@JackMurphyRGR just a question here. I have not watched the video and dont think i will, but what gives with the obviously out of place white chaps so oddly handling those borrowed weapons?
Is it safe to say that these guys are woefully out of place? Does the one realize he is actually holding a RPG and knows which end to point where? If i am way off base here i do apologize as i really dont want to watch an obviously crock pot bull shit video.
After reading the all the comments I thought I'd weigh in myself with a few thoughts. 1) I'm happy the Leftists and hipsters have finally found a bad guy they can actually identify as a bad guy. Generally these people have always been pretty blind to the murderous brutality of Quadaffi, Saddam, Kim Jung Ill and various and sundry other low life killers going all the way back to Stalin and Hitler. If the bad guys aped the slightest ideological bent towards socialism or communism it was enough to get a pass from the American Left. To a certain extent Kony made his problems for himself by calling his outfit the Army of God, because if there is one thing the Left is hostile to, its.....Never mind. Anyway, it's really great they have found this relatively small dragon to slay. It can be done on the cheap, its happening where there are virtually no US interests at stake and Kony is not the ally of China, Russia or any European power that might take offense to our kiling him. It's perfect for the people who think American soldiers should only die in places and for causes that have nothing to do with US interests. 2) That being said, we should kill the guy. I'm in favor of the US generally killing off the worlds bad guys wherever we can find them. Our troops love to do that kind of thing, its good exercise for them and its totally motivating. In the future though we should aim as high as possible in killing bad guys and not just restrict ourselves to taking out the provincial thug in the jungle with a few hundred AKs. 3) As for our long term interests in Africa its mostly oil related. There is a lot of oil in Africa. But it isn't easy to get out of the ground and transport. Africa is a harsh place to work and an even harsher place to live. The entire continent is so politically unstable, so institutionally corrupt and ethnically fractured that doing business there is virtually impossible. An American company could spend billions on exploration, facilities, ports and pipelines and end up seeing it all getting seized by whoever takes over the in the annual Coup and junta festival that Africa seems to hold without announcing the date. No American company can gamble like that with shareholder money without getting crucified at the next stockholders meeting. Which is why the Chinese are willing to gamble on Africa. Oil companies in China have PLA Admirals and Generals on their boards of directors rather than Worton MBA. In the end it probably won't matter, Africa is Africa, China will learn that on their own, the hard way. Sensibly, all we should be doing in Africa is fighting islamist terrorists if we can sort them out from the generic homegrown terrorists like Kony who's ambitions are more local, like within 20 miles of his basecamp. But it will do for now.
My theory was that we sent them in as a "Thank you" to Uganda for all the help they are giving us in Somalia, with al-Shabab. you kill our enemies, we will kill yours.
Ha Ha! Look what's happening with the MEK:
Do we have any Local African Insurgents training here in the US?
Late to the conversation but from what I've read I'd like to point out a couple of things.
1. Kony is real. Kony is a bastard but there is nothing unique about him. You can throw a rock in Africa and find 100 more 10 times worse than him on his worst day.
2. Influence and China. China is spreading good will and cash to gain influence. The goal? Access to precious resources. The US is responding in kind because resources are a component of national security. However, due to the current war weariness, you can't state that straight out. You need a hook and Kony is that hook.
3. Jack isn't the only person that has this point of view. I know of several hundred people that all believe the same.
4. US activity in the region is increasing. Both visibly and behind the scenes. AFRICOM has been a low level player until recently. Now its getting resources that were once reserved for CENTCOM. That should be proof enough of the importance of this region.
5. Don't forget the role that Uganda is playing. We're fighting Kony (or rather US Army Special Forces is) and the Ugandan military is fighting in Somalia against the terrorist (probably with Special Forces help along with some other friends in SOCOM).
@No Body i like this. its the new colonialism. who can be africa's favorite?
China:i built you a pipeline!
USA:yeah, well, i killed Kony!
both: Pick me!Pick me!
@No Body Agreed across the board. Good post.
@No Body Sadly, I see two things happening here. Uganda drags out this war with Kony as long as humanly possible to continue getting funding/kickbacks from the US as is happening in the Philippines and second, Kony is just the African version of WMD's in Iraq. It's a device to sell the war to the public but then we get over there, it turns into a shit show and no one knows how to turn it off because we'd lose so much face in the context of international politics.
