It’s A Kony Game
- by Bill the Butcher
- Posted on 16 March, 2012
Somewhere in the scrub forests of East-Central Africa is a man so evil that he is the epitome of all that is wrong with the Universe, a man so utterly vile that tracking him down and bringing him to justice is a Holy Crusade, one that should involve children from around the world.
It’s a Children’s Crusade, too, because this monster is allegedly a uniquely savage predator of children, pulling them away from their families to conscript them into his savage personal army; thousands and thousands of them. This monster must be stopped.
And there is just one force which can stop him.
If you think this sounds like the plot of a hackneyed Hollywood action movie, you wouldn’t be wrong.
For anyone who hasn’t cottoned on yet, I’m talking of the Internet’s latest involuntary star, the Ugandan war criminal and militia leader Joseph Kony. He’s the star of an internet campaign by an “activist group” called Invisible Children, who have made a video which went viral on YouTube and gathered many million views. If it were a Hollywood film, it would be called a terrific hit.
In fact, in many ways, it was like a Hollywood film, carefully constructed to elicit an emotional response with a minimum of thought involved. In fact, the very slickness of the video, its obvious attempt to make the viewer think as the makers want them to think, immediately aroused resistance and suspicion. Making things even more Hollywoodish was the involvement of “activists” like Angelina Jolie, who claimed “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t hate Kony”.
Really, lady? You don’t know anyone who doesn’t hate Kony? Try any of the more than 99% of the planet’s population who have never heard of him.
Just who might Joseph Kony be, anyway?
Born in Northern Uganda, Joseph Kony was a onetime altar boy who later came to command a militia called the Lord’s Resistance Army. This militia itself grew out of something called the Holy Spirit Movement, a messianic Christian cult of the Acholi people, which tried to oppose the government of Ugandan President Yoweri Museweni. Here is an excellent account of the LRA’s origins.
Now, Mr Kony is not, actually, a nice person. Let’s be very clear about this; Mr Kony is a very nasty person, and his Lord’s Resistance Army is by all accounts an extremely nasty militia. Over the last three decades and a bit, it’s murdered many people, kidnapped many more (estimated at thirty thousand, if you believe the reports) to make some of them into child soldiers and sex slaves, and mutilated a not inconsiderable number. You’d say that his reputation as a villain has some justification, and the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museweni the Chosen One who’s supposed to defeat Kony and bring him to justice, is the right man for the job.
The problems with that are, actually, many.
In the first place, Kony isn’t the Ultimate Evil he’s painted to be. In fact, he’s not even a particularly repulsive warlord by Central African standards, and probably no worse than Museweni himself, whose own depredations were the reason the Acholi people rebelled in the first place. Museweni, a close ally of the Empire, is a man who’s up to his neck in war crimes himself, and is one of the worst culprits of the civil war in Congo – along with his erstwhile ally and protégé, the Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame.
While Kony’s LRA of course did use child soldiers, that’s an extremely common occurrence in sub-Saharan Africa, and quite logical when you think of it. Children, actually, make superb soldiers. They obey orders utterly without question, they have no intrinsic moral compass, and they lack a sense of self-preservation. They can be utterly and fearlessly brutal without even knowing the implications of what they’re doing. They are smaller than adult soldiers, require less food and facilities, and can be kept going with drugs like amphetamines as long as required. And in an overpopulated and impoverished part of the world, when they die, they can be replaced easily and cheaply. Armies all over sub-Saharan Africa have used child soldiers to fight their battles.
And if that sounds strange, it’s because when most people hear the word “army”, they think of a force with a centralised command structure with soldiers commanded by, and under the control of, a central authority. But most African militaries aren’t like that. They may wear uniforms and carry modern weapons, but in most respects they have more in common with their militia opponents than with an army in other parts of the world. Their generals act more in the way of warlords than officers of a military hierarchy. These generals fight wars for personal profit as much as for political or nationalistic reasons. Museweni is as guilty of fighting such wars as Kony, and is guilty of far more deaths.
