President Obama told Speaker of the House John Boehner in a letter on Friday that he has deployed U.S. military troops to central Africa to help in the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army. If all goes well, however, an American soldier won't have to fire one shot.
The president opens the letter to Boehner by addressing the fact that, over the last 20 years, the LRA has terrorized central Africa by killing, kidnapping and raping civilians of all ages.
He says the actions of the LRA have had a “disproportionate impact on regional security,” and later adds that the move to send troops there “is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”
The U.S. military personnel were deployed to help regional opponents remove the LRA's leader, Joseph Kony, and other top leaders from their posts.
The president’s letter says that on Wednesday, Oct. 12, a U.S. military team armed with “appropriate combat equipment” deployed to Uganda. A second combat-equipped team will be deployed in the next month along with “headquarters, communications, and logistics personnel.”
Approximately 100 troops in all are to be sent to central Africa, and, following the approval of each nation, will deploy in the nations of Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to the president, the combat-ready troops will only be armed as a precaution, and will not fire a shot unless it is out of self-defense. Their goal will be to serve as a support team, providing advice and information to the other nations that could help them in the fight against LRA rebels.
According to globalsecurity.org, Kony started the LRA, previously the Uganda Christian Democratic Army, believing that he was a prophet from God who would “purify the people of Uganda” to create peace. His focus was on overthrowing the Ugandan government, but the violent movement has since expanded to other nations as well.
The violence that occurs in the region recently received some attention from Hollywood with the release of the film “Machine Gun Preacher,” starring Gerard Butler. The film is based on the true story of Sam Childers, who has killed LRA soldiers in order to protect African children and bring them back to the orphanage belonging to his ministry, Angels of East Africa.
Childers, a heroin-addict-turned-Christian-missionary, told The Christian Post in 2009, “You know, all my life it seemed like I’m a fighter and it seemed like I was always fighting a war for someone ... Now I’m fighting for the children in Sudan.”