Democrats & Liberals Archives

Humanity at its worst: The LRA and Rush Limbaugh

Some time ago, while doing research for my writing, I sought a model for fictional, anarchic, ultraviolent group. I wanted a model of humanity at its absolute wortst. I considered the Khmer Rouge and the warring factions of Sierra Leone and Liberia, and finally settled on a little known bunch in Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army. Their violence took on an almost apolocalyptic aspect: cruel beyond comprehension, with enslavement, rape, and mutilation their common calling cards, and not just for adults, but for children as well.
Imagine my surprise when Obama offered to send 100 troops to Uganda to train opposition to the LRA. Imagine my even greater surprise when Rush Limbaugh not only opposed sending troops, but actually came down on the side of the LRA.

Here is Rush Limbaugh, the voice of conservatism:

"Have you ever heard of Lord's Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord's Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That's what the lingo means, "to help regional forces remove from the battlefield," meaning capture or kill.
So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and -- (interruption) no, I'm not kidding. Jacob Tapper just reported it. Now, are we gonna help the Egyptians wipe out the Christians? Wouldn't you say that we are?"

There are many descriptions and eyewitness accounts of the LRA available on the web. Here is one example:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/03/28/dr-congo-lord-s-resistance-army-rampage-kills-321

Be warned: the descriptions are disturbing, the eyewitness accounts especially horrifying. When looking for an example of humanity at its absolute worst, the LRA will appear near the top of any list.

The comment by Limbaugh can be excused as an example of profound ignorance or shoddy research. What makes it even worse is that, having made bad assumptions through ignorance or lack of research, the innate prejudices and hatreds Limbaugh come to the fore in a disturbing exhibition intended for his listener's entertainment by inciting thoughtless opposition and even hate. Limbaugh assumes any actions by the Obama administration must be wrong, and that the administration sides with Muslims against Christians. In fact, even the most casual research will reveal this is not the case. The LRA is not a Christian group, not by a long shot, and the religion of their victims is irrelevant to their application of cruelty.

One cannot help but contemplate the nature of evil; not only the evil of the LRA, but the evil propagated by a person like Rush Limbaugh and the conservatives who listen to him. We hear these conservatives at the GOP debates and stump speeches. We hear them cheering the death of a person who did not have medical insurance; booing a gay soldier in Afghanistan; cheering an execution; and even cheering the proposed killing of illegal immigrants with an electric fence.

There is a heart of darkness. It is not necessarily located at the headwaters of the Congo or even in Uganda. Its hatreds, cruelties, and violent nature can take many forms, and while there is distance on that river that flows between the inciting of religious and political hatreds and the apocalyptic violence of the LRA, no country is exempt from the forms that evil can take, not even our own.

Posted by phx8 at October 18, 2011 11:21 AM
Comments
Comment #330665

Being stupid does not make one evil, Stephen. At best you have provided a person who just wants to politically oppose his opponent and does not research in doing so.

You find *THAT* evil?

I’m sorry, but I can’t help thinking about a kettle and a pot…

BTW, violating the constitution isn’t a ‘good thing’. That this president continues to do so and is defended by those who support him (and disparaged the previous for less) is where the real issue lies, not this attempt at a deflection.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 18, 2011 2:48 PM
Comment #330669

Rhinehold,
I am not Stephen.

Limbaugh used research that was 14 years old to justify his religious hatred, and ignored the overwhelming body of evidence to the contrary. Here is a more detailed of how Limbaugh came to make his odious remarks:
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/limbaugh-defends-lords-resistance-army/
So yes. What he was doing was terribly wrong. While neither you nor I normally use religious terms, I think the word “evil” sums up the hatred Limbaugh seeks to incite. In this case, ignorance cannot be used as a defense, and positing the idea that the Obama administration is supporting Muslims and opposing Christians with US soldiers goes way, way over the line.

As to whether troops should be deployed in the first place, that is a different matter. The troops that would be deployed to Uganda will be taking a training role. There is no way this could be construed as a violation of the War Powers Act. I purposefully did not introduce that into the article because it is an irrelevant distraction from the far more important matter we see among Limbaugh and his conservative followers.

Posted by: phx8 at October 18, 2011 3:26 PM
Comment #330670

Phx8,

So very sorry for that I was reading a couple of articles and wasn’t paying attention, sorry!

What he was doing was terribly wrong.

Not saying it wasn’t wrong. Evil? Humanity at its worst? I’m not seeing it, sorry.

The troops that would be deployed to Uganda will be taking a training role.

Sorry, but that you buy that is one thing, howver I’m not talking about the War Powers Act, as it doesn’t apply.

The War Powers Act only comes into effect when “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces” is in effect. Since that is not the case here, the War Power Act does not apply, the deployment of armed forces without express congressional approval is unconstitutional.

The ‘training exception’ of the war powers act was clearly meant to allow for equipping military units with combat gear in foreign countries (like France or Germany, etc), not in the middle of an armed conflict. It was abused for years, that it was doesn’t make it less unconstitutional now.

Further, it clearly states that the president does not have the power to send any armed forces, for any reason, into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances

You can call following the constitution an ‘irrelevant distraction’ and not as important as what some blowhard talk radio hosts says, but I’ll have to disagree with you on that one.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 18, 2011 3:44 PM
Comment #330672

I asked in another post what exactly was the “compelling national interest” in this situation. Obama referred to this as a reason for sending US military.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 18, 2011 4:27 PM
Comment #330675
what exactly was the “compelling national interest” in this situation

Make himself look tough and get the polling back on his side? I’m sure he sees this as ‘compelling’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 18, 2011 4:32 PM
Comment #330676

Rhinehold-
That’s phx8’s article, not mine, but I find Limbaugh’s remarks to be recklessly ignorant at best.