And this is the Saviour the people behind Invisible Children want to aid to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Actually, there are far more things that are wrong with that idea. For one thing, Invisible Children claims that they are not “overlooking” the crimes of the Ugandan Army, and yet are passionately pushing for arming that same Ugandan Army. This strange dichotomy gets even worse when one realises that the Empire has sent a hundred Special Forces to “train” Museweni’s army and pursue Kony, wherever he may be, and that one of Invisible Children’s prime aims is to ensure that those Special Forces stay where they are.
This is strange on several levels. First of all, though the Lord’s Resistance Army originated in northern Uganda, it has not been there for years and as far as is known is now over a thousand kilometres away. This is something the people at Invisible Children themselves admit – but nobody who watches their Kony video will come away having learned that little fact. The northern Ugandans themselves are severely resentful of the video’s implication that they are still at the mercy of the LRA; they have long since moved on with their lives and they want to be left alone to move on with their lives.
I said that the LRA was nowhere near northern Uganda. It’s also no longer the force it once was; at the best estimates it only has a few hundred fighters left and is on its last legs as an organisation. It’s hardly the source of ultimate, child-eating evil that Invisible Children claims it to be.
And as for the monster Kony himself? There’s something very interesting about him, which I’ll discuss in a moment. For now, let’s say that there are probably more pressing problems in Africa, and the world at large, than bringing Joseph Kony to book.
So why, exactly, is Invisible Children suddenly jumping on this bandwagon at this present time?
In order to understand that, it’s necessary to discuss just who Invisible Children are. The group’s finances are rather murky, to say the least; it doesn’t even have a good transparency rating, and it apparently had a big infusion of cash from some unknown source at about the same time those hundred Special Forces turned up in Uganda to train its army to capture or kill Kony. It has been accused of various malfeasances, and its members have been photographed holding guns and posing with members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. In other words, the group which wants the world to unite against one militia has no problems with hobnobbing with members of another militia.
Now, it’s not unknown that the Empire is trying to expand into Africa in a big way; Africa is ripe for economic neo-colonialism, stuffed with unexploited resources including, in the case of Uganda, the magical word: oil. As those of us with some analytical ability know, denying the “other side” control over oil is as much a part of geopolitics these days as controlling it oneself is. It does seem somewhat strangely opportune, then, that Invisible Children should suddenly set up a video demanding that the Empire’s soldiers remain in place to ensure Kony should be brought to book – and that in a place where he is not, and has not been for many years.
It seems even more strangely opportune that nobody, outside presumably his own militia members, has actually seen Mr Kony for years, and there is a strong and persistent rumour that he died some five years ago. If he is actually dead, in fact, that would make him the perfect villain; he can never be found, never brought to book, but must always be flitting around in the shadows of our consciousness, like a real life Hannibal Lecter with an army to back him up. The facts don’t matter – it’s the perception which does.
And this, I believe, is the actual plan behind the much-derided Twitter and blogtivist campaign launched by Invisible Children and its celebrity backers like la Jolie. Not even the most deluded individual will believe that tweeting STOPKONY is going to bring the monster to book. Nor will keeping soldiers where the man manifestly isn’t, do anything to make him answer for his crimes. But the perception of the danger from Kony, and the necessity for protecting children – that is what it will take for people of the liberal persuasion to promote, quite unthinkingly, a military presence in a part of the world where there was no military presence at all.
Make no mistake – the target of the Kony video and Invisible Children is the so-called “liberal” section of the populace. These “liberals” are extremely dangerous people because they can be easily brainwashed into doing precisely the wrong things by some clever propaganda. They – far more than the conservatives – are the ones pressing for an invasion of Syria. They are the ones who cheered the aggression against Libya and now look the other way while brutal Al Qaeda-affiliated militias terrorise that nation. They are the ones who support “humanitarian war” and can’t understand the oxymoron in the term. It’s no surprise that the Kony video has the blessings of Hollywood celebrities like Jolie; with its faux reputation for liberalism, Hollywood would never have got the support of conservatives anyway.
