Best Defense

Getting rid of all bad guys: The American mission, or a recipe for forever war?

Rajiv Chandrasekaran had a very good look at U.S. special operators pursuing warlord Joseph Kony. Well worth your reading. But in it, my hackles were raised by this comment from an American diplomat: “Is Joseph Kony a direct threat to the United States? No,” said Scott DeLisi, the U.S. ambassador to Uganda. “He’s not targeting ...

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Wikimedia

Rajiv Chandrasekaran had a very good look at U.S. special operators pursuing warlord Joseph Kony. Well worth your reading.

But in it, my hackles were raised by this comment from an American diplomat:

“Is Joseph Kony a direct threat to the United States? No,” said Scott DeLisi, the U.S. ambassador to Uganda. “He’s not targeting U.S. citizens. He’s not targeting U.S. embassies. He’s not al-Qaeda.”

Instead, DeLisi said, Kony merits U.S. involvement because his malign behavior runs counter to “our core values.”

“Why is the United States engaged in the world, for God’s sake?” he said. “If we are true to what we believe in as Americans … we need to get rid of Joseph Kony.”

Justifications like that make me sympathetic to the Bacevichians who want us to pull back. If the U.S. mission in the world is to get rid the world of evil, we are going to be fighting for a loooong time. Among other things, that likely will undermine our nation. So by trying to enforce American values abroad we may lose them at home.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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