Stupidity doesn’t make one evil, but it certainly leads to evil being done. If we support people in ignorance who do not deserve it, that can become a problem for us.

As for violating the constitution, Obama did notify Congress, and he is authorized by Congress to take action against the LRA.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 18, 2011 4:33 PM
Comment #330678

Pxh8 said:

“The comment by Limbaugh can be excused as an example of profound ignorance or shoddy research. What makes it even worse is that, having made bad assumptions through ignorance or lack of research, the innate prejudices and hatreds Limbaugh come to the fore in a disturbing exhibition intended for his listener’s entertainment by inciting thoughtless opposition and even hate. Limbaugh assumes any actions by the Obama administration must be wrong, and that the administration sides with Muslims against Christians. In fact, even the most casual research will reveal this is not the case. The LRA is not a Christian group, not by a long shot, and the religion of their victims is irrelevant to their application of cruelty.”

Logic requires a premise, an argument, and a conclusion; all of which you have failed to provide. You come to the conclusion that Rush Limbaugh is ignorant or has done “shoddy research”, based upon a false premise. I will state first of all; your reason for attacking Rush Limbaugh is because you don’t like him or his conservative beliefs. So your reason for this post is nothing more than the same old liberal personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with liberal socialist policies.

First of all, Rush Limbaugh was quoting Jacob Tapper, and the comments that were made were made by Jacob Tapper. By your own quote of Rush, he stated he was kidding about them being Christian; in fact, in the previous paragraph (which you failed to include) Rush said, “LRA is Lord’s Resistance Army. And it doesn’t mean God’s resistance army. Lord is some Lord, some guy.” So in your eagerness to personally attack a conservative as being ignorant, you showed your own ignorance. The point of Rush’s comments were democrats and republicans who jumped all over the Arab Spring in Egypt (and I might say backed by dems and repubs) and we are now watching as Muslims are in the process of cleansing Egypt of Coptic Christians.

Below are the actual links to Rush Limbaugh and Jacob Tapper, which you also failed to include:

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2011/10/14/obama_invades_uganda_targets_christians

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/obama-sends-100-us-troops-to-uganda-to-combat-lords-resistance-army/

Lastly, I might ask, where was all this concern, by Obama and the dems, for those raped and killed by Muslim groups in Somalia, which is still taking place?

Posted by: Frank at October 18, 2011 5:04 PM
Comment #330679


Phx8, good follow through. The sad part is that many of his listeners learned the truth about this Christian group and the evil Obama, the Limbaugh truth.

Rhinehold, if sending those troops to Uganda is a violation of the Constitution, it is a well worn violation, used by many presidents, including the great one, R.R. who did it at least twice. I hope the Republicans impeach him soon so Hillary can run.

Is it evil to portray people who are evil as not evil so you can try to convince people that Obama is evil?

You are right, Limbaugh did no research, something he is renowned for. He just saw a Christian affilation and saw an opportunity to portray Obama as an evil, insinuation Muslim, who is filled with hate for Christians and determined to wipe them out. For Limbaugh and his loyal fans, one slight misrepresention does not deter from the factual truth of the rest of the misrepresentation.

Tongues can be extremely evil, capable of inciting evil acts. An evil tongue will spin history, spin reality in an attempt to make them conform to what it espouses as the evil it is resisting. It is the epicenter of evil and it is absolutely sure of it’s truths, and so are it’s followers.

Posted by: jlw at October 18, 2011 5:05 PM
Comment #330683

Frank,
Don’t embarrass yourself further. Read the NYT article. Read Limbaugh’s comments. Do some research.

Posted by: phx8 at October 18, 2011 5:40 PM
Comment #330685


Frank, during Limbaugh’s diatribe, one of his staff tried to inform him that he was speaking in an misinformed way about that group, prompting a response by him expressing the possibility of doing further research.

I read Tapper’s report and not once did he us the word Christian in identifying the Lords Resistance Army. The word Christian appeared no where in the article. Nor did Tapper refer to this as a new war.

What Limbaugh did was spin Tapper’s article to conform to his message of hate. And, you are trying to spin a defence for that behavior.

“So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and…(interruption) no, I’m not kidding. Jacob Tapper just reported it.”

“Lord’s Resistance Army objectives, I have them here. ” To remove dictators and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops, to help nations wipe out…”

That is the truth Limbaugh fashion and that makes all of Fuzz Lintball’s truths true as well, including his truths about the Coptic’s, Obama and the conservative intelligentsia.

The opposite of intelligence is?

Caller: “Let me just say thank you so much for your dedication and teaching the principles and the truths of current events today, and I’m a longtime listener, a first-time caller.”

Posted by: jlw at October 18, 2011 5:57 PM
Comment #330687

phx8

You might have chosen Saddam Hussein as that really evil person. I don’t recall that you thought it a good idea for us to knock him off.

Posted by: C&J at October 18, 2011 6:02 PM
Comment #330688

Frank,

Limbaugh proclaims himself as “America’s truth detector”, and boasts he does this with “half his brain tied behind his back”.
I would have to ask which half?

Limbaugh is a radio entertainer that makes millions of dollars with this type of blithe bull***t, yet his millions of dittoheads continue to take him seriously.

Apparently you didn’t even bother to read either of the links you provided.

Rush depends on an uninformed audience.

