(CNN) — In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama has inherited another military challenge started by his predecessor. This off-the-radar drama is unfolding under the forest canopy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Its consequences could end up becoming deadlier than the two better-known cases, unless the Obama administration demonstrates the leadership of which it is capable.
With U.S. planning and logistical support, central African governments have recently joined forces to hit two very large hornet’s nests. These military offensives have not achieved their purported objectives, but they have already had severe impacts on the civilians caught in the crossfire.
The two hornet’s nests are two central African militias that most Americans have never heard of: the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known as the FDLR.
For over 15 years, these militias have committed some of the world’s worst human rights abuses with near total impunity for their actions. The LRA is a Ugandan militia specializing in the abduction of children to be used as soldiers and sex slaves. The FDLR, whose leadership contains some of those responsible for Rwanda’s genocide in 1994, uses mass rape as its war tactic of choice.
To read my full op-ed at CNN.com, click here.