Sunday, October 16, 2011

Who The Hell Are The Lord's Resistance Army?

As you may or may not be aware, Obama has recently made the decision to send a small (for us) number of troops- about 100- to Uganda with the intent of assisting in the regional fight against the Lord's Resistance Army, with a focus on leader Joseph Kony. This is being done to fulfill a commitment made by Obama and Congress in May 2010 via the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.

Now, it's quite possible you're not sufficiently versed in African politics to know what exactly the LRA is or what they've done to draw Obama's attention. Rush Limbaugh should serve as an example and cautionary tale in this respect. His immediate reaction, showing an astonishing lack of comprehension, was to endorse the LRA. As quoted by Christianity Today:

"Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. It means God," Limbaugh said on his program. "Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them."

At some point after that, someone must have gotten in Limbaugh's ear about what he'd just endorsed. The Washington Post whipped up a primer, but in short, the LRA has been responsible for a chilling array of war crimes. Kony claims to be a spokesperson of God, hence the name. The LRA is deliberately composed of child soldiers, who are induced to perform torture, mutilation, sexual slavery, mass displacement of entire villages, and the murder of their own families, among other things. There are even accounts of these child soldiers forcing people, including other children, to engage in cannibalism before killing them.

In long, here's a film from Al Jazeera. It runs 47:33. I do need to warn you of some graphic images, but if you're going to understand who the LRA is, it's important you have a look. (By the way, if you have hangups about Al Jazeera, don't. They're really quite good and not at all a propaganda outfit like they've been accused of being. In fact, they're almost shockingly straight-laced from an American perspective. You watch their news feed sometime, you start thinking there's something off about it, and then you realize that what's off is that there aren't any shouting matches.)

After Limbaugh found out about all this, going back to Christianity Today's account:

"Is that right? The Lord's Resistance Army is being accused of really bad stuff?" Limbaugh said later in the program. "Child kidnapping, torture, murder, that kind of stuff? Well, we just found out about this today. We're gonna do, of course, our due diligence research on it. But nevertheless we got a hundred troops being sent over there to fight these guys - and they claim to be Christians."

Ladies and gentlemen, let Limbaugh's example serve as a warning to the rest of you. Do your due diligence research BEFORE saying something you're going to profoundly regret. And if you find you have said something you will profoundly regret, profoundly regret it.

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