It appears that from your screed you are one of them.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at October 18, 2011 6:15 PM
Comment #330689

Frank,
I like to maintain an attitude of civility when possible. Having said that, I don’t mind a little snark or the occasional flame. I like to see people participate and present other points of view. But seriously. You need to look into Limbaugh’s comments in more detail. What he said and his encouragement of religious prejudices was just awful.

Rhinehold presents another issue related to this one, and I haven’t really engaged in that discussion. Maybe another time, Rhinehold. I’m guessing we’ll get a better opportunity.

C&J,
Saddam Hussein might have been a good candidate. Interestingly enough, in 1998, I was researching two figures in particular: Mobutu (in the Congo) and a terrorist, Osama bin Laden. There were also some largely ignored incidents in Chechnya, examples of absolutely brutal behavior that were largely ignored. Now that the LRA has received a little publicity, it’s back to the drawing board.

Obama seems to be leaning more and more towards a policy of limited military engagement when moral imperatives demand intervention; the intervention then seems to be contingent upon support from the international community.

Posted by: phx8 at October 18, 2011 6:33 PM
Comment #330690

This is not a new issue. Bush sent advisers in 2008, under the new AFRICOM military assistance command formed during his administration, to provide logistics, planning and intelligence for a campaign against the LRA. It turned out to be a disaster. http://blog.invisiblechildren.com/2009/10/adbusters-obama-can-stop-the-lra/

It has never received much publicity but US policy for some time has been to assist Uganda in eliminating the LRA. In 2010, the Congress passed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, Public Law 111-172, enacted May 24, 2010 to provide assistance to Uganda in its efforts against the LRA. Lastly, Obama did not violate the War Powers Act since he informed Congress promptly upon his decision to send advisers. http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/10/14/100_us_troops_deploying_to_take_on_lra

Posted by: Rich at October 18, 2011 6:36 PM
Comment #330692

phx8 writes; “Obama seems to be leaning more and more towards a policy of limited military engagement when moral imperatives demand intervention…”

Does moral imperative equal “national interest”?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 18, 2011 6:39 PM
Comment #330696

Are we talking about President Obama?

Posted by: Mike at October 18, 2011 7:05 PM
Comment #330697

I think President Obama is not concerned about moral imperatives; I believe the term is CYOA with an election looming.

Posted by: Mike at October 18, 2011 7:09 PM
Comment #330698

Royal Flush,

“Does moral imperative equal “national interest”?”

Isn’t a more stable world in our “National Interests”?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at October 18, 2011 7:18 PM
Comment #330700

“Does moral imperative equal “national interest”?

Only when the moral imperative is sanctioned by conservatives or liberals.

In 1939, 1940, and 1941, the majority of Americans saw no national interest in confronting a moral imperative called the Nazis. Roosevelt had to tip toe a fine line in his efforts to help prevent the defeat of Britain.

I did not vote for Obama the first time and it is doubtful that I will the next time. But, if I don’t vote for him, it won’t be because,

He is an African
He is a Muslim
He is a Socialist
He hates America
He hates Americans
He is a racist
He hates white people
He hates black people
or for any other reason supported by a lack of intelligence.

Posted by: jlw at October 18, 2011 7:37 PM
Comment #330701

Isn’t a more stable world in our “National Interests”?

Rocky

Of course a stable world is desireable Rocky. However, I have three questions. 1) Will sending the US military to central Africa bring “world stability”?

2) What makes central Africa more important for world stability than so many other places on the planet whose potential for disruption of stability is much greater?

3) Why do you believe Rocky, that it is the responsibility of the US taxpayer and military to accomplish this “world stability” you speak of? Is a stable world even possible for us to achieve?

I do wish some writers on WB would think things through a little more carefully and fully.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 18, 2011 7:40 PM
Comment #330702
As for violating the constitution, Obama did notify Congress, and he is authorized by Congress to take action against the LRA.

Actually no, as I pointed out, this action is not covered by the War Powers Act. For that to happen “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces” has to be in effect. Last time I checked the LRA was not a threat to us. It was the same problem with Libya, Yemen, Somalia, etc…

He has to have authorization from congress (a letter is not good enough) if there is no direct threat against the US, it’s territories or it’s armed forces.

if sending those troops to Uganda is a violation of the Constitution, it is a well worn violation, used by many presidents, including the great one, R.R. who did it at least twice. I hope the Republicans impeach him soon so Hillary can run.

And as I said, just because it was abused in the past doesn’t make it right now. This president promised he was going to be one who followed the constitution and would not send troops anywhere unless there was a threat to the US and has then wiped his ass with it on several occasions that would have made Bush blush. That was why he was against Iraq, if I recall; at least Bush got approval for that action.

As for impeaching him so Hillary could run, that is probably one of the only ways for the Democrats to retain control of the White House. Hillary would beat any Republican hands down. Obama does not have much of a chance. Many on the left have asked for him not to run, knowing his own words are going to be thrown back at him.

“For me to argue, look, we’ve actually made the right decisions, things would have been much worse has we not made those decisions — that’s not that satisfying if you don’t have a job right now,” Obama told CBS in an interview taped last week and aired during his annual vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, an island near Boston. “I understand that and I expect to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better,” he said.
Posted by: Rhinehold at October 18, 2011 8:08 PM
Comment #330703

Royal Flush,
I would go either further in questioning deployment of troops to Uganda. My first question would be whether we have interpreters that can be deployed in the field with trainers and any troops. Do we have people that understand the language and the culture? That was a huge problem in Iraq. English would be spoken by some in Uganda; nevertheless, it is a different culture, so I’m not sure how effective our training would be for Ugandan soldiers going after the LRA.

