Nov 29 2008

Weep for Uganda: and move decisively against Kony

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 6:00 PM

Once more, people of good will have failed to end, finally and emphatically, the security threats in Uganda’s far north posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army of indicted war criminal Joseph Kony.

Kony’s ability to elude capture, and the inevitability of standing trial for brutal acts against civilians stretching over decades, has been based on the belief that a negotiated settlement between the LRA and the Ugandan government is essential to peace, stability and development in Uganda’s poorest and most troubled region. That may still be true. Yet once more, Kony has refused to accept generous peace terms. Time appears to have expired on one of the lengthiest and most puzzling attempts by European “peace builders” to end an African conflict. As I have written earlier this year in The Wilson Quarterly, humanitarian failures in northern Uganda — many of which stem directly from misguided efforts to accomodate Kony –  are many and yet eminently fixable.
I visited Uganda earlier this month and I feel the sorrow that policymakers and civil leaders must be experiencing now as another deadline for terminating negotiations with Kony has come and gone. While I didn’t venture into the far north on my Uganda trip, I saw a dynamic country that suffers greatly from the burden of an unresolved civil conflict. Kony needs to be either arrested or defeated decisively in battle. If the Ugandan government cannot do so, for whatever reason, a “coalition of the willing,” led by the new Obama administration, should orchestrate the capture of the LRA’s famously unstable leader. Only by dismantling the LRA, and putting Kony on trial for his crimes against humanity, can Uganda become a cohesive nation in reality as well as rhetoric. The task, from a tactical military standpoint, is not difficult. Kony has hundreds of men, at most under his command, and his movements are easier to predict and track from the air. In a weekend of determined activity, a U.N. coalition could seize Kony and destroy his already-weakened forces permanently. The cost of the action would less than is spent in a single day in Iraq by the U.S. government, and perhaps even less than is spent in an afternoon.

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