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U.S. Sending “Combat Equipped” Troops to Africa

by John Reed on October 14, 2011

Well, the President is sending about 100 “combat equipped” U.S. troops to Uganda to help local government forces hunt down and ‘remove’ Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The LRA is a rebel group that has terrorized the African countryside for years, murdering, raping and kidnapping thousands of civilians.  Like countless other African “resistance” armies, the LRA specializes in abducting kids and forcing them into service as child soldiers. Needless to say, he’s a bad dude at the head of a bad organization. The first U.S. troops apparently arrived in Uganda on Oct. 12 and more will follow in the coming weeks, according to an Oct. 14 letter sent from the White House to Congress.

In addition to Uganda, U.S. forces have permission from South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to operate on their territory while helping to hunt down the LRA.

The troops are likely special operations forces and their low numbers reflect the U.S.’ desire to avoid the appearance of neo-colonialism on the continent.  The Pentagon routinely deploys forces to Africa to train local militaries (the photo above shows an Army Green Beret training Malian counter-terror troops). They’re usually sent in small numbers and are special ops troops, often dressed as civilians, who are trained in local languages and customs. Don’t forget all the combat equipped troops who live at Camp Lemonier, in Djibouti. Still, it’s very rare to hear about U.S. forces actively hunting bad guys in Africa. Even when we go after pirates and terrorists in Somalia we usually do it with AC-130 gunships and UAVs. If Americans to hit the ground its usually for the few minutes or hours it takes to kill or capture one of these guys.

In this case, the troops will be directly assisting with a manhunt despite the fact that the White House says they won’t be “engaging” in combat with LRA forces, unless of course, the LRA forces shoot first.

“Although U.S. forces are combat equipped they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self defense,” reads the letter.

Click through the jump to read a copy of the letter:

Troops to Africa

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

STemplar October 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Getting the job done correctly as opposed to funding some open ended UN peacekeeping force for decades?

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STemplar October 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Actually from what I've read they are pretty awful.

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STemplar October 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

They are worse though. They are beaten and they are essentially land pirates now. No cause they are ever going to achieve, just kind of rampaging though central Africa.

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crackedlenses October 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm

He said nothing about recolonizing Africa…..

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crackedlenses October 15, 2011 at 9:57 am

Name one person the Tea Party has killed or raped, directly or indirectly…..

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Tartan69 October 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Whether you agree with the Tea Party's platform or not, to morally equate them with the LRA in this way makes you a scumbag of the highest order. Shame on you.

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Kevin Metcalf October 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I think from a policy perspective the LRA represents a destabilizing element that could jeopardize American interests in promoting peace and security in Africa. While it's low priority, fulfilling this mission certainly won't work against any western interests. It also bears mentioning that there is a warrant for this individual's arrest issued by the ICC meaning that America is pro-actively working to support an internationally approved mandate. The risks are low and the return is high in terms of establishing America's ongoing commitment to its international obligations. Sudan's relationship with Al-Qaeda affiliate groups puts it in a special prominence alongside other more overt theaters of operations like Iraq and Af-Pak. Since the LRA is currently isolated regionally following the successful secession of South Sudan there is a window of opportunity to resolve the situation through the use of limited direct-action. It's certainly a better alternative to waiting 5-10 years for conditions on the ground to deteriorate necessitating a large scale military intervention, especially giving the nightmarish complexity of waging a large-scale 5GW war on the African continent.

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major.rod October 15, 2011 at 12:46 am

Darfur is a both a humanitarian issue and any AQ involvement is definitively a national security issue. The LRA though heinous isn't a national security issue while Darfur and the Sudaneses relationship with AQ is. The only reason to not go to the Sudan is the risk is greater and not an easy publicity win.

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crackedlenses October 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

Then why are we complaining? I'll gripe about this being low priority when we start sending combat troops as we did in Vietnam….

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Jayson October 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Things are much more interconnected globally than when the founders could even dream about.

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Mister Rose October 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Unfortunately, the mineral resources are going to be needed by our economy in the future. Why do you think China has been building roads and other infrastructure projects in the area?

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Gregory Savage October 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm

You're an a$$. You don't own the rest of the world. China controls something like 90% of the rare earth metals, time we started makind new friends.

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blight October 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I guess when the last of the world's coltan is in Africa, you'll claim divine right of kings as to why Europe and America deserve it more than Asiatics?

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Jayson October 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm

A more stable African nations the less areas for bad muslims to hide and plot and terrorize and train for the next big thing.