My second question would be one of logistics. The LRA roams a remote area. The Ugandans and others have been chasing the LRA for a long time. What we would be in terms of supporting infrastructure? Because as it stands, there’s very little to help the chase unless the US deploys it, and we won’t know what to deploy unless we understand the situation, the language, and the culture.

Of course, we could forget about all that language/context/culture stuff and “exterminate the brutes.” In the case of a group like the LRA, one “operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct” (Apocalypse Now), it will probably take actions by the Ugandans we would rather not contemplate. In any case, anything the US can do to contribute to the end of the LRA would be a good thing.

Posted by: phx8 at October 18, 2011 8:18 PM
Comment #330705

Royal Flush,

“Will sending the US military to central Africa bring “world stability”?”

I never said it would, however will it hurt?

“What makes central Africa more important for world stability than so many other places on the planet whose potential for disruption of stability is much greater?”

While it doesn’t make it more important, we signed on for this years ago, we’re not alone there, and we have already failed once.

“Why do you believe Rocky, that it is the responsibility of the US taxpayer and military to accomplish this “world stability” you speak of?”

I never said it was, however I don’t see anybody else stepping up to the plate, and 100 “advisers” doesn’t seem like too much of an investment.

Is a stable world even possible for us to achieve?

That’s the crux of the biscuit now isn’t it? Perhaps a more stable world is possible, but even if it wasn’t is that a reason to just give up?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at October 18, 2011 8:27 PM
Comment #330708

phx8

I don’t particularly oppose President Obama’s choice. I think we have to be very careful, however. War is a very human activity. It cannot be easily controlled and once initiated it develops a personality of its own. When you see people die, you understand that the only way to win is never let it start, but that is usually not an option.

The most dangerous types of war are those with strongly humanitarian objectives because there is no way out but complete victory and the bad guys have to be eliminated. A war with “practical” objectives can be turned off a lot easier.

In fact, one reason we got in trouble in Iraq was the moral aspect. Saddam was an evil guy and had to be eliminated. Extending the exclusion to all his erstwhile allies was not so smart. Sometimes you need to work with people who until recently were trying to kill you. They might become your best friends.

Central Africa is almost the definition of quagmire. It is big, wild and many places are currently ungovernable. By comparison, Iraq was easy, since it is easy to find and eliminate bad guys in the almost unoccupied flat desert, all you needed to worry about is thin strips near the rivers. Yet this was a big challenge.

Consider the case of Somalia, which we entered with good motives and exited …well.

I don’t know how this commitment in Africa can be limited. It will take more than a few men to get rid of the bad guys. In fact, getting rid of them may be impossible. IF we succeed in step one, we still have savage societies. They cannot be “rebuilt” because they were never built in the first place. We would get stuck with a big development task, for which we are very much unqualified.

I am a practical guy. I do like to follow national interest. In Iraq we had a national interest. Oil is important. As I explained many times, this was not a war FOR oil but it was a war about oil. Central Africa has lots of resources, but nothing so easily exploited as the vast oil fields of Iraq.

I also think that this should be a Chinese problem. They are buying up all the resources there. Let them defend them. It is time to end that free ride they get at our expense.

Remember Idi Amin? He was a truly horrible guy, a murderer and even a cannibal. Yet he was seen by many as a champion of the developing world against imperialists - like us. This is a complicated place to work.

When in Iraq, I used to think of a poem, but the currently unPC Rudyard Kipling. He wrote about “the East” but it applies to lots of these semi-colonial adventures.

“at the end of the fight, on a tombstone white; with the name of the late deceased; and the epitaph drear; a fool lies here; who tried to hustle the East.”

Well, I suppose we must do our duties and try to succeed in a place where so many others have failed.

I would say that other parts of Africa are looking up. Besides, we will need Africa’s farmland, which is the largest area of mostly unproductive land left on earth, if we are to feed the extra billions of people who will join us by the end of the century.

Posted by: C&J at October 18, 2011 8:57 PM
Comment #330716
In fact, one reason we got in trouble in Iraq was the moral aspect. Saddam was an evil guy and had to be eliminated. Extending the exclusion to all his erstwhile allies was not so smart. Sometimes you need to work with people who until recently were trying to kill you. They might become your best friends.

I’m sure I can’t be the only one who finds this comment highly ironic?!

Posted by: Adrienne at October 18, 2011 9:55 PM
Comment #330722
I am a practical guy. I do like to follow national interest. In Iraq we had a national interest. Oil is important. As I explained many times, this was not a war FOR oil but it was a war about oil. Central Africa has lots of resources, but nothing so easily exploited as the vast oil fields of Iraq.

I to am a practical guy C&J and was wondering the same. It seems to me China has been exploiting the natural resources of Africa for a while now yet they don’t seem to get involved in the local battles. It appears they have steered clear of Uganda in their search for minerals while investing in other countries on the continent.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7086777.stm

Posted by: j2t2 at October 19, 2011 8:40 AM
Comment #330723

Rhinehold,


Obama isn’t relying upon the War Powers Act specifically. In his letter to Congress, Obama referenced the “Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009,” Public Law 111-172.

That Act had 64 Senate co-sponsors and was passed by Congress in March of 2010 by unanimous consent in the Senate and voice vote in the House of Representatives. The summary of the bill from Govtrack.com is as follows:

“A bill to support stabilization and lasting peace in northern Uganda and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army through development of a regional strategy to support multilateral efforts to successfully protect civilians and eliminate the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army and to authorize funds for humanitarian relief and reconstruction, reconciliation, and transitional justice, and for other purposes.”

