Enough’s Hypocrisy And War Designs On Uganda

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When Uganda last launched such an attack, with U.S. support under George W. Bush, in December 2008, it failed to capture the LRA leader Joseph Kony or neutralize his forces. Instead, it provoked reported LRA retaliatory attacks against civilians in Congo's Garamba province.

[Publisher’s Commentary]

Some so-called American "peace" organizations seem oblivious to the fact that the warfare they are now advocating may cause more innocent blood to be spilled in the northern part of Uganda.

They have gathered activists, celebrities, academics and politicians from all over the world for what's been billed as "Lobby Days," June 22-23, in Washington, D.C., with the objective to pressure U.S. lawmakers into backing military attacks to deal once and for all a mortal blow to the "one man" who is holding the entire Central Africa region "hostage."

That one man is supposedly Joseph Kony.

This is of course Hollywood fantasy and was also done as a public relations ploy to deflect attention from the “second man,” who is actually responsible for more genocide in Central Africa –in Rwanda, in eastern Congo, and in the concentration camps in Acholi—and that second man is Yoweri Museveni.

This ploy must be vigorously opposed because often times American foreign policy has indeed operated in Hollywood fashion.  If any one doubts these words, just look at the layout and the colors of Resolve’s website and the lineup of some of the speakers.

Please see http://www.resolveuganda.org/

That’s what often happens when idealistic Americans, starving for a cause, stumble blindly and rather than doing good, may cause more harm, especially when some of the leaders have their own not-so-hidden agendas.

The Hollywood strategists are about to do to Uganda what they did to the Sudan; glamorize the conflict to attract celebrities and thereby drown the issues except the ones they want to highlight.

It is hardly just Kony.

Many people and organizations actually benefit and profit from the wars in Central Africa, especially Uganda's 23 years war: These include some of the main combatants,  the army of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of Kony; the arms suppliers;  Western oil and mining companies; Western politicians and the African ones in their pockets; and, the NGOs.

As always, the victims are Uganda's and Central Africa’s civilians.

So what is the Solution?

According to Resolve and Enough! it’s to increase the military attacks that will result in Kony’s demise; and then the celestial choirs will sing and peace will prevail.  Resolve and Enough! have even recruited two American senators to lead their reckless and irresponsible cause.

Resolve and Enough! are trying to sell warfare by lobbying for the passage of a Bill sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold and Sam Brownback, that asks for the United States’ military to join Uganda's army --which is being investigated for war crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo when Uganda occupied eastern Congo from 1997 to 2003-- when and if it next launches an attack against the Lord's Resistance Army.

Well, rather than be persuaded by the glitzy presentations and the line up of beautiful celebrities –President Barack Obama, who is one of the most intellectually sober leaders in the world, should not fall for it – let’s examine the facts.

When Uganda last launched such an attack, with U.S. support under George W. Bush, in December 2008, it failed to capture the LRA leader Joseph Kony or neutralize his forces. Instead, it provoked reported LRA retaliatory attacks against civilians in Congo's Garamba province.

The Museveni and George Bush attack also scuttled peace negotiations that had been going on between Museveni's and Kony's forces for more than two years during which there had been no fighting. The open question is whether it is Kony or Museveni  that genuinely fears comprehensive peace.

After all, Kony would merely have to demobilize an army estimated at less than 1,000; what would Museveni do with his huge army and arsenal of weapons?

So, do Senators Feingold and Brownback have the complete picture? Or just the picture they want or were supplied?

Never mind that the Bill they’re sponsoring, if approved as it now reads, would align the United States with an army some of whose officers, including the commander in chief Museveni, could be indicted by the ICC on the war crimes charges. The Wall Street Journal exclusively reported that such an investigation had been initiated in a front page story on June 8, 2006. Museveni had reportedly urged then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to block the probe, without success.

Never mind that the Leahy Amendment  precludes U.S. military assistance to Uganda's army –and that President Bush and Bill Clinton before him might have been in violation— not only because of the alleged war crimes being investigated by the ICC, but also because Uganda's army engages in torture, as comprehensively exposed in an April 2009 report by Human Rights Watch.