Even the paternalism of the White Man’s Burden, implicit in the idea that the “enlightened West” in the form of the soldiers Angelina Jolie and her peers want to go and hunt down Kony, is perfectly in sync with this kind of unthinking “liberalism”. A conservative would have turned away in disgust and left the “savage” Africans to fight it out; it’s the “liberal” who will push for troops to be sent and save those poor benighted lesser breeds without the law from themselves.
This faux “liberalism”, too, is the reason why children are the focus of the video, though the LRA has been accused of lots of atrocities towards adults. It’s because people react on an emotional level to children. Very few are realistic enough to see through propaganda using children as the USP, and even if they do, even fewer are bold enough to stick their necks out to expose that propaganda and be called cynical monsters. (That’s why anti-Syria propaganda sites like Paola Pisi’s Uruk Net keep repeating the claim that the Syrian government are “child-torturers”, or why anti-abortionists keep calling foetuses “unborn children”; it’s emotional blackmail.) The image of a doe-eyed, tearful kid affects most of us on a subconscious level, because protecting kids is something hardwired into the majority of us. We react viscerally to it; we have no choice. And the propagandists know that.
And Invisible Children’s plans are not just confined to Uganda, either. In 2009, Obama signed something called the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Passed, in true Obama fashion, without Congressional approval, it allows the US to deploy military forces in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan (at the consent of those nations) in pursuit of LRA rebels. [Source]
Remember South Sudan? That newly free, impoverished nation with border problems with Sudan to the north, with its own rebels, and with all that lovely, lovely oil? How about Congo, which has been ripped by year after year of horrible civil war, but which has its own riches under the soil? Now, with a manhunt seeking an invisible, incredibly malicious figure who may not even exist any longer and so cannot possibly be brought to justice, any nation which refuses to throw its territory open to forces “pursuing” him risks being seen as allying itself with him, and therefore part of this new Axis of Utterly Depraved Child-Killing Evil. Even assuming Kony is alive, he, in fact, cannot be tracked down until and unless he outlives his utility and a new and even more menacing enemy can be substituted.
On another level, there are critics who claim that Invisible Children is a scam. Of course, it is a scam, with Kony T shirts being sold and schoolchildren being asked to make donations for the Cause. But that’s merely small potatoes compared to the actual profits to be made from facilitating the occupation; so why is it being done at all? Isn’t it counterproductive?
I believe it’s being done quite deliberately, to provide a smokescreen; in order that those who see through Invisible Children’s tissue of lies and fabrications will come up against the scam and be content in thinking it’s just a con game, and not delve any deeper. And while everyone’s attention is focussed on the spectre of Kony, the real agenda will play itself out on the ground. It is a scam, and on more than one level.
It’s up to us to spread the word, far and wide, and make sure it does not succeed.
BIll The Butcher- Somewhere in the scrub forests of East-Central Africa is a man so evil that he is the epitome of all that is wrong with the Universe.
Your statements about children making great soldiers seemed incredibly dishonest to me, from a logical standpoint. I’ll begin with when you stated you felt using child soldiers was “quite logical…because…children, actually, make superb soldiers.”
Let’s throw out their psychosocial well-being and education issues, created by using children as soldiers, in an armed conflict. Let’s simply get down to the nitty-gritty of war; the one thing that wins wars — strategy!
You say children, “obey orders utterly without question; have no intrinsic moral compass, and lack a sense of self-preservation.”
All one has to do is look to places like El Salvador and the Salvadorans living in the U.S. to figure out how drastically wrong you are. Obey orders without question? Not really! Many of the children who were forced to serve in the National Army in El Salvador fled the country the first opportunity they got. Not out of fear, necessarily; although for 14 year old boys, that would have been a logical reason. But because of their moral compass, realizing that the acts of war they were expected to commit against their own relatives went against everything they had learned was right, within the church. And because they had a sense of self preservation, many of them fled and came to the U.S., bringing their war time skills with them to create one of the toughest gangs in the world…MS 13.
Let’s not even address the fact that the children becoming soldiers are always from impoverished backgrounds or orphaned. Never will you see the child of a wealthy family used as a soldier! Let’s just talk about how to win a war with strategy.