The Act legitimizes US support for multilateral regional efforts to eliminate the LRA, including military support. Such military assistance was initiated by the Bush administration in 2008 with its support of a combined Uganda, Sudan and Republic of Conga military campaign against the LRA.

Complaining that Obama has violated the Constitution or the War Powers Act by sending advisers to assist in a multilateral action against the LRA without Congressional approval seems specious to me considering that Congress just passed the “Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament..Act.”


Posted by: Rich at October 19, 2011 9:27 AM
Comment #330724

Rich,

Having reviewed the text of the law S.1067.ENR I agree that expressed congressional approval was given to the President for this military action. As the law was less than 2 years old (all military actions have to be renewed every 20 years FYI) it is still in good standing and a cursory scan shows that this military action is legal.

And no, it wasn’t specious, I was just not aware of this previous authorization. That’s for pointing me to it to investigate myself.

It is the policy of the United States to work with regional governments toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict in northern Uganda and other affected areas by 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
Posted by: Rhinehold at October 19, 2011 10:37 AM
Comment #330725

Rhinehold,

The issue appears to have flown under the radar. I also never heard of the “Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act” until this controversy arose. I would agree, that in the absence of the Act, there could be concern about Obama’s commitment of military forces in the absence of clear threat to national security or subject to existing treaty obligations.

Posted by: Rich at October 19, 2011 11:09 AM
Comment #330726

Frank-
Thinking oppositionally is a good way to get yourself into trouble. You have to consider things yourself, independent of what a rival or adversary might think.

If Limbaugh did not know what the LRA was, he should have before he opened his mouth. He really should have.

Here are the basics. The leader is a nut who thinks God talks to him. He’s on our global terrorist list, and it was Bush who put him there.

More to the point:

Since its creation in 1987, the group has engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government and committed an extraordinary number of human rights violations. Most notably, his troops enter a village, killing the adults and kidnapping the children. The boys are enscripted into the army and the girls are taken as ‘bush wives.’

Obama notes in his letter that the LRA has “murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women, and children in central Africa” and “continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security.”

Some people hear Christian, and automatically think these people are on the side of real Christians. I don’t read the bible all the time, but I’ve read through the New Testament quite a few times, but I don’t know where Jesus said “Go into villages, kill the people there, force the boys to be your soldier, and rape the girls.”

Some people hear Obama, and whatever they hear he is for, their kneejerk reaction is to be against it. That’s what happened here.

Wisdom doesn’t come from opposing the foolish. The opposite of what a fool believes may be just as bad as what the fool believes. Nor does it have to be between the two points of view. The truth is, what it is, and it does not spring from our views, whether singly or in opposition.

Limbaugh’s mistake is that he all too often constructs his views to be diametrically opposed to what liberals believe. But liberals can be right, and the opposite of what liberals believe can be wrong, so he just launches himself into blind error.

The fallacy is, if the Republicans simply oppose everything the President says, places as policy, or believes, that they can defeat him, but that compromising or agreeing with him will give him strength. Trouble is, if the President is right, or less wrong than they, they’ve only weakened themselves instead, and worse, set their policies and their beliefs deeper into error.

Rhinehold-
There’s a great deal of debate as to whether Congress can actually tell The President, in this case, Barack Obama, that he can’t send soldiers somewhere. The President is explicitly given the power of being Commander in Chief. The War Powers Act has always been on shaky ground for that reason.

In this case, the President is sending troops to help train the Ugandans. He’s just sending a hundred. It’s well within the scope of what Congress authorized.

As for impeaching him, or running Hillary? What are you impeaching him for? I think he has a pretty tight legal case. All the Republicans have is animosity. As for Hillary, don’t forget that Hillary lost a long, drawn out primary against this guy, who then pretty much won with a united party. The Republicans have folks who talk about electric fences and letting foreclosures go into high gear, people who make proposals that would raise taxes on them, and who actively resist going after Wall Street and its abuses.

Republicans and the right in general have themselves trapped, as far as really, enthusiastically running on populist grounds. They can only make the same promise that has been broken over the years: that if we give the capitains of industry more room to do whatever they want, everybody will win.

They are making a negative contrast clear, for everybody to see, and don’t think the President’s not going to draw that contrast, bring it to his aid.

C&J-
If you are talking resources, why do we want to yield control of those resources to China, if that’s what we have in mind?

We’re sending a hundred soldier to Uganda. We’re not sending an invasion force, or taking on the fighting ourselves. If anything, Obama’s been far more cautious than your old boss at picking his battles.

In my opinion, if you had really looked at the evidence, the Iraq war wasn’t justified. It did not lower oil prices, then or now. Nor did it serve us positively in the War on Terrorism. We ought to have kept our eye on the ball elsewhere, and not put ourselves in the position of fighting a major war on top of the other war we were fighting.

We don’t have any (acknowledged, I’m not naive) troops in Libya. We don’t have a big land force doing what should be their job for them. We’re not in quagmires in these places. We can and have minimized our role, and maximized our impact in those areas.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 19, 2011 11:35 AM
Comment #330727
There’s a great deal of debate as to whether Congress can actually tell The President, in this case, Barack Obama, that he can’t send soldiers somewhere. The President is explicitly given the power of being Commander in Chief. The War Powers Act has always been on shaky ground for that reason.