If we can do it with only a few hundred men then lets take it to them and the world becomes a safer place.

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FormerDirtDart October 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Because the government on Mexico hasn't requested additional help?

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FormerDirtDart October 14, 2011 at 9:07 pm

You're right, Pakistan didn't request US operations in their country. The US paid cash money for access.

"We do it because we can" …pfft…what utter ignorant nonsense

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FormerDirtDart October 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Without reading the letter linked above, I would venture to assume that this action will be under the auspices of the "Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act", approved unanimously, by both houses of Congress, in 2010.

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Joe Boyum October 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm

The sooner Joseph Kony is killed the better off the world will be.

Hopefully they will contribute a MC-12W to track this goons commo. Pablo style. Then a D boy sniper can save the ICC a lot of handwringing and embarassment over who sold weapons to who.

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Stephen Russell October 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Stage for " Vietnam 2" now send our forces into "darkest Africa" vs the Stans.
Scary.

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TLAM Strike October 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Well if your going to fight, fighting in Africa. China, Indochina, and the 'stans are murderous on European armies. While Africa has been rolled over by Europeans and Arabs so many times its a joke.

When Italy is able to conquer vast swaths of a continent you know they got to have crud for soldiers.

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moronoxy??what? December 3, 2013 at 7:41 am

Well, it , is 111 weeks later, and STILL NO VIETNAM 2! Must be the budget cuts….yeah, that's it…..:-)

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ajohnson379 October 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Kony is anything BUT Christian

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TLAM Strike October 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm

But its still telling that the first rebel army in sub-Saharan Africa President Obama decides to fight is the one claiming to fight in the name of the Christian God.

There are Muslim rebel and militia groups all over Africa killing Christians and Animists (for lack of a better term the various native religions) and President Obama had not sent troops to defend them.

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major.rod October 15, 2011 at 12:40 am

Understand the point you are trying to make but the LRA is as much fighting for God as AQ is fighting for Allah. Pointing to the Muslims killing Christians in Darfur would further your argument and rightfully so.

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blight October 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm

The LRA is just nutjob. They could pick any god to claim to fight for and they'd still be savages.

Anyone can claim to be fighting for God these days. It doesn't mean they really are.

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heath October 14, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Yet another war! What exactly is the compelling vital national security interest of Uganda? Did George Soros lose some money on a murky business deal in Uganda, or is Obama just hoping to help the Islamofascists conquer another part of the African continent— like he did in Egypt?

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moronoxy??what? December 3, 2013 at 7:43 am

It used to be a time when we (USA) were known for doing helpful things, other than for financial gain….could tracking this murdering, pillaging, rapist be one of those times….Hmmmmmmm.

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Kski October 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I see this advisory group terning into a SOF kill team to help Obamers, bubbdies

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major.rod October 15, 2011 at 12:59 am

There is no national compelling interest to justify going after the heinous LDA. Better for the Pres just to say it was another humanitarian mission we had to do (not that I buy that). What is strange is that we have a situation in Darfur that is very similar. Why not intervene there? Its all very difficult to understand and predict. Is that what we are trying to achieve with our foreign policy? Eventually, someone is going to guess wrong.

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Dumb Grunt October 15, 2011 at 4:08 am

This a European created mess. The Belgians were the worst, followed by the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Germans, Dutch, and the British; all sanctioned and encouraged by the Catholic Church. They made this by hacking up the continent, they should be the ones who should clean up their disaster.

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zhijb October 15, 2011 at 6:41 am

Dear Sir,(

I admire your quick, from-the-hip analysis based on sound historical data. I also am a big fan of your self-awareness, as displayed by your name.

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TLAM Strike October 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

Africans were living in mud huts when Europeans sailed the Atlantic for America, Africans were still living in mud huts when European decedents traveled though space for the Moon.

You get with the times or get steamrolled.

How come the only technologically advanced African nation is the one where white people held on to control the longest? Now its going far down hill since that ended.

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crackedlenses October 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

And now most of the Africans live in mud huts under the threat of war while the Europeans live in relative luxury with no threat of invasion. TLAM's point is still valid…..

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blight October 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm

What point? That the kingdoms of Mali were destroyed by exposure to Europe?

I guess civilization doesn't just come at the point of a gun: it is the point of a gun.

