposal by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta a few weeks ago.

The main sticking point was the US demand for immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for American troops. The Iraqi Parliament rejected immunity, citing memories of torture at Abu Ghraib and reckless shootings of civilians by American contractors during the conflict.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Afghanistan: 10 Years and No Ending


Afghanistan War News Digest,

October 11, 2011

Beaver County Peace Links via UFPJ

As the war in Afghanistan enters its second decade, one theme of recent news coverage has been that the situation there has not improved overall in the past 10 years. There have been reports of increased opium demand and production, high rates of maternal mortality, and continuing disputes over parliamentary election results. One particularly disturbing report has been the UN’s investigation revealing systematic torture among Afghan security and police officials; the US involvement in these incidents was not officially looked into, but is inconclusive and the subject of debates. Finally, there were several reminders of the fact that the US has been at war with Afghanistan for 10 years.

U.N. Finds ‘Systematic’ Torture in Afghanistan A detailed UN report found systematic torture by Afghan intelligence and police officials. The report did not assess the level of US military involvement or knowledge in these abuses, but questions have been raised about US support for Afghan intelligence and police forces.

Opium Surges in Afghanistan According to the UN, opium production surged 61% in Afghanistan in 2011. This is due to rising demand and worsening security.

Abducted aid workers freed in Afghanistan