Yes, once forces have been committed by the congress, then the Commander in Chief commands them. But is is also very clear that they can only be deployed through congressional approval. Yes, I know that Nixon wanted to exceed his station in life, but that doesn’t mean that any serious student of the constitution can read into it that the President can do what he wants with the military…

In this case, the President is sending troops to help train the Ugandans. He’s just sending a hundred. It’s well within the scope of what Congress authorized.

Which I have just agreed to, but only because of the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Had that not been passed, there would not have been the authority to send in armed military personnel to the conflict, as I have pointed out already.

As for impeaching him, or running Hillary? What are you impeaching him for?

It could be the many constitutional abuses he has committed since taking office, all of which had Bush committed you would be screaming for impeachment…

I think he has a pretty tight legal case.

You mean the one his own legal team has said was ludicrious? Interesting…

As for Hillary, don’t forget that Hillary lost a long, drawn out primary against this guy, who then pretty much won with a united party. The Republicans have folks who talk about electric fences and letting foreclosures go into high gear, people who make proposals that would raise taxes on them, and who actively resist going after Wall Street and its abuses.

So do the Democrats… The people looking to ‘go after Wall Street’ would not be supporting the Democratic Party anymore, they have been worse than the Republicans in that regard, though just barely.

We can and have minimized our role, and maximized our impact in those areas.

Unconstitutionally.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 19, 2011 12:47 PM
Comment #330728

BTW, as for Hillary, this could cause what I said earlier to come into question… Especially the ‘anti-corpocracy’ crowd who are not in the tank already via religious fervor.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 19, 2011 1:00 PM
Comment #330733

Rhinehold-
No, no, you misunderstand. As Commander in Chief, he has the right to command the armed forces NOW. It’d be a pretty useless office to have, if he couldn’t get them going immediately. It takes Congress, though, to fully fund and commit the nation to war. The War Powers act was meant to reinforce the Congress’s role, but since Congress already approved action, and has provided for it, they’ve already basically approved what he did.

As for impeachment? The Senate tries impeachments. Two thirds concurrence required for conviction. That means at least 17 Democrats would have to agree.

Translation: it’s not happening. The House is not going to vote to impeach just to get shut down by Democrats in no mood to help support the Republicans in taking down another Democratic President.

As for the pipeline, well, I can say unquivocally that Democrats have noticed, and they are going to bring it up. However, I doubt many believe they’re going to get a better deal from the “Drill Baby Drill” advocates of the Republican Party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 19, 2011 3:22 PM
Comment #330734
No, no, you misunderstand. As Commander in Chief, he has the right to command the armed forces NOW.

Interesting, perhaps you can show me this power given to the President that he can send US troops wherever he wants to whenever he wants? I seem to find that part missing from the Constitution… And from the writings of the founders who suggest different.

“As to the Philadelphia Convention and the intent of the American founders, there was only one delegate who suggested giving the Executive the power to take offensive military action: Pierce Butler of South Carolina. He suggested the President should be able to, but in practice would have the character not to do so without mass support. Elbridge Gerry, a delegate from Massachusetts, summed up the majority viewpoint saying he “never expected to hear in a republic a motion to empower the Executive alone to declare war.” George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and others voiced similar sentiments”

but since Congress already approved action, and has provided for it, they’ve already basically approved what he did.

Even when the War Powers Act expressly states that approving funding for an action does not equate to authorizing the action?

“Authority to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances shall not be inferred—

(1) from any provision of law (whether or not in effect before November 7, 1973), including any provision contained in any appropriation Act, unless such provision specifically authorizes the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and states that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this chapter; or

(2) from any treaty heretofore or hereafter ratified unless such treaty is implemented by legislation specifically authorizing the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and stating that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this chapter. “

That’s an interesting interpretation, I must admit.

Translation: it’s not happening.

Nor did I ever suggest it would. I’m not ignorant of the foibles of our current political system. Principle is not chief among the traits that our elected officials maintain.

However, I doubt many believe they’re going to get a better deal from the “Drill Baby Drill” advocates of the Republican Party.

Aye, we suck but just not as bad as the other guy… Should be the motto for the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 19, 2011 4:06 PM
Comment #330736

Adrienne

During the Iran-Iraq war we were faced with a choice between two very bad options. As when FDR chose to work with Stalin, we chose the lesser, since not making the choice would have resulted in a great calamity.

I don’t think you understood my comment, or maybe you just wanted to broaden the discussion as a general attack on the United States. I am simply saying that if you identify a conflict as an existential one between good and evil it becomes much more difficult to make the pragmatic choices necessary is the very complex and human thing we call war. There were people who we worked with who would have and perhaps did try to kill me a few months earlier. If you bicker and argue about who tried to kill whom, you really cannot settle any conflict since you create an endless string of retribution.

I know that the actual bloody conflict scenario is beyond the experience of most readers, but I don’t think it trivializes it to compare it to a couple of kids hitting each other. Who hit first stops mattering as each feels the pain of the blows he received and considers his response just and proportional. The conflict can end in only three ways. One kid can completely beat the other; an authority can step in or the kids can decide that it has gone on long enough and they should just stop. Usually this requires one to be “more mature” and stop first. Which of these options do you think was available to us in Iraq?

Posted by: C&J at October 19, 2011 6:59 PM
Comment #330737

Royal Flush,

“Will sending the US military to central Africa bring “world stability”?”

I never said it would, however will it hurt?

Rocky

Evading the question is one way of saving face I guess. From obama’s own mouth came the reason for the troops. Vital national interest is what he said. Now, you merely say…well, it couldn’t hurt. Stupid comment.


