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Inhofe defends Uganda mission on Tulsa talk show

Foreign Policy
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Five days after the Obama administration
quietly acknowledged they were sending 100 U.S. troops to act as “advisors” in
the east-central African nation of Uganda, questions are being raised by
increasing numbers of media people, politicians and members of the American
public.

You have MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asking if the public
supports Obama’s “invasion by press release.” And this morning, radio host Pat
Gray, sitting in for Glenn Beck, asking if “we have to protect everyone on this
planet?”

Added Gray: “Why aren’t we in Darfur? You’ve got to go to
Darfur if you’re going to Uganda.”

Darfur could be next. And with the newly-launched, U.S. and
EU-led “Global Counterterrorism Forum” (GCTF), promoted by U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, plenty of other countries and regions could be on the
list.

But first, Uganda, which we've written about here, here, here, and here.

Speaking today on Tulsa’s “Pat Campbell Show” on 1170 AM KFAQ, U.S.
Sen. James Inhofe, the Tulsa Republican who is an avid supporter of America’s
advisory role, told Campbell that the brutal-yet-ragtag Lord’s Resistance Army “is
a major terrorist movement” and that their reign of terror in this region of
Africa “affects several countries.”

Inhofe touted himself as being the only U.S. senator “who
knows anything about Africa, quite frankly,”

And he has referred to himself as "the official Senate point man for Africa."

“All we have to do is help with helicopters and our
intelligence,” Inhofe said, assuring Campbell that no Americans on the ground
in Uganda would be in harm’s way.

Said Inhofe: “Not one
of our troops is going to be in any kind of combat.”

Reminding Campbell and his listeners that the LRA is
composed of a “huge army of young kids,” led by messianic, cult-like leader
Joseph Kony, getting Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to cooperate with neighboring
African leaders – fellow “bush fighters,” as he called them – is key.

“If we bring this guy (Kony) down … there wouldn’t be a
following.”

Campbell inquired about Uganda’s dictator-for-life Yoweri
Museveni, a man Inhofe has long supported, and asked about the recent reports
of Ugandan citizens being forcibly driven off of their land by Museveni’s
soldiers on behalf of a British corporation called New Forests, a huge, moneyed plantation owner in this corner of Africa.

Inhofe told Campbell that Museveni is “doing a good job,” and
noted that Museveni, in power since 1986, recently won re-election. However, Inhofe
failed to note that Museveni does not support the idea of a multi-party
democratic system for his country and that the highly-contested 2011 presidential
election, according to EU election observers, was “marred by avoidable and
logistical failures, which led to an unacceptable number of Ugandan citizens
being disenfranchised.”

And what of the brutal removal of families off of their land
by Museveni’s soldiers, on behalf of carbon-credit seeking London-based
corporation New Forests, East Africa’s biggest forester? Inhofe wasn’t familiar
with that issue, even though The New York Times featured a major article about this situation one month ago. Yet, the Ugandan government refers to the residents on the
land, now claimed by New Forests, as “illegal encroachers,” according to a
recent Oxfam report.

Added the Oxfam report, following the savage evictions,
which first began in 2008: “Today, the people evicted from the land are
desperate, having been driven into poverty and landlessness. In some instances
they say they were subjected to violence and their property, crops, and
livestock destroyed.” These desperate people have not been offered compensation
and no alternative land in which to relocate.

And this is important to note as we find out more about this
“Plan Uganda” operation, promoted by Obama, Inhofe, Secretary of Defense Leon
Panetta
and others. The LRA preys on the weak and disenfranchised. The rest, they terrorize, maim and murder. A genocidal group, to be sure. Meanwhile, a foreign company
– seen in the eyes of locals as just the same old colonial powers dressed in
suits and ties – forces people off land they are cultivating for use for people
in their homes and villages. Homeless, these vulnerable people are going to look for
answers and when groups like the LRA – or the Somali al-Shabaab Islamist
network – come a’ courtin’.

And while Inhofe, a self-proclaimed Christian, who is known
to proselytize before leaders on his frequent trips to Africa, argues that with
a brutal group like the LRA still wreaking havoc, and the stability of the
region being critical, and ultimately to our national security, Obama sending advisors
to this area is prudent.

So, what of Inhofe’s ties to “The Family”? This was a
subject of a few chuckles when the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was mentioned
because of her interest in exposing this fundamentalist Christian group which
can claim Inhofe and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, the ultra-conservative Republican from Muskogee, as members. 

Inhofe kind of danced around talking about The Family, other than to infer that people like Rachel Maddow are going after him and the organization because they believe in Jesus.

And back to questions about the Obama-led Uganda mission. Is it wise?, Campbell asked.

"It's a wise thing to do," Inhofe said, adding, "We are not involved in a conflict."

However, when Campbell pressed how much money was to be used for the Uganda operation, Inhofe wasn't clear. And one question not asked was why Congress was not consulted - as required by the Constitution - before this operation was announced.

So, to be clear,a crack team of 100  combat-ready advisors will not be in harm's way or in a combat zone. And they are not fighting any gun-toting, LRA thugs, unless first attacked. Ah!  If this pretzel logic is becoming less confusing, please let us know.

Before Inhofe signed off, Campbell asked Inhofe, a member of
the Senate Armed Services Committee, if he had heard that Secretary of State
Clinton had suggested that American forces could next be deployed to the
most-populous Muslim nation – Indonesia.

“I don’t know anything about it,” replied Inhofe.

Considering Obama's childhood ties to Indonesia, and his mother's alleged CIA work there - and his stepfather's - one could speculate that Obama's overseas adventures have really only begun.

Listen to the podcast version of Sen. Inhofe's interview on Uganda on "The Pat Campbell Show" here.

Copyright 2011 West
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