President Obama, Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, and the Lord’s Resistance Army
This isn’t breaking news, but in light of Rush Limbaugh’s vicious attacks on Sandra Fluke, I wanted to remind people—including companies that have recently pulled their advertising from his show—that this isn’t the first time that Mr. Limbaugh has engaged in morally reprehensible behavior. It’s good to have a couple of things in one place sometimes, lest we get distracted and forget.
Even more egregious than Limbaugh’s attack on Ms. Fluke, at least in my opinion, was his ignorant, knee-jerk defense of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) last year, apparently due to an overweening desire to smear President Obama at every opportunity. I say this not because I think President Obama needs protection from such a repugnant buffoon, but because of the legions innocent men, women, and especially children who have been brutalized by the LRA (more on them in a minute).
Do you remember this? On October 14, 2011, President Obama announced that he had ordered the deployment of 100 U.S. military advisers to help combat the Lord’s Resistance Army:
“I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield,” Obama said in letter sent Friday to House Speaker John Boehner and Daniel Inouye, the president pro tempore of the Senate. Kony is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
On the very same day, Limbaugh went off on one of his typically ugly rants, Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians (link goes to Limbaugh’s site, full transcript). He characterized them as oppressed freedom- and democracy-loving Christians fighting Muslims in Sudan, then went so far as to imply that President Obama was sending U.S. forces to kill them because they are Christian (which they’re not, at least not in any rational, practical sense—they’re savage thugs, terrorists, war criminals). He also implied that President Obama supported Muslim violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt. Read the transcript for yourself at the link above. There’s audio of the relevant parts at Media Matters if you’d prefer to listen instead (the embed code they use won’t work here).
Now, contrast that with actual factual information about about the LRA:
What is the Lord’s Resistance Army?
The Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA (PDF), is a violent rebel group led by a self-proclaimed messiah, Joseph Kony. Formed in 1987, the group was first called the Uganda People’s Democratic Christian Army but changed the name to the Lord’s Resistance Army in 1991. The fight between the Ugandan government and the LRA is one of the longest running conflicts in Africa, and the LRA is one of the most brutal forces in the world, known for targeting civilians, perhaps most notably, children it forcibly recruits to fight. Though the LRA originated in northern Uganda, it has since spread to neighboring Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.
In its early years, the LRA claimed to fight against the Ugandan government to defend the rights of the Acholi, a local ethnic group in northern Uganda. However, the LRA’s extreme brutality against fellow Acholi quickly contradicted those claims. The rebel group is notorious for murder, torture, mutilation, rape, widespread abductions of children and adults, and pillaging. […]
Since 1987 the LRA has abducted tens of thousands of children, forcing them to serve as soldiers, porters, or sex slaves.
Though they are often portrayed as a Christian fundamentalist group bent on establishing a government in Uganda based on the Ten Commandments, religion no longer practically serves as a raison d’être for the LRA; rather it is used selectively to ensure adherence to military discipline and create an environment where commanders are respected and feared. […]
Here’s more recent news, from today, about how over the past 30 days the LRA has been going on the attack again, this time in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The U.S. special forces trainers sent to Uganda have these monsters on the run, but they’re still deadly. God only knows how much worse things would be, how many more lives would have been lost, if they hadn’t been sent to assist:
Lord’s Resistance Army: After long silence, the US-tracked rebels attack
Its numbers may have dwindled to just 200 fighters, but the Lord’s Resistance Army continues to kill, terrorize, and displace people by the thousands.
One hundred US special forces trainers are working with the Ugandan military to put an end to the rebel group. And while they may have succeeded in sending the group on the run, the LRA has proven dangerous in its desperation.
The latest attacks have occurred in the last 30 days, with LRA attacks reported in the village of Bagulupa, 35 miles east of Dungu in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The attacks occurred on Feb. 10 and 24, and appear to have been standard raids for food. One person was killed, and 17 villagers abducted, probably for use as porters or sex slaves, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Most of the villagers of Bagulupa have fled toward the larger town of Dungu, the UNHCR says.
Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, the UNHCR’s spokeswoman in Geneva, voiced concern about the recent uptick in violence in the DRC, after a six-month lull in the latter part of 2011. […]
This is Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA):
Here is some of Joseph Kony’s handiwork:
This is what Rush Limbaugh has defended. Even a contributor over at Foreign Policy was sufficiently appalled by Limbaugh’s comments to write a short piece.
I want us to have a civil society again, but as long as Americans are willing to not only tolerate—but also to even applaud or desire to emulate—the ignorant, hateful, distorted rhetoric that issues forth from the mouths of people like Rush Limbaugh, the recently deceased Andrew Breitbart, Pamela Geller, Dana Loesch, etc. then I’m afraid there’s little hope for anything approaching the civility that my parents taught me was so important as I was growing up.
By the way, I was going to include a short documentary video about Kony & the LRA from Vimeo, but while I was busy collecting & typing all this someone else posted it on another LGF Page, so I’ll just point you over there to watch it.
One last note: If you’re on Twitter #StopKony is the hashtag to use when tweeting about (or looking for info on) Joseph Kony & the LRA.