Posted by: Royal Flush at October 19, 2011 7:06 PM
Comment #330738

j2t2

The Chinese have been free riding under our security umbrella. I am not sure how to address that. We benefit greatly from a secure world. Others get to use our security and pay nothing. They even get to complain and call us imperialists while sheltering behind our navy and army.

We did the same with the Brits in the 19th Century, BTW.

The Chinese are untroubled by questions of human rights or democracy. They can and do act pragmatically in the pejorative sense of the world. I believe that they will soon begin to pay the price, but they may be ruthless enough to push on anyway.

Stephen

I am pointing out that wars get out of hand. It starts with a few advisers but can escalate. I am not opposing the President, just raising caution.

I understand that some people “need killing” and I am not a pacifist, but I also know that war is a terrible thing that should not be undertaken lightly.

Re “your old boss”. George Bush was OUR president (yours and mine) now Barack Obama is our president. In our democratic system, we have the right and responsibility to dissent from policies we consider wrong, but we should never use words like your instead of our when speaking of the president, except in the narrow sense when specifically referring to political party membership.

Posted by: C&J at October 19, 2011 7:10 PM
Comment #330747

“From obama’s own mouth came the reason for the troops. Vital national interest is what he said. Now, you merely say…well, it couldn’t hurt. Stupid comment.”

Royal Flush,

Obama was carrying out the mandate of Congress in providing military assistance to Uganda, Sudan and the Republic of Conga in their fight against the LRA. In 2010, Congress passed the “Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act” authorizing military assistance. It passed in the Senate with unanimous consent and by voice vote in the House of Representatives.

So, was Congress wrong in determining that US military support for the fight against the LRA was appropriate? Was both the Congress and the executive branch wrong in considering such action in the national interest? Was GW Bush wrong in providing military assistance in planning, logistics and intelligence to a combined Uganda, Sudan and Republic of Congo military campaign against the LRA in 2008 wrong?

They may all be wrong. It may not be in the national interest. However, it wasn’t a unilateral act of Obama or, for that matter, the Democrats.


Posted by: Rich at October 19, 2011 7:44 PM
Comment #330749

Thanks for the revisionist history, Jack.

“As with all sovereign nations, we respect Iraq’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
— Donald Rumsfeld, 1983
Stated by Rummy when he went to sell Saddam Weapons of Mass Destruction.

“We don’t have an opinion on inter-Arab disputes such as your border dispute with Kuwait, and we have directed our official spokesman to reiterate this stand, and I have a directive from the President, personally, that I should work to expand and deepen relations with Iraq.”
– April Glaspie, US ambassador to Iraq, 1990

This, from a transcript of meeting with Iraqi leadership one week before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 19, 2011 7:53 PM
Comment #330750

Royal Flush,

“Now, you merely say…well, it couldn’t hurt. Stupid comment.””

No. That is not what I wrote.

I asked if it would hurt.

Why is it you find it necessary to put words in my mouth and them berate me for your projections?

Rocky


Posted by: Rocky Marks at October 19, 2011 8:00 PM
Comment #330758

Adrienne

I think this has been the history all along. In the case of the Iran-Iraq war, would you have preferred an Iranian victory or was the standoff a better outcome at the time?

There were no good options at the time.

I understand your animus toward U.S. foreign policy. You have your opinion and I suppose you will hold to it. I know you will believe that we sold Iraq WMD. I cannot defeat a conspiracy theory with truth. I can only point out that if such a thing happened, such weapons were never deployed or found. And that Saddam’s arsenal was full of weapons from the Soviet Union, China, France and others but in all the great piles of junk that had been his equipment, you could find no American supplied weapons.

But having allowed you to vent your dislike, I have to point out that my comment was more general about the nature of war and peace and shifting alliances. I have seen the results of such things close enough that I could feel and smell them. I am trying to share an experience that few have had and I am not surprised that many cannot understand. Yet I put it before you. Reject my experience if you want; trash me if you want, but you really do not need to trash our country in the process.

Posted by: C&J at October 19, 2011 9:01 PM
Comment #330773


Did the Reagan Administration sell weapons to Iraq during the Iraq/Iran War? No, the administration just facilitated the sales to Iraq.

It was a commonly know fact that Iraq’s predominately Soviet weapons and other weapons from other countries, who’s sales where facilitated by the U.S. were superior to the Iranians predominately worn and outdated U.S. weapons. As George Schultz paraphrasing remarked, ‘Let’s hope the Iraqi’s intelligence matches their fire power.’

The Reagan Administration entered office determined to resist attempts to research and develop alternative sources of energy that could possibly reduce our dependence on foreign oil, not that it would have made any difference in regards to the Iraq/Iran war.

The administration had no choice but to get involved in the war to attempt to keep the oil, especially Iraqi oil, flowing.

A couple of quotes from wiki:

“The Reagan/Bush Administrations permitted and frequently encouraged the flow of money, agricultural credits, duel-use technologies, chemicals, and weapons to Iraq.”

“It is becoming increasingly clear that George Bush, operating largely behind the scenes throughout the 1980s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence, and military help that built Saddam’s Iraq into “the power it became.”” What irony, George Bush created all the reasons for his Gulf War.

The Reagan Administration resisted condemning Iraq for using chemical weapons until the State Department finally urged them to say something. The Administration issued a statement condemning the use of chemical weapons and that evidence suggested that Iraq was using them. This infuriated Saddam and soured relations. After that, the Administration issued further statements condemning the use of chemical weapons without mentioning Iraq.