@JackMurphyRGR @No Body "Kony is just the African version of WMD's in Iraq. It's a device to sell the war to the public but then we get over there, it turns into a shit show and no one knows how to turn it off because we'd lose so much face in the context of international politics"
I don't think that's an issue. we aren't sending in an invasion force, just SOF, who we have in similar numbers in Yemen, Mali, ect. I don't think this is gonna get bigger than it is, its just standard SF advisory stuff. we could pull out tomorrow and it might not make the evening news, and we'd loose no political face. there just isn't a big enough war to turn it into a shit show. yet
@ajmidget94 @No Body Granted, Africa is an area that we have always been able to ignore politically. A lot of things happen there because we are distracted elsewhere in the world. That said, we started off with a small SF advisory element in Vietnam in the early 60's. I think a serious commitment is being made in Central Africa. I've expanded on these ideas some, the article should be out later this week.
@JackMurphyRGR Well said. But what has me curious is this. Will Africa be the place where US advisors (Special Forces) or Special Operations Units (Rangers, SEALs, MARSOC, AFSOC) get into their first "accidental" firefight with Chinese advisors?
Before everyone tells me I'm crazy, if history is a guide then the Korean War was the proxy that led to US forces for the first time facing Russian advisors..
Do you think inhibiting China's resource grab there is a valid strategic objective? Is denying Al Qaeda, AL Shabaab, et al unrestricted growth and freedom in the region a valid strategic goal? Do you think enabling a secure(ish) environment for NGO's to deliver humanitarian aid a valid strategic objective?
If none of those are yes, then I can see where your concerns outweigh the benefits. But if those are valid objectives, then I'm hard pressed to see how the US can operate very differently than they are today.
And @No Body is correct that the Ugandan military is doing the bulk of the fighting against Al Shabaab and the bulk of the feet-on-the-ground stabilization efforts. The progress they've made in Mogadishu since when I was there last year till now has been impressive. Any support we may provide them has been paying off.
@No Body Great break down brother!
@No Body Spot on. A few notes:
2. I think China stole a march on us in that regard, what with the Confucius Institutes popping up everywhere. I'm not sure America has a comparable culture that we could use as a charm offensive but we could always keep doing what we've done in the past and recruit all of Africa's best and brightest to work for us for a little while. They will go back later to try and improve their countries in about a decade or so but that self-regeneration is really important.
5. Funny you should mention the Ugandan government. My friends among the moderate liberals are totally cool with taking Kony out but as usual, there will be those that do not want to give credit where credit is due and keep pointing out that the Ugandan government is just as bad, if not worse. To paraphrase the words of a certain NVA officer, that may be true but it is also irrelevant.
We will, of course, use Museveni and broom him when we're done. We need to make sure that he's gone for good when the time comes though, so that he doesn't become a Chinese asset later on.
@Ben K More on the Chinese Tech Threat:
@Ben K @Old PH2 Ben, I have a friend who is a respected Theologian who is teaching in Hong Kong and often travels around including China to make presentations. He was born in Hong Kong but moved here when he was little (the south so he can have a half Chinese half Southern accent). Brilliant guy and speaks besides naturally English (Cambridge educated I think) but Cantonese and Mandarin. He HATES China. Sends me articles and photos which are unbelievable and essentially says that China is totally morally bankrupt. But don't get him started on N. Korea :) Gee, the Russians send up Sputnick and we change our educational system to generate more scientists and engineers. China/N. Korea send up ICBM's and barely a news burp. Oops getting off topic.
@Old PH2 Yes, I'm a fairly regular reader of Defense Tech. You're also preaching to the choir here about China as a threat to US interests, man. Now, how to convey that to others without sounding like a wingnut who is more at home on Fox News than in a reasonable debate.
@Ben K These two pages from the NY Times speak to the reasoning behind our current push against China in Africa and other places:
@Old PH2 Best advice - question everything! And expand your sources to include those coming from adversary states in addition to knowledgable Western sources. The closer to the original source of the information that you can get, the better.