First of all, questioning the way child soldiers are recruited, leads one to question your premise. Many are kidnapped and forced to join armed groups by organized military details. Duriing El Salvador’s civil war, children as young as 14 were forcibly recruited into the armed forces during recruitment sweeps at sporting events; where huge mazengers rolled in, and soldiers jumped out to scoop up as many recruits as they could. They did this by terrorizing the young boys. And what was the result of that? It provoked a mass exodus from El Salvador to the U.S. and Canada, as families fled to protect their children. Many others who couldn’t sneak out of the country, hid their children. A wonderful movie you may want to view called, Voce Inocentes, tells the story of this experience. But for me personally, having been married to a Salvadoran who left El Salvador at 14 because of much of this, I can tell you that what the movie portrays is factual. My husband was one of those kids who fled El Salvador only to survive alone on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Certainly, creating such a mass exodus wouldn’t be beneficial for replenishing units.
Why? Because his mother was a student and friends with many FMLN members, and at 14 he would have been forced to join the National Army. That went against everything he believed in, having grown up down the street from the Ilopango Air Force Base, where arms were shipped in from the U.S. and trucked to El Mozote, to murder innocent campesino grandmothers and children under the reign of the Atlacatl Battalion. And he knew about that from the reports his family listened to on Radio Venceremos, when they got reception.
And it wasn’t a battalion of children that killed the people in El Mozote. The Atlacatl Battalion was a “Rapid Deployment Infantry Battalion” specially trained for counter-insurgency warfare — the first unit of its kind in the Salvadoran armed forces and was trained by United States military advisors. They were men — Salvadoran soldiers and officers were sent to Fort Benning in the United States for training. They were the elite of the elite. Their average height was over 5’11”. They were buff. They were a fully programmed fighting unit.
“Each of the battalions in the Salvadoran army (including the Atlacatl) were broken down into groupings (G1, G2, G3, etc.) that responded to army-wide divisions (i.e. intelligence, tactical, logistics). Individuals would be assigned to a particular grouping that they would have the responsibility to report to outside their regular chain of command. Logistics was represented by the code G4.”
Source: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/topic,4565c2254a,4565c25f58d,3ae6abe2a0,0,,,SLV.html – Information on the structure of the Atlacatl battalion.
If you consider the extensive combat training a good soldier needs, this would be another reason why children would not be effective soldiers. Here’s how we train our Army:
Basic Tactical training
Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense
Rappelling at a confidence tower.
Army heritage and the Seven Army Core Values
Army Physical Fitness Test to determine physical aptitude.
Tactical Foot March
Basic Rifle Marksmanship
Situational Training Exercises
Field Training Exercises
Confidence Obstacle Course
Tactical Foot March
I don’t think I have to address the moral issues of using children to fight wars. That should be obvious. The Geneva Convention covers that.
But your article was addressing what you felt was leftist propaganda, wasn’t it.
You didn’t really understand that I was talking from the PoV of an African militia leader, did you?
Here’s UNICEF on why child soldiers are recruited: http://www.unicef.org/graca/kidsoldi.htm
It echoes me almost word-for-word: Child soldiers are “more obedient, do not question orders and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers.”\
Think about it from that point of view, and you’ll get what I am talking about. The usual modus operandi of an African militia is to attack a village, gather the children, and wherever possible force them to murder the adults, including their own parents. They are then taken away and indoctrinated to think of the militia leaders as their parent-substitutes, and kept on drugs (such as a mix of crack and gunpowder called brown-brown) to keep them going.
You could read any of the many, many descriptions on the net of ex-child soldiers on how they were recruited.
Even the science fiction novel “Ender’s Game” acknowledges the military potential of children…!
Of course these kids then go on to commit whatever crimes they are ordered to commit – the children of groups like the Rvolutionary Patriotic Front of Foday Sankoh (Sierra Leonean Civil War) were the worst of the lot.
And I am left wing. I can’t stand wars being promoted by fake leftists and dupes of corporate interests.
Also, I think you stopped reading the article at the point where I brought in the child soldiers, didn’t you? You didn’t actually read as far as the point where I mentioned the difference between an African and other army? African armies don’t need basic training for their child soldiers. The ability to point a gun in the general direction of a target and pull the trigger is enough. Most of the time they’re used as cooks, porters and spies anyway.
