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Before the United States invaded Iraq, the general public debated its justification.  Opponents of the war demanded to know: What was the threat?

Any answer from war supporters was refuted by the claim, “Saddam Hussein was contained.”  But supporters countered: Why was he being contained if he wasn’t a threat?  And they added, President Bill Clinton’s 1998 Iraq Liberation Act listed all of Hussein’s violations and made it U.S. policy to remove Hussein from power.

War opponents agreed but reminded supporters the Iraq Liberation Act never called for the use of troops.  Then it was asked: What “new” threat did the Iraqi regime pose to the United States?

War supporters rejected the necessity to prove a “new” threat.  The notion was an admission that Hussein was a threat while he was “contained” and it was a retreat from a moral obligation.  Supporters argued that, since economic sanctions punished  the Iraqi people more than their rulers the United States had a moral obligation to change the regime.

Iraq was invaded and afterward President George W. Bush stated he had a mission from God.  Finally, all participants in the war debate agreed, there was a difference between a moral obligation and a mission from God.  War supporters lost more faith when the cost of Bush’s mission became its own moral crisis.

Barack Obama campaigned to undo Bush’s errors in Iraq, but while Obama was in office, he encountered another man on a mission from God and Obama responded like Bill Clinton in 1998.

In 2010 President Obama promoted The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.

This act stated it was American policy to kill or capture Joseph Kony and crush his Lord’s Resistance Army rebellion. President Obama stated this crystallizes the commitment of the United States to help bring an end to the brutality of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army and to pursue a future of greater security and hope for the people of Central Africa.

This time there was no debate among the general public.

One writer summarized the consensus: It could be argued that every nation has a responsibility to stop war criminals like Joseph Kony, but atrocities happen with frequency around the world and the U.S. Military can’t police all of them.  In a time of economic crisis, intervention in foreign countries may be a luxury we can no longer afford.  But President Obama continued to support the effort to bring Joseph Kony to justice.

Recently, a report stated: The international manhunt for Joseph Kony has come to an end. Both Uganda and the United States said they were withdrawing forces dedicated to catching the warlord.

Before Donald Trump took office his transition team looked at the operation and found it of no value because $780 million was spent and Kony was still at large.  Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army is responsible for killing more than 100,000 people and forcing another 2 million out of their homes, but the United States and Uganda have bragged to the world that their decision to withdraw is proof that you don’t necessarily have to capture your enemy to beat him.

That’s true for kings on a chessboard.

But Joseph Kony is a Warlord, he won’t translate withdrawal as checkmate.

(J. Pharoah Doss is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier. He blogs at jpharoahdoss@blogspot.com)


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