Jonah Goldberg

Obama says that he's sending troops to protect our national security. Yes, the LRA is a terrorist group, but it's not at war with us. One could argue that improving our standing in Africa, particularly given China's rising influence and jihadism's spread, is a worthy foreign policy goal. But that's all a stretch, given Obama's past skepticism toward interventionism (as a presidential candidate, he said it was worth risking a potential genocide in Iraq to pull our troops as quickly as possible) and his almost incomprehensibly incoherent principles for where we should intervene (Libya, Yemen) and where we should not (Iran, Syria).

No, this is really just do-goodery, pure and simple.

And for that reason, the only serious argument against the deployment is that our troops are spread too thin to be distracted by charity work. It's a fair argument, and one that will rightly come up again when Democrats lobby for debilitating defense cuts.

Still, assuming the military can handle the load and the strategy's been properly vetted, the only reasons for the White House to be embarrassed have to do with its own convoluted rationales, precedents and political constituencies.

Under President George W. Bush, critics might have called this sort of thing an instance of "cowboy foreign policy." I never understood why the term was an insult. Cowboys do good when they can and where they can. They may not go looking for trouble, but they don't hide from it either. Yes, in movies and books, cowboys usually only shoot when somebody else has shot at them first. But every now and then a villain comes along who is so vile, so repugnant, so contrary to decency that the cowboy does what he has to do on the grounds that some men just need killing.

Joseph Kony strikes me as such a man.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Jonah Goldberg's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.