Bachmann Weighs in on Uganda Operation

Yesterday I discussed in some detail President Obama’s deployment of 100 members of our armed forces to Uganda in an effort to help local military units isolate and defeat Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. I noted that the action was authorized by Congress early last year and that the president was acting well within the bounds of the Constitution and federal law.

I also predicted how the GOP presidential candidates would respond, but never imagined that at least one of them would shoot from the hip so soon after the deployment was announced by the White House.

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann offered measured criticism of incumbent President Barack Obama’s move this week to send U.S. troops to Uganda.

Obama informed Congress on Friday that he had deployed 100 special operations troops to Uganda to assist the government there in fighting a rebel group known as the Lord’s Republican Army, according to news reports.

At a stop In Rock Rapids this afternoon, Bachmann cautioned that she wasn’t clear on the details of the operation, but expressed some skepticism.

“When it comes to sending our brave men and women into foreign nations we have to first demonstrate a vital American national interest before we send our troops in,” she said.

At a later event in Estherville, Bachmann expanded her comments slightly:

“We heard this afternoon that the president of the United States committed 100 more troops in Uganda,” she said. “So we are already engaged in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya and now he’s sent another 100 more over to Uganda. I will tell you George Washington was right when he said in his farewell address, be careful of unnecessary foreign entanglements.”

Oy. Rep. Bachmann needs to do one of two things: (a) hire a current events researcher to stay on top of breaking news, research the essential facts and then brief her on the salient details or (b) remain silent until she knows what she’s talking about.

While it’s certainly laudable that Mrs. Bachmann prefaced her remarks by noting she was not clear on the details, that fact alone should have prevented her from saying anything at all. Gaffes are committed in just such circumstances by politicians and candidates for office who are overly eager to be the first ones to opine on a recent news item.

Moreover, what she actually had to say amounted to little more than empty platitudes at best  and foolishness at worst, seeing as how she was a member of the 111th Congress which passed the “Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009” with bipartisan support on May 10.

Inasmuch as it would be entertaining to ask Rep. Bachmann how she voted on this legislation, it would ultimately be pointless: the bill was passed by a simple voice vote in the House and no record was kept of how each representative voted. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Mrs. Bachmann announces sometime next week that, of course, she voted against it.

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