Thursday, November 25, 2010

A letter is not a strategy.

The U.S. Congress passed legislation back in May of this year, "The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act", that authorized a formal commitment by the U.S.A. to assist in the defeat of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) militia that terrorizes northern Uganda and nearby States. President Obama signed the law on May 24th, and accepted a 180 days-thereafter deadline for the promulgation of "a strategy".

Well, as of today, he sent a letter to the Congress:
Mr Obama's letter said that strategy would:

. Aim to protect civilians
. Apprehend or remove from the battlefield Mr Kony and his commanders
. Promote the defection or disarmament of LRA fighters
. Increase humanitarian assistance to people in LRA-affected areas.

He also said it would provide a framework for the co-ordination of US efforts.

"Given the necessity of bringing political, economic, military, and intelligence support to bear in addressing the threat posed by the LRA," Mr Obama said in his letter.

"The development of the strategy relied on the significant involvement of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Agency for International Development, and the intelligence community. All will remain engaged throughout implementation," he said.
Oh gee. That's great.

Note to readers: A letter is not a strategy.

Those are all good goals... it would have taken a grand total of about 30 seconds to make that list, though. A strategy might just possibly include some vague idea as to *how* to reach those goals. There may even be a actual strategy; nothing in that letter says what that is.

Predictably, several Human Rights organizations are overjoyed that something... anything... is down on paper as to what to do. Pity those fine folks weren't exactly supportive of Operation Lightning Thunder back in 2008 when the Governments of Uganda, the D.R. Congo, and the autonomous administration of Southern Sudan all joined an effort supported by the U.S. to root out the LRA.

Here's hoping that a senior U.S. official is assigned a special portfolio to oversee this renewed effort. If it must be a State Department face, then let it be someone who has actually been of use. Conveniently, the current U.S. Ambassador to Uganda is one such person, but he's a bit busy. I'd sure listen very, very carefully to Amb. Lanier as to who he thinks would be good for the job.

Then there will simply have to be a real plan made.

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