I see where you are coming from Bill – I suppose that children might make better soldiers than adults if all one is looking for is obedient cannon fodder, but for any kind of activity that requires any knowledge of battlefield tactics (beyond simple “point-and-shoot” charges at enemy lines) they are useless: speaking as a trained fighter, I’d say that the principle draw of employing children as soldiers is the sheer number of them availible in a region that is heavily overpopulated – the fact that there isa near inexhaustible supply of them combined with the fact that most of them can’t fight back when attacked makes them prime targets for “recruitment” for suicide squads and the like (as people in these roles don’t have much of a battlefield life expectency anyway, their loss will hardly be felt by the army that employs them).
In other words, the life of a child soldier is usually short and brutal because they are considered expendable – and I have no love for any force that makes a habit of throwing its troops into a meatgrinder just to win an engagement or two (be they children or otherwise)…
All that said, I still find this whole “Invisible Children” organization fishy – especailly how it’s calling for U.S./NATO involvement in the area: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some cabal at the MIC wanted to make this Kony fellow (being a the deplorable bastard he is – hell, if half the shit he’s alleged to have done is true I’d waste him myself!) into the next Bin Laden – sending in the troops to scower the countryside under the premise of hunting him down, take over the oil fields and then (many years later) kill a guy they claim is Kony and throw his body into the sea before it can be identified…
I liked this
Thanks for writing.
On Kony and the video. I have no opinion and have not been part of the surge of people who share it; primarily, because I don’t know enough about the campaign and/or its opponents to form an intelligent opinion. Not from a video and definitely not from the surge of opposition to the video.
I read your article the same as I watched the video. The impact of both was to question why people were trying so hard to convince me that I should feel one way or the other and what their political leanings were. Yours certainly didn’t come off left wing, promoting the use of children for war. THAT, I had strong feelings about. But I didn’t stop reading your article because I was hoping you would sway me with some sources that made me understand.
I do oppose using children in any military campaign. THAT, I’m sure of. I have no idea whether Kony is still alive. I also don’t know if I believe that Osama Bin Laden is dead. The two of them remind me of the same propaganda strategies used to convince me…a lack of any tangible evidence such as photos, and in Osama’s case, an unusually quick burial that flagged me.
I know one of the statements by opponents of Kony 2012 people not being affiliated with the BBB struck me. The BBB has proven time and time again that they are incredibly useless. They are simply a reporting agency, but they have no teeth to do anything once a business is reported. So this didn’t strike me as significant. As a matter of fact, the BBB of some cities has been instrumental in harassing the homeless, so they have even less than sincerity to me.
Then, there is a statement about Angelina Jolie’s comment that she “doesn’t know anyone who doesn’t hate Kony”.
I didn’t find that swaying me. I didn’t know anything of Kony and she presumed that I should? That isn’t all that remarkable. After all, she has spent an extensive amount of time on the continent of Africa doing her brand of humanitarian work; so she might assume others were as interested in the goings on of that continent as her. Sometimes I assume that Americans know what happened in Central America when they only know what American news media tells them.
As far as the assumption that liberalism would force me to act upon something I know absolutely nothing about? I didn’t. Like many, I simply didn’t know enough about it to commit to a decision.
But I was disgusted over children being used as soldiers. And that part of my liberalism I won’t apologize for. That a bunch of conservatives would not be incensed and could turn away? I would expect that from the controlling nature of conservative policies. They certainly have turned away from human rights in many areas.
After all of this reading, I still don’t have an opinion on this. Why? Because I don’t see anything that convinces me one way or the other.
As far as your presumptions and source on children being “more obedient, do not question orders and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers.” I’m still not buying it. If you read further down in the source you quote, you will note the tactics of fear they need to use to convince children to fight, including the use of drugs. Certainly, if they were more obedient and didn’t question orders, they wouldn’t need the following methods to convince them to fight:
“The report deplores the fact that children are often deliberately brutalized in order to harden them into more ruthless soldiers. In some conflicts, children have been forced to commit atrocities against their own families. In Sierra Leone, for example, the Revolutionary United Front forced captured children to take part in the torture and execution of their own relatives, after which they were led to neighbouring villages to repeat the slaughter. Elsewhere, before battle young soldiers have been given amphetamines, tranquillizers and other drugs to “increase their courage” and to dull their sensitivity to pain.”