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Gregory Savage October 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm

The African moores invaded Europe during the Dark ages 1400's to be exact. They helped usher on the Renissance introducing science and universities when most Euorpeans only believed what the Catholic Church told them to, you know witch craft and what not. At any rate your knowledge of African history and anciestry is woefully lacking, thus how can you draw any conclusion other then a biased one?

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TLAM Strike October 16, 2011 at 12:26 am

Yea that Arab led Moors had a wonderful time raping and pillaging Spain (ask St. Pelagius of Cordova about that). The books they brought were ones they saved from the Civilizations they conquered. In other words they were simply the ones who saved the Greek and Persian (from the Persian built libraries in Babylon and Roman built one(s) in Alexandria), Chinese (acquired though trade), and Indian (who they massacred and took "Arabic Numerals" and the concept of Zero) knowledge that was forgotten in Europe and brought it back to Europe. Searching the Muslim world for knowledge came to an end when Europeans discovered a lot of that knowledge had been saved in Byzantium (Istanbul after it was conquered by the Turks in 1453).

If the Moors had such wonderful knowledge why is there not a Great Library of Morocco to visit like the libraries of the monasteries in Spain? Or the vast collections of the Vatican?

The "Dark Age" in Europe actually spawned modern machine labor. With the Black Death wiping out horrendous numbers of people the lack of labor forced Europeans to build labor saving tools. From the designers of these tools we get the Artisans of the Renaissance.

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TLAM Strike October 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm

And who conquered those kingdoms? Oh right it was the Europeans, and Mid Easterners.

And what were these Kingdoms? Oh that's right Theocratic Monarchies, it was the Romans who gave us Republics and the Greeks Democracy.

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blight_ October 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Rome turned into an autocracy beginning with Octavian and passed the tradition onto the Eastern Roman Empire. The tribes of Arabia were a confederation of tribes that eventually turned into the Caliphate with associated eventual Abassid/Umayyad fracturing. Either way, both West and East were just empires with an associated state religion. Democracy and Republics remained academic discussions until the Enlightenment.

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reggie October 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

More taxpayer's dollars pissed down a THIRD WORLD RAT HOLE!

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Brian Black October 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Several people posit that there are no US interests in this area. But this region has important unexploited mineral reserves. Rare metals such as tantalum and niobium are found here; these metals are used in electronic components and alloys used in jet engines. Such metals are already considered strategic materials and are stockpiled by the Defense Logistic Agency. If you want to build stealth fighters and hypersonic missiles you need these materials.

100 troops to help remove a major destabilizing factor in a strategic region seems like a good deal.

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moronoxy??what? December 3, 2013 at 7:45 am

DITTO!!

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crackedlenses October 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Personally I can't stand Shakira's music…….

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morriswise October 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm

The guns of adventurist African Americans could save the troubled natives in the dark continent. They will not be the usual white colonialists, but black hunters of the feared Joseph Kony and the LRA. It will take only 10 days to train a jungle fighter, all that is needed would be a machete and pistol.

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Gregory Savage October 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Hmm I have a computer scince degree and am of African decent. By your logic I shouldn't exist.

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blight October 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Putting Uganda to rights will bring them into the modern world. When African nations are freed of scumbags, terrorists and mad butchers, Africa will be able to take care of itself again, without turning to Europe for help; which is never bad press when dictators keep playing the "fighting Europe" card. And consequently, it means a rational player to work with when it comes with dealing with other issues related to Africa: namely, dealing with Al-Qaeda or future threats.

It might might the world a better place when African nations can send food aid to Somalia, instead of relying so much on Europe. A developed Africa means reduced immigration to Europe: a bone of contention with Europeans at home. We will certainly no longer be able to treat them like our red-headed stepchild this way, but in the long run we won't pour so much blood and treasure into humanitarian interventions or deal with the potential nexus of terrorists with Africa, or the drug cartels of South America using Africa as a stepping stone to Europe (and from Europe to the US, should it become difficult to ship drugs directly to the United States).

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Uncle Bill October 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I am very suspicious of Obama helping Muslims to kill Christians, like in Egypt. I realize guys like Kony aren't "true" Christians and AQ aren't true muslims, but in the big picture it's us against them.

But I've also heard this is part of improving relations with Uganda that includes their help sending forces under AU aegis to liberate Mogadishu from Al Shabbab. If that is true then I'm ok with this. But no escalation.