The chilling 89-page report that describes some of the most fiendish torture, "Open Secret: Illegal Detention and Torture by the Joint Anti-terrorism Task Force in Uganda," is available on
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/04/08/uganda-end-torture-anti-terror-unit

Did Resolve and Enough! not make Senators Feingold and Brownback aware of this report?

The official host of Lobby Days is Resolve, which was once operated by young and idealistic Americans who seemed to want to help highlight the atrocities in Uganda, but who have now lost their way by aligning so closely with the Museveni regime.

Yet, the main organization that has been drumming for war is Enough! On its website, this organization which claims it aims to fight genocide and crimes against humanity, advocates for the exact opposite with respect to Uganda.

The December attacks did not succeed because the Ugandan military, the same one being investigated on war crimes allegations by the ICC,  was not competent , Enough! maintains. This time, with U.S.  involvement, civilian casualties would be limited so it's worth another try, Enough! argues.

Please see http://www.enoughproject.org/

From where Enough! garners this confidence is not clear.

The country sides in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are littered with the graveyards of civilians that are "collateral" damage in the U.S.'s "war on terror." In fact, so high are civilian deaths in Afghanistan now that General Stanley A. McChrystal, the U.S. commander there has said it could undermine the U.S. effort there.

Uganda and Central Africa does not need any of this type of "precision" attacks. The “smart bombs” aren’t that smart.  Anyone advocating expansion of military theater anywhere in Africa has evil intentions.

What makes Enough!'s propaganda most galling is that its leaders speak from both sides of the mouth.  They’re even bold enough to leave the evidence on their website, thinking everyone can be fooled all the time.

Enough! is a unit of an outfit called "Center For American Progress" which sponsors Enough!  and is headed by John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. Recall that it was during the Clinton Administration that Uganda was allowed to invade what was then Zaire (now DR Congo) and occupy the mineral rich region and loot resources from there, hand in hand with Western companies some of which were later identified in a United Nations report. It was during this occupation that seven million Congolese perished in a genocide Western newspapers downplay since their governments --especially the U.S. and U.K.-- were clearly complicit by backing Uganda.

Of course Enough! and the Center For American Progress know about the Leahy Amendment. Why it’s mentioned right there on the Center For American Progress’s website on www.americanprogress.org

An article dated March 24, 2008, under the headline "Seek Enforcement of the Leahy Amendment,"  reads: “ The federal government should cut off unconditional U.S. support for Iraq’s national security forces. Congress should stop training Iraqi national forces and seek enforcement of the Leahy Amendment. The Leahy Amendment, first introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) as an amendment to the 1997 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, prohibits U.S. security assistance to foreign military or security units ‘against whom exist credible allegations of gross violations of human rights.’ Since 1997, Congress has continued these restrictions on such assistance in amendments to the Foreign Operations and Defense Appropriations Acts, which permits the Secretary of Defense to waive the restriction on assistance if ‘extraordinary circumstances’ require assistance to continue to units credibly believed to have engaged in gross violations of human rights. Since 2003, the Bush administration has refused to apply the provisions of the Leahy Amendment to U.S. security assistance to Iraqi units."

So it’s all well to invoke the Leahy Amendment when it came to Iraq but the U.S. should continue financing a Ugandan army that engages in torture and which is being investigated on war crimes allegations by the ICC?

Senators Feingold and Brownback have some things to reflect upon. Perhaps they should amend the Bill they’re sponsoring and excise any mention of supporting or working with Uganda’s military. They should replace it with a call for Museveni and Kony to come to the table, under the eye of the International community; unlike the previous talks, laudable as they were, which were conducted in the forests.

The so-called "big" newspapers are still sleeping as usual.

Sooner or later, they will catch on to this story. Hopefully before those dumb smart bombs drop on Uganda.


Please post your comments directly online or submit them to milton@blackstarnews.com

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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