That only backs up my assertions of why so many children fled places like Guatemala and El Salvador during the civil wars there. And it bolsters why so many of those joined gangs once they came to the U.S. They needed to feel they had control over their own lives and they mistakingly thought gangs would guarantee them this. Call this my liberal hot button, if you will. But I will never get to a state where I can minimize a child’s life or value in this world to the point that we exploit them as soldiers. If that makes me one of those foolish liberals, then so be it.
Good luck with your drive though.
“As far as your presumptions and source on children being “more obedient, do not question orders and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers.” I’m still not buying it. If you read further down in the source you quote, you will note the tactics of fear they need to use to convince children to fight, including the use of drugs.”
And such tactics are far more effective on younger, less-developed minds than older ones – one has a very difficult intimidating a grown man when he’s the one holding the gun, but a kid still instinctively desires approval from the parent figure (in this case, his “recruiter”) and his expressions of anger and disappointment have a significant impact on a child. Also, drugs can retard development of the brain (in adition to other combat-related efects – such as stimulated aggression and the capacity to function for longer periods of time without sleep): keeping a young child right where he’s at in terms of cognative development and thus making him easier to control.
For the record, I do *not* condone such “training” methods nor do I expect anyone else to – I’m simply pointing out that there is a logic behind this phenomena and that it’s effective for creating soldiers that serve primarily as cannon fodder…
Everyone is discussing how & why children would be better soldiers than adults, etc.
Let me ask you this….has anyone stopped to think about the children? What about their innocence? What about their childhood? Does anybody ever take that into consideration? If you have children…could you look at them while they were sleeping peacefully in their beds at night and say YOUR child would make a better soldier than an adult knowing that the only future they had was, if a boy, to brutally murder someone or mutilate someone or that your daughter was going to be used as a sex slave being raped and forced into having sex with men old enough to be their fathers sometimes even old enough to be their grandfathers. My goodness people, these are CHILDREN we are talking about.
Forget all the political mumbo jumbo behind all of it…these are innocent children that whether it be KONY or someone else..they are still just children being kidnapped and having every fiber of their innocence & hope ripped from them.
Somehow…in all the “Is Invisible Children a scam” hype….everyone forgot about the poor children being affected.
So while everyone sits in their homes safe with their families, on their computers complaining and trying to find fault in an organization that they don’t agree with…there are people out there actually trying to make SOME kind of difference in the world. Who are you to fault them? If you don’t like the organization, don’t donate. Until you have walked the life of a child soldier of the LRA or a young girl forced into sexual slavery by the LRA….who are you to make any kind of judgements of the people trying to help them and actually make this world a slightly better place for ALL of us to live in or give hope to children who otherwise wouldn’t have any!!!!????!!!!!?????
I think you’re missing the point of this though. They’re not trying to make the most civil / effective army. They use children, because they just want them to obey orders. That’s as effective as they’re looking for. They want someone who can work or run in and pull a trigger. Children as a whole ARE easier to manipulate and therefore make for perfect candidates. Not to mention how EASY it is to acquire them. Killing off a village and expecting the adults to serve you without question is impossible. You have to constantly threaten them. Children quickly fall into place, needing some sense of security.
No one’s trying to say that using child soldiers is a good thing. We just know that in a situation like this to THESE people, there’s a reason they are used. It’s because it’s easier. Especially for grunt work and suicide oriented stuff. Most adults aren’t just ready to jump in and die, but a kid can be sent in to a dangerous area, not knowing that they are sending him in as a possible sacrifice.
But the use of child soldiers is WRONG for that reason. On the other hand, the thing here is that the emotional aspect of child soldiers is being used to manipulate people into a scam, for one where you support someone who ALSO uses similar tactics like child soldiers.
