Uganda’s Detached Outrage

This week in totally f*cking insane Somalia news, Ugandan officials declare their utter shock at the random, unprovoked attacks on Kampala last week which killed over 70 people. As the very first sentence in a long and entertaining piece in AllAfrica.com says, “Uganda’s East African neighbours have pledged soft support should the country choose to go on the offensive in Somalia.”

Yes, go on the offensive. Because stationing five thousand troops in another country is no provocation whatsoever, at least not one recognized by the Western world. And after all, African regimes got their ideas of proportionality and nationhood from the West, a lovely little gift of colonialism. Before I digress too far, suffice to say that Uganda has been “on the offensive” for a while now in Somalia, what with its penchant for shelling Mogadishu residences full of civilians. Not that their opponents in al-Shabaab aren’t guilty of the same thing, but then, often it’s because they’re fighting the Ugandan occupiers or the pathetic puppet “Transitional Federal Government,” a UN-backed clique of former Barre apparatchiks and US-financed warlords.

This, as I spoke with on Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton recently, is the idea that history begins anew each time the US or any Western-accepted country is hit with some atrocity in retaliation. The US was attacked on 9/11 for no reason except possibly that bin Laden was jealous of and/or hated our capitalisms; the previous 50+ years of Washington’s intervention in the Middle East didn’t happen, if you ask Sarah Palin. Evil, conditionless al-Shabaab attacked peaceable, celebratory Ugandans for no other reason than that the former are anti-soccer and anti-modernity; Somalis being killed by Kampala’s troops on their own soil has nothing to do with it. The logic employed here could make a neocon just die from pride, with any luck.

Uganda’s blustery officials declare this “the beginning of the end of al-Shabaab”; and sure, if US experience in driving out native insurgencies in such success stories as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Vietnam are any indicator, the capable likes of powerhouse Uganda could enjoy similar victory. “Sources” say that Uganda is willing and able to increase its Somalia contingent from 5,000 to 20,000 troops, the magical number somebody for some reason decided is needed to wipe out al-Shabaab. A cited regional precedent is Zimbabwe’s involvement in the “Great African War” in the DR Congo in 1998, in which Robert Mugabe, the great democrat and statesman, sent 12,000 troops to prop up Laurent Kabila, an erstwhile Marxist so corrupt that even legendary scoundrel Che Guevara turned his back on him.

In all seriousness, as I point out in my recent op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor, this is a textbook case of blowback. It’s the clearest example we’ve seen in a while, which is why it’s so puzzling to see such reasonable people as African officials reacting with such surprise.

Ugandans should demand their government retreat from this downward spiral into fruitless and endless intervention and deal with more pressing issues, like the fact that homosexuals eat da poo poo and there are just still so many of them to put to death, and the other civilizational advancements for which sub-Saharan Africa is well known.

  • E. A. Costa

    East Africa used to be called "the three C's"– Capitalism (Kenya). Communism (Tanzania), and Chaos (Uganda).

    Guess times have changed.

    Ever notice how quickly the locals move when they spot a Tzetze fly?

  • E. A. Costa

    Well, the US military now has an Africa Command.

    That will insure chaos wherever order threatens to break out, to be sure.

    Meanwhile, the Communist Chinese, who are already recovered from the western economic collapse, are big–andgetting bigger every day–in Africa.

    You know why?

  • E. A. Costa

    Obama–just another mizungu.

  • Opoko Matek

    Mr. Jeremy Sapienza, I am Ugandan. To be precise Ugandan from Northern Uganda.
    I reside here in the US. I just wanted to commend you for your beautiful well written article.
    To say that you have hit the "Bull Eye" ., would be an understatement.
    US stooge dictator Yoweri Museveni has been promoting the politics of fighting wars and violence for the past 25 years of his rule in Uganda and the Great Lakes region plus somalia.
    Many have perished because of Yoweri Mucebeni's politics.

    I really do not blame the Somalis for attacking Uganda. I blame Yoweri Museveni ( and NRMO) policy of warmongering; the consequence of which , Ugandans must now suffer bare!
    once again thanx for this your wonderful article!!

    Opoko Matek

  • A reader

    Excellent points, Jeremy. Thank you for writing this. One quibble is your referrence to U.S. conduct in the Middle East over the past 60 years as "intervention." "Intervention" has positive, caregiving, lifesaving connotations. It would probably be more objective or accurate to use "interference," "invasion," or "imposing itself," etc.

    Your thoughts?

    • I disagree. Intervention in foreign policy settings does not have positive connotations.

  • D. Miller

    "…the previous 50+ years of Washington’s intervention in the Middle East didn’t happen, if you ask Sarah Palin."

    Nice shot at Sarah Palin even if totally irrelevant to your story. Possibly you could drag in the president of South Korea or of Taiwan to round out your silliness.

  • richard vajs

    I don’t have any problem associating Sarah Palin with any stupid foreign adventure that we are involved in. Sarah Palin represents all I hate about American “boosterism”. She embodies the ignorance, the Zionism, the selfishness, the cruelty, and most of all the shallowness of the typical American worldview – a view that we are always good and that anyone who thinks otherwise is evil. Sarah “adores” Israel. The whole essence of the wretched woman is to give moral support for all of the lazy brained, racist, selfish morons of the Right..

  • sometimes it is the right thing to intervene, granted there are lots of accounts where its clear the reason for intervention is not just to help the country out, but for example the UK, France, US and Germany helping out the innocent Libyan people being attacked by Gadaffi is surely the right thing to be doing?

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