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hank October 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm

So this Administration allows Mexican Narco-terrorists access to military grade automatic weapons, grenades, and body armor …resulting in the predictable deaths of hundreds of Mexicans and a US border patrol officer… All the while Islamists appear to be taking over Egypt and Libya with the blessing of our leaders… Not suprisingly, I greet this latest African venture with guarded skepticism…

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blight October 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Where'd you get all this? Gunrunner moved semi-automatic weapons to Mexico. We gave death squads in El Salvador access to more; and we gave Iran weapons for nothing (as part of Iran Contra).

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PMI October 16, 2011 at 1:53 am

Wow this topic certainly got ugly fast.

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Oudin October 16, 2011 at 4:39 am

I think stupied idea, sent 100 people to chase or remove 1 person, very foolish idea.

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george October 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I just read an article which reported that George Soros has heavily invested in oil exploration in Uganda…Apparently Soros needs the US military to make the locals play nicely and see things his way… It's all starting to make sense now…

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blight October 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm

from wnd

"Soros sits on the executive board of an influential "crisis management organization" that recently recommended the U.S. deploy a special advisory military team to Uganda to help with operations and run an intelligence platform, a recommendation Obama's action seems to fulfill.

The president emeritus of that organization, the International Crisis Group, is also the principal author of "Responsibility to Protect," the military doctrine used by Obama to justify the U.S.-led NATO campaign in Libya.

Soros' own Open Society Institute is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, a doctrine that has been cited many times by activists urging intervention in Uganda."

Nothing on how he's going to directly make money off of Uganda.

Or

"Also in 2008, the Africa Institute for Energy Governance, a grantee of the Soros-funded Revenue Watch, helped established the Publish What You Pay Coalition of Uganda, or PWYP, which was purportedly launched to coordinate and streamline the efforts of the government in promoting transparency and accountability in the oil sector.

Also, a steering committee was formed for PWYP Uganda to develop an agenda for implementing the oil advocacy initiatives and a constitution to guide PWYP's oil work.

PWYP has since 2006 hosted a number of training workshops in Uganda purportedly to promote contract transparency in Uganda's oil sector.

PWYP is directly funded by Soros' Open Society as well as the the Soros-funded Revenue Watch Institute. PWYP international is actually hosted by the Open Society Foundation in London.

The billionaire's Open Society Institute, meanwhile, runs numerous offices in Uganda. It maintains a country manager in Uganda, as well as the Open Society Initiative for East Africa, which supports work in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

The Open Society Institute runs a Ugandan Youth Action Fund, which states its mission is to "identify, inspire, and support small groups of dedicated young people who can mobilize and influence large numbers of their peers to promote open society ideals.""

Versus Cheney being an ex-CEO of Halliburton, who kept his shares in Halliburton. No conflict of interest when KBR makes a killing in Iraq.

The real truth is that people with money love making money. They control the strings. You do not. However, they can pit the masses against each other just fine.

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Mastro October 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

I hate Soros but its good he invests in Uganda- it means they have a real economy and not some banana basket case.

Please, please no more conspiracy theories.

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Black Owl October 16, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Anyone here seen the film "Invisible Children?" I hope our guys kill that bastard.

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Black Owl October 17, 2011 at 1:11 am

You are an @$$ hole. You don't know that for sure and even if they are who gives a damn anyway. Joseph Kony has caused far more suffering than his miserable little life is worth and he needs justice BAD.

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Sev October 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Is that the new ECH that the green beret is wearing?

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Ned October 17, 2011 at 1:15 am

But, but…they have oil. Lots of oil http://crossedcrocodiles.wordpress.com/2009/06/10

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blight_ October 17, 2011 at 10:28 am

All four companies listed are British companies or Commonwealth in origin, interestingly enough.

Museveni sounds like a typical strongman. Then again, we've partnered with countries on shakier grounds.

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Mastro October 17, 2011 at 10:33 am

Its time to kill off the LRA-

Uganda is actually an OK nation now- a friend of mine worked in a hospital there.

This isn't a Vietnam thin wedge- they are sending some SF who will accompany the locals out in the field- and they will be armed for it- unlike the famous "55" in El Salvador who weren't allowed to carry M-16's because that was an "offensive" weapon.

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blight_ October 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

What "55" was this? During the '80s? Ironically I've never heard of it.

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John October 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm

President Peace Prize at it again.

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blight_ October 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Yup. Out of Bush's axis of evil, Bush took one (Iraq) and Obama the other (Libya).

Iran is still there, maybe next term (regardless of who wins) will do the dastardly deed?

