Russ Feingold, author of the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Relief Act of 2009, has responded to the news that President Obama sent 100 combat-equipped troops to Uganda last week. I said I would follow up on that, so here it is:
The author of that legislation, former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., told ABC News in a statement that “our legislation did not authorize the use of force by American troops anywhere,” but he noted that the bill “did call for a comprehensive approach in dealing with the Lord’s Resistance Army, which includes military, intelligence, diplomatic, and development components.”
Feingold said, “If the military advisors being deployed by the President are being used to facilitate information and intelligence sharing, including among regional militaries, that is consistent with part of what our bill was seeking. But that mission should be just one piece of a larger strategy that focuses on civilian protection in the broadest sense.”
Human rights groups, it should be noted, generally responded favorably to the action.
The upshot is that if this is a limited move and part of an overall strategy, it’s consistent with the bill. If it’s a pretext to unleash US troops to hunt down Joseph Kony, which is what a lot of my critics are cheering, actually, it’s not consistent with the bill. Right now, the action the President announced is limited, in that the troops cannot shoot unless in self-defense, and in that the President asserted that the troops are there mostly for facilitation. We can watch to see if that continues.
The rest of this I refer back to my previous remarks.