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Monday, October 17, 2011

Rules of Engagement - Military to Uganda

Typically in my blog posts I have criticized our leaders for their economic policies but today I am diverging from that tack to raise awareness of an issue that arose on Friday. On Friday October 14, 2011 President Obama announced that 2 days prior he authorized 100 Combat equipped troops deployed to Uganda as “advisers”  to help regional forces  “remove the battlefield” against the LRA or Lord’s Resistance Army. Now granted the LRA is a despicable bunch and the atrocities that are occurring in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa are barbaric, but the question I have is, why is the US going there and why are people not upset about this?  

At first I did not think much about this announcement but last night I was watching a movie on TV with my son and it got me thinking. The movie was “Saving Private Ryan” a very well done film with an all star cast. The premise of the movie for those of you who do not know it is that Pvt. Ryan and his four brothers were all involved in various divisions of the military in different battles during WWII. As it turns out Pvt. Ryan was the last of the Ryan boys to survive and instead of allowing the family linage to be potentially snuffed out a group of American soldiers were charged with the mission of rescuing the young private from the battle in the European theater.  The thought was the Mrs. Ryan’s boy should be saved as she had sacrificed enough already.
This movie got me thinking about the sacrifices that our military and their families make each and every day and that because of their commitment and willingness to do violence on our behalf that we enjoy the freedoms we generally accept as “god” given. Whether it is me writing this blog , a tea party member giving a speech, Al Sharpton bloviating on TV, Occupy Wall Street protesting, or congress going about its business it has all been made possible by the commitment of generations of our military that have pledged to up hold the constitution and serve the President.
Back to Pvt. Ryan and its influence over today’s piece. The “Left” in this country was and is still angry at Former President George W. Bush for his involvement in wars, yet they and the media continue to give President Obama a pass on these things whether it is sending troops to Libya, not closing Guantanamo  and now Uganda. Dear reader don't get me wrong I am not on the "right" per se and I too was upset with Bush and his wars I felt were wrong then as I feel the actions today are wrong as well.  My issue is three fold 1) even in his statement the President made it clear that this was the first of several deployments, 2) what is the justification for insinuating our military men and women in harm’s way and 3) is it even constitutional?
“The forces will deploy beginning with a small group and grow over the next month to 100. They will ultimately go to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the permission of those countries.  The President made it clear that the mission to Uganda was but the first stop in some sort of African Military campaign. Note that he stated with the permission of the countries, yet not with the permission of Congress.
Unlike in Pvt. Ryan’s case where congress had declared war on Germany making it a legal action, therefore asking Mrs. Ryan to have her sons pay the ultimate price was justified.  The situation in Uganda is a Civil War and Congress has not declared war on Uganda.  Yes, there is reprehensible bloodshed and violence taking place in Uganda, but there is similar strife occurring in some 100 other locations around the globe, are we going there as well? Can we afford to in these times of Government Deficits? It looks as if Obama has his way we will be.
The bottom line is that it is a Civil war and we have no business being there. The US has provided training and support for militaries battling the LRA over the years, but it was just training and no troops were put in harm’s way. Now troops will be thrust in to a situation that has the potential to draw us further in to a conflict that is not of our own making or interest.  Even though the President has said that the Troops will not be engaging in combat unless it is self defense,however,  it is the nature of conflict that they will have to defend themselves and potentially get drawn into offensive measures as well.
The President cited as his justification S. 1067 [111th]: Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. This aforementioned bill was passed by congress states “ providing political, economic, military, and intelligence support for viable multilateral efforts to protect civilians from the Lord’s Resistance Army, to apprehend or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield in the continued absence of a negotiated solution, and to disarm and demobilize the remaining Lord’s Resistance Army fighters”. The resolution specifically says support and does not open the door to conduct missions, yet here we are.
The problem I have is that this is just another symptom of our rights, freedoms, and constitution breaking down. Moreover, just like the abrogation of bondholder’s rights in the “Government Motors” bailout this Uganda deployment it is symptomatic of the “get er done mentality” based upon someone's agenda, but it does not seem to be the American people's.
Part of what makes America great is that we are a nation of laws. These laws are what protect our freedom and allow our economy to function. Who would want to live or invest in a place where the law is constantly twisted to the special interest of the day or where your property is yours one day then the next you have no right to it. The continual chipping away at the very core of our system is leading us down the road to perdition like others before us, whether it be the Romans or the French of the Assignat period. Furthermore, one could easily argue that or economy will not recover or ever go back to the status quo if we can’t decide on a good course of action but rather keep shifting the rules.
It is most bothersome to me that we have a President that believes he is above the law and can make the decision himself to commit troops in to a hot zone without real authority. It is even more disturbing that we have not heard from any one of any authority questioning the legality of this maneuver by the President. Of course if it had been a Republican there would be riots in the media. The only one who has said anything publically has been John McCain and he is not even questioning the legality, instead he is just upset that Obama did not consult with Congress before hand.
Article One, Section Eight of the US Constitution states that Congress shall have the power to declare war, which in this case it has not. There are those that argue that the “War Powers Resolution of 1973” provides the justification for sending these “advisers” to Uganda, but it does not pass the sniff test.
Under the War Powers the President can commit the US to an armed conflict without the congress in cases of national emergency by attack on the US, its territories or military. The War Powers act goes further talking about “necessary and proper” which could be best understood as an explanation of what is the “clear and present danger “ to the United States.  Moreover, the War Powers also states that any action is to be limited to 60 days, plus an additional 30 days for withdrawal. Does it sound like this situation that our good men and women of the military are being asked to go in to will be a 60 day affair?
If you believe in the rule of law you need to call your Congress person and or Senator and do what Occupy Wall Street is attempting to do PROTEST!

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