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TaskForceGreen June 29, 2013 at 6:20 am

WHY shouldn't WE intervene? Africa needs as many US Special Ops on the ground as possible…Anyone seen Nigeria or Somalia lately? Or Mali? I agree we don't need to be the world "police" but genocide is genocide. Just cuz we are reluctant to use that word at Security Council meetings doesn't mean squat. We should be having AS MANY of our SEALs, Delta, Special Forces, etc as possible there (trust me, ask any US SOF operator and he would love to go….they train there constantly and when not in war, they are back home mowing lawns and babysitting the kids…the live for it)

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crackedlenses October 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Maybe something you missed is the fact that we moved on; the Africans/Arabs haven't. We may not have been superior to start with, but we have stopped acting like barbarians, while they haven't. I think that's the point we've been trying to make all this time…..

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Gregory Savage October 17, 2011 at 11:24 am

So the Nazis weren't Barbarian? You only see what you want to.

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blight_ October 17, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Oh goody, one Hitler example to take out of context. Don't forget Mussolini. And the various war criminals out of Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo.

There's a list of psychotics who have Done the Wrong Thing associated with sub-Saharan Africa, who didn't hit Hitler body counts but would have it they had tried.

By and large, the west has built societies that not only embrace rule by the people and consent of the governed (dangerous, because Hitler was elected peacefully and had "consent of the governed" during his killing) but also try to build cultures that respect the dignity of their neighbors regardless of race, creed and the like. Many European countries are beginning to fracture under the pressure of immigration though, but the state does not sanction violence against "outsiders" as has happened to "outsiders" historically.

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crackedlenses October 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Notice I said it in past tense. We have come a long way, and have massacred ourselves and them several times along the way. But to compare us as of now the bloody mess of instability that is Africa is rather far-fetched….

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blight_ October 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Averroes tried to rehabilitate the classics, but didn't quite succeed. Islam had its Shia/Sunni split early on, but it was on religious succession grounds and not anything philosophical in nature. They've never had their Martin Luther moment, where independent of outside prodding they are asked to push the boundaries of the literal word of god as a body, and not by individual philosophers asking the ugly questions.

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Gregory Savage October 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Tlam the reason I responded to you is because this is not the first veiled biggotted comment you made. You're facts were wrong and i checked you on them. You changed the subject like my wife would when she has no growm to stand on. I'd like to respect you but respect begets respect, and your comments are disrespectful.

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Gregory Savage October 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Point was we weren't just blindly rolled over and that is a fact. TLAM talks about Africans rapping in Europe during the moorish invasion. What about the French and Portugese slave traders. That doesn;t count I guess. We can go back and forth as much as you'd like, my only point is that we are all people and no one race is supperior to another which seems to be the jist of tlams racist posts. Yes Africans did invade Europe, yes hitler did kill millions of Jews. So is the LRA some how more barbaric then hitler? How come its fine for people to consider Africans worst when there own where doing the same thing. Don;t get me twisted though, I am an American first, love it here, would go no where else. I just want people to be consious to what they are saying, since not all people of African descent are barbarians just like not all Europeans where slave traders. Treat us like people too please.

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TLAM Strike October 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Not another "Hitler was elected" believer. Hitler was never elected, the NADAP was what won seats in the Reichstag, remember they have a parliamentary system like the UK. Hitler was APPOINTED Chancellor of the Reichstag by President von Hindenburg. When von Hindenburg died Hilter was able to force (unconstitutional) legislation though the Reichstag that combined the powers of Chancellor and President.

In the election of Nov 1932 the NADAP actually lost seats in the Reichstag (down to 33.1% from 37.8%), Hitler was then appointed Chancellor. Before Hitler forced the Enabling Act though (with help from the industrial/military Anti-communist faction of the Reichstag) the NADAP had only a 43.9% of the vote in the (last) March 1933 election making them the leading party but still a minority of the vote.

Hitler was less the result of the will of the people but the mistake of a dieing man and the will of the anti-communist elite of German industry and army.

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Gregory Savage October 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Sorry for all the typos broken hand makes it mighty hard to type accurately.

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crackedlenses October 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I don't see the racism you are accusing TLAM of; and as far as I know he hasn't made any major history blunders…..

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Gregory Savage October 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I agree, they need to apply the lessons of the world

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Gregory Savage October 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Hmm Maybe you're right, There are many perspectives to the same story.

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crackedlenses October 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Why have your people not learned as we have then? I'm asking honestly; the West is ahead of most African nations; why haven't they picked up on what we have learned here and applied it to their countries?…..

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