You know ligtning and thunder?
No, not the natural phenomena. Operation Lightning Thunder, I mean.
Operation Lighting Thunder; that million dollar military offensive conducted by the Ugandan, South Sudan and Congolese forces.
Operation Lightning Thunder; that intended to bombard Joseph Kony’s camp, scare the bejesus out of the Lord’s Resistance Army and force them to their knees in surrender.
Operation Lighting Thunder; that which did succeed in scattering the LRA, but pushed them into civilian populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo where they have killed, abducted, mained and displaced thousands.
Turns out Uganda isn’t fully to blame for the kafuffle that is Operation Lightning Thunder. We went for help to the one country whose foreign military exploits in the past decade have been … how to say this … flawed? Failed?
“U.S. Aided a Failed Plan to Rout Ugandan Rebels” the New York Times reports today.
The article available, online here, says the American military helped to plan and pay for the attack on the LRA. Senior American military officials said a team of 17 advisers and analysts from the Pentagon’s Africa Command worked closely with Ugandan officers on the mission, providing satellite phones, intelligence and one million dollars in fuel.
According to the New York Times no American forces ever got involved in the ground fighting.
This is how the partnership between the Uganda and the U.S, worked:
The Ugandan government asked the American Embassy in Kampala for help.
The request was sent up the chain of command in November to President Bush
President Bush (oh, help!) personally authorized it
The American advisers and Ugandan officers used satellite imagery and Ugandan field intelligence reports to triangulate where they believed Mr. Kony and his fighters were hiding.
On December 13, the day before the attack, several American advisers traveled to a staging site near the Uganda-Congo border for a final coordination meeting.
The rest, we know. Something about fog, losing the element of surprise and the UPDF bombing of a totally empty camp. The LRA, to prove their ‘strength’, kill 150 people on Christmas day. In one town they ate the villagers’ Christmas feast and then dozed among the corpses.
We just don’t learn, do we?