@jeffreycarr Every now and then I wonder if I should have traveled up the road to Cory Station instead of going to Photo School in P'cola. How can a regular guy like me get it? Of course I can't claim to follow everything. But wow, sometimes I just stand back and preform a big Face Palm!
@Old PH2 @Ben K I know plenty of folks who still shrug off China as a threat. It's a common intelligence analysis problem known as mirror-imaging. Western analysts have a hard time understanding what's happening in Asia because they see everything from their Western perspective. It's why the CIA completely missed India's launch of its first nuclear missile in the late 90's.
@Old PH2 @Ben K To follow up on my last comment, the reason why the U.S. is now confronting China in Africa after neglecting it for 10 years or more, is because (1) the U.S. is competing for those same resources and (2) we're worried that if China can keep fueling its growth, that it'll put the U.S. and the West in a very difficult spot from a power projection point of view five to ten years from now.
@Old PH2 @Ben K Moving against China in Africa is un-related to Chinese espionage activities. Africa represents one thing to China - resources. Resources that it cannot survive without since its domestic resources supply only 10% of its needs. China is pursuing these resources all over the world, of course - not just in Africa but that's why they're in Africa in the first place.
@No Body Great break down. Raise your hands if you didn't see this coming. Anyone? Beuller? Beuller?
Wow.. this whole topic is fucked. I'm kinda disappointed that this is Jack's take on things, but we all have our points of view.
The specific Kony video was a fundraising ploy by an NGO, not a government marketing campaign. Painting it as an American government conspiracy muddies the water for actual humanitarian efforts.
The US also does have valid strategic interests in inhibiting China's efforts in Africa. I'm not really on board with trying to paint that as some evil conspiracy either.
Not really sure what the point of it was?
@jrexilius Perhaps you should scroll down where Jack points out that it was a fundraising ploy by an NGO, and I think you'll find him in agreement.
@JackMurphyRGR yeah, I can see where you're coming from. I'm not sure they're euphemisms as the motives are pretty clearly the three I listed, in that order. I'm not sure that we always make the best choices with regard to being world police but the world doesn't always conform to binary options that are "cleaner".
One aspect that is worth considering is we can't really bully or strong-arm China out of Africa and we can't beat them on price.
Another problem is that the US government is _just_ the US government. They can't make private companies invest or trade with another country. When we compete with the Chinese government, internationally, they are both the government _and_ the commercial interests.
And China, aside, the other two objectives are worth addressing. There is the question as to worth how much, and a full-on war is very obviously not worth it. But that's way at the other end of the slider from doing nothing.
@jrexilius The issue is that those are often nice sounding euphemisms that are used to sell an alterior motive to the public. Stablization and humanitarian efforts are just a facade, destablization is more likely to result if the past is any indication. The big difference is a matter of how we view foreign policy. If you think spreading ourselves out across the globe is a good thing, if you really believe that policing the streets of Kabul is vital to US national security, than yes, going into Uganda is a good thing. Having seen the complexities of the issues involved, I'm afraid that I'm a little more skeptical.
@JackMurphyRGR probably, I personally don't have a problem with any of the not-very-secret objectives we have in africa:
1) inhibit china from dominating the supply side of the region
2) deny muslim extremist groups unfettered growth and movement
3) assist in stabilization and humanitarian efforts.
which of those are evil?
@katgirl231 Nah, they just share grooming standards ;-)
@jrexilius It sounds like we agree about what is happening but you think it is a good thing while I see it as a bad thing.
@JackMurphyRGR again, I'm failing to see a problem. Just because we have both strategic and humanitarian issues in the same AoR doesn't make us evil or there be some conspiracy involving NGO's. And as I staid below, we've learned that pursuing purely military goals in some theaters without regard to stabilization or humanitarian efforts is sub optimal.
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@KCfromKC If I've learned 1 thing over the last 3 days it's this: Don't ask questions.
@BrandonWebb @Tango9 @KCfromKC Jeez, I've been away for a little while and missed all kinds of things. LCPLX turned into an asshole troll? WTH?
@Matt2 Get a grip, nobody is at fault. Some people enjoy a good beer, some want to watch TV, others just pull your chain. Not your fault, just the way it is.
@Matt2 or use the IP mapping software and post it j/k j/k
@Tango9 U kill me :D