On Friday we learned that President Obama authorized the deployment of 100 Special Forces troops to Central Africa, to help regional armies remove from the battlefield senior leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is known for committing horrific crimes as well as using child soldiers.
Today in our exclusive interview with President Obama, I asked about the “process of agreeing to deploy troops in a situation like this where you know that these Special Forces might have to return fire and they might be firing upon child soldiers. How difficult is that as a decision to make?”
The president responded that “none of these decisions are easy. But those who are familiar with the Lord’s Resistance Army and their leader, Mr. Kony, know that these are some of the most vicious killers, they terrorize villages, they take children into custody and turn them into child soldiers, they engage in rape and slaughter in villages they go through. They have been a scourge on Uganda and that entire region, Eastern Africa.
“So there has been strong bi-partisan support and a coalition — everything from evangelical Christians to folks on the left and human rights organizations — who have said it is an international obligation for us to try to take them on,” he continued. “And so given that bipartisan support across the board belief that we have to do something about this, what we’ve done is we’ve provided these advisers, they are not going to be in a situation where they are called upon to hunt down the Lord’s Resistance Army or actively fire on them, but they will be in a position to protect themselves.
“What they can do is provide the logistical support that is needed, the advice, the training and the logistical support that hopefully will allow this kind of stuff to stop,” he said.
– Jake Tapper