While all of this was going on, and Reagan Administration was selling weapons for hostages with Iran. Again the Reagan Administration sold no weapons to Iran, they let the Israelis do that. Of course they didn’t actually sell the weapons to the Iranian Regime, but to “moderate” Iranians within the Iranian Regime.

The big boys play their geopolitical games, the people pay in blood and treasure.

Imagine what the price of gas would be if the oil companies had to pay instead of the taxpayers, and oil executives had to fight on the front line instead of their betters.

Posted by: jlw at October 20, 2011 12:01 AM
Comment #330781

jlw

If it is commonly known that Soviet and Chinese weapon sales to Iraq were “facilitated” by the U.S. during the 1980s, the common wisdom is just plain stupid. In the early 1980s, what facilitation could the U.S. offer or the Soviet accept?

Saddam in those days was a Soviet client and you may recall that during the Cold War such clients were generally considered a threat to the U.S. Ronald Reagan was criticized for being a narrow minded Cold warrior at the time. Are you telling us that he was actually an extremely intelligent and able manipulated or liberal opinion too stupid to understand his master plan? Actually that sounds possible, but not in this particular instance.

The bottom line, which we all saw, is that Saddam did not have American weapons. He was mostly supplied by people who were American enemies at the time. If you want to take the position that the U.S. in the 1980s actually also controlled the Soviet Union and China, you have a very interesting story and maybe should make some kind of spy movie.

Posted by: C&J at October 20, 2011 5:48 AM
Comment #330788


C&J, the comments about Iraq’s superior fire power came from a meeting at the White House between members of the Reagan Administration and Tariq Aziz.

After the administration got involved they encouraged and facilitated the sale of materials to the Iraqis from many countries, perhaps not the Soviets. I am sure the Reagan Administration would have wanted to cut the Soviets out of the market.

When the Gulf War began, Saddam was equipped with old Soviet fighters and newer French Mirage fighters.

Ronald Reagan super intelligent and all that? No, that is a figment of your imagination. Reagan was just playing the big boys game that the little boys pay for. If the people of this world get around to ending the big boys games there will be hope for the human race.

People like Saddam Husein switch allegiances in accordance to who is making him the best offer or who is giving him the most heat. The Soviets were in the process of going bankrupt and Reagan had a printing press.

How intelligent does a man have to be to be duped into trading arms for hostages. That was his excuse. Can presidents be manipulated? Ask Dick Cheney. What good is intelligence if you can’t remember what the purpose of the button you have your finger on is for.

Saddam was an American client, then a Soviet client, then an American client, then a Soviet client. The situation was similar for Iran. In the late sixties, early seventies, I was stationed at an Air Force base that trained both Iraqi and Iranian pilots, often at the same time. They where constantly coming and going in their American made Iraqi and Iranian jets. We have had a love hate relationship with both countries for many year because of you know what.

The kids are paying to watch the adults play kick the can around.

Posted by: jlw at October 20, 2011 2:31 PM
Comment #330796

jlw-

Just wondering, what U.S. aircraft were the Iraqi pilots training with? I worked for a contractor and knew we had F-5’s and Phantoms in Iran, but I thought Iraq only had Soviet stuff. Later Iran got F14s and Iraq I think had the French Mirage, but I can’t remember Iraq with U.S. airframes.

Interesting.

Posted by: George at October 20, 2011 3:37 PM
Comment #330820

C&J,

The US did tilt toward Iraq after the Iranian hostage debacle and the Iraq-Iran war that followed. The Reagan administration was not depressed by Iraq’s attack on Iran. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Understandable.

Is there really any question that the Reagan administration provided assistance to Iraq in its war with Iran? That included intelligence and waivers of prohibited chemical purchases from the US which are integral components of chemical weapons. The Reagan administration, as jlw has pointed out, resisted US Congressional condemnation of Iraqi use of chemical weapons against indigenous Iraqi groups supporting Iran. Those are the facts.

Posted by: Rich at October 20, 2011 8:12 PM
Comment #330861

Among the various shoesugg boots winter
in the world , supra vaider is the alternative
classic tall boots and special one , people like this shoes not only because of the cool appearance , but also because of the high popularity . Supra shoes is doubt the king ofclassic short boot skate board shoes in the world , and after years of

Posted by: dftyu7 at October 22, 2011 3:44 AM
Comment #330918

jlw

I don’t know what point you are trying to make. In the real political world, the best outcome for us was that neither side win. That is what happened.

The fact remains that Saddam has virtually no U.S. weapons. What he got from us was mostly intelligence passed through others so that he could anticipate Iranian attacks.

I see that we had to deal with Saddam to stop the Iranians, just was we had to deal with Stalin (who was, BTW, even worse than Saddam) to stop Hitler. In neither case was this a friendship any decent person would have chosen freely.

George

Personally, I think we should sell a-hole like Saddam all the fancy planes they can pay for. They cannot really use them against us and are too dumb to use them correctly. As soon as we stop giving them parts, they stop working. Saddam paid big money for MiGs and Mirages that his pilots wisely dumped in the desert rather than fight us.

Rich

You are right about the tilt and the intelligence (with a small error in chronology), wrong about the chemical weapons. No competent researcher has ever found either a policy or any evidence on that one. I have seen the list of “suspect” items. They are agricultural chemicals that we commonly use on farms. Somebody who doesn’t know much about farming or chemical weapons will be outraged by such things. Others know better.

The reason chemical weapons are so destabilizing is that they are easy to make. It is a 1915 technology. Saddam didn’t need our, or anybody else’s help to make such things.

Posted by: C&J at October 22, 2011 2:08 PM
Post a comment