WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), today submitted a written statement to a hearing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the deployment of U.S. Forces to Uganda to assist the Ugandan military to pursue Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Over the past 15 years, Inhofe has led the legislative effort to end the LRA’s reign of terror.
In the submitted statement, Inhofe wrote: “I want to applaud my good friend Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen for holding this hearing, and thank her for allowing me to submit this testimony for the record. Kony’s and his LRA’s brutality have created a region of terror and lawlessness that is open to the influences of extremist and terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda that have begun expanding operations throughout Africa. The more stability we bring to Africa, the more secure America and the world is from terrorism.”
STATEMENT OF SENATOR JAMES M. INHOFE AT THE HEARING ON THE DEPLOYMENT OF U.S. FORCES IN CENTRAL AFRICA AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LORD’S RESISTANCE ARMY DISARMAMENT AND NORTHERN UGANDA RECOVERY ACT, BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OCTOBER 25, 2011
I want to applaud my good friend Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen for holding this hearing, and thank her for allowing me to submit this testimony for the record.
I became involved in the fight against Joseph Kony and his murderous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) 15 years ago when I first travelled to Central Africa. As the most travelled Senator to Africa in the history of the U.S. Senate, I know that for 20 years, Kony and his LRA have been responsible for one of the longest and most violent conflicts on the continent, and they continue to destabilize the countries of Central Africa.
Kony’s and his LRA’s brutality have created a region of terror and lawlessness that is open to the influences of extremist and terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda that have begun expanding operations throughout Africa. One million have been displaced. Tens of thousands have died. Thirty thousand children have been kidnapped and either killed, turned into ‘Child Soldiers’, sex slaves or mutilated by having their limbs, nose, lips and ears cut off (see attached graphic photos). Eliminating the LRA threat will help stabilize the region. The more stability we bring to Africa, the more secure America and the world is from terrorism.
The LRA is not a Christian organization. The Catholic Church in Uganda has disassociated and condemned Kony and the LRA. They are guilty of crimes against humanity, and the State Department has designated Kony a “global terrorist."
This is not a War Powers Resolution issue. Our troops will be carrying out policies congressionally mandated by law – the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-172)-- which I helped pass in the Senate, and which calls on the U.S. to work with African governments to “apprehend or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield.” Our national security purpose there could not be clear.
There are already over 1,000 U.S. troops supporting twenty countries in Africa. The up to 100 U.S. forces deploying to Uganda will not be engaged in combat. They will train, equip and advise the Ugandan military forces carrying out this mission. This is not a Libya. Our assistance there will help build African military capacity in this region so that Africans can eliminate this threat, secure their own countries, and prevent the spread of terrorism.
For years, the U.S. ignored the growing threat in Afghanistan. We cannot afford to repeat that mistake in Africa. It is time to end Kony’s reign of terror.