US action is necessary to assist Uganda

_Editor’s note: this article has been updated from a previous version originally posted Oct. 16._

Crimes cited under the Lord’s Resistance Army’s activity include a horrific myriad of atrocities. Since 2008, it’s been responsible for the deaths of more than 2,400 people, 3,400 abductions, over 380,000 displaced persons across the region, according to the Department of State. The movement that originally was to overthrow the Ugandan government quickly morphed into a launch of attacks without a cause.

Such statistics has compelled the need for a third party to step in, as this has gone far beyond being a political issue; it is now a humanitarian one. That is exactly why the United States has been working in the region since 2008.

In an effort to step up the United States’ efforts in fighting the LRA, President Barack Obama is deploying about 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to act as military advisers to the Ugandan government against LRA leader Joseph Kony and his top commanders. With the region’s political leaders backing Obama, the troops will act as special operations forces to help “gather intelligence,” rather than combat on behalf of Uganda, according to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Most in opposition to the troops’ dispatch have argued valid points: Facing a decade of fruitless warring, the highest unemployment rate in recent history and one of the worst economic downturns in our nation’s history, why must we feel the pressure to police the world? Why can’t anyone else step up?

Other international initiatives to aid African nations do not have the manpower needed to take the action needed. For the horrific offenses committed by the LRA, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for LRA leader Joseph Kony’s arrest in 2005. But as of now, international groups have been unable to sequester him, and odds are, won’t be able to for years to come. MONUSCO, a U.N. operation with the mission to stabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other international efforts have thus far failed to provide peace, as the LRA still has significant influence in the area.

Yes, the United States is in bad shape. But while we still have the ammunition to make an impact, whether it be in large-scale tsunamis or mass murder, we can’t afford to watch a population suffer such inhumane acts of crime.