I disagree with your premise that such tactics are far more effective on younger, less-developed minds than older ones. You say that, “one has a very difficult intimidating a grown man when he’s the one holding the gun, but a kid still instinctively desires approval from the parent figure (in this case, his “recruiter”) and his expressions of anger and disappointment have a significant impact on a child.”
If this were true, the older members of the gang Mara Salvatrucha wouldn’t fear the younger members…and they do, not only in the U.S.; but also in places like El Salvador. And the gang wouldn’t have grown with such profound success, both in the U.S. and throughout Central America…against the approval of their parents, if that were true, either. Children are impressionable, but once they realize power, they lack the boundaries of adults. Especially, when they have witnessed profound violence.
Speak to any old timer from that particular gang when they are about to be deported to their country of origin and ask who they fear the most. It’s the youth; because they lack reason and feel a complete lack of respect for older members. It’s like the arrogance of the teen who flaunts his disrespect for authority and age here. Only, these kids realize they actually have power. They know the public fears them. They know they have weapons that the public doesn’t have. The hmost dangerous members of MS13 in Central America are the most youthful members. They don’t know the balance of how to control power or use it effectively. They will kill on a whim and are too young to consider the ramifications if they are arrested.
I do agree with your statements, “Also, drugs can retard development of the brain (in adition to other combat-related efects – such as stimulated aggression and the capacity to function for longer periods of time without sleep): keeping a young child right where he’s at in terms of cognative development and thus making him easier to control.”
And that is the toughest problem in treating children who are victimized by soldiering too young. They rely on drugs to drowned out the horrific things their minds simply cannot comprehend.
Listen, I doubt anyone thinks using children is acceptable for war. But I don’t think we should be so nonchalant about even discussing this and justifying it. Because we have seen too often that justification leads to acceptance…even when we are vehemently opposed to something. Look at the Holocaust, if you don’t believe me. And Azazel, I th
I have read enough of your posts to realize you have more of a humanitarian slant than to approve of this.
Five stars Bill, well thought out, well stated, well written. Insofar as the faux liberal and their being super-suckers as a class, with remarkable and naive propensity to be led by the nose to support intelligence operations, I recommend Glen Ford at the “Black Agenda Report”
He often takes the subject on, particularly in relation to Obama worship as Obama set the agenda and pursues the policies which shred American civil liberties.
My own take on liberal versus conservative is quite simple [caveat: excluding the faux conservatives called neo-cons.] Old line American conservatives tended to be self-reliant and mind their own business when left alone to do so, whereas often liberals have a smug intellectual arrogance which tends to believe they know what is good for everybody and spillover from that attitude persists in meddling where they are both unwanted and un-needed. I personally identify as liberal but find I am much more comfortable keeping company with those [now days rare] rural conservatives who are of a libertarian/liberal persuasion in the sense of understanding you largely cannot micro-manage or legislate peoples morality [and are anti-empire]
Whether of not invisible children is a good program or not is one thing but Kony is still wanted and we should help by getting the word out. Let the courts decide innocence or guilt.
ps, just now at Black Agenda Report:
Another good write
Thanks, Ronald. You are, of course, absolutely correct about American conservatives.
The point about children is, whether they are now, in Northern Uganda, being made into sex slaves and soldiers? According to the Ugandans themselves, they are not. According to the Ugandans themselves, they have no desire to have militarisation of their region in the name of hunting Kony, whether he is alive or not, because he is no threat to them; and because they know just what kind of creature the Ugandan Army is. If the army comes, the brutality won’t be far behind, and a new insurrection with a new Kony and with new child soldiers will only be a matter of time.
That is why those who don’t want this KONY2012 scam to succeed are thinking of the children.
No argument from me at all on the point concerning the kids-
I feel like the point of the producers of the film being less than “nice” people themselves has been left out here.
It seems to me that everyone is in accordance that children as soldiers and cannon fodder is wrong on multiple levels; whether or not they are effective.
However the message of the Film, the movement to collect funds and “bring Kony to our awareness.” Should also be looked at.
My question is: Is it better that more people know about this situation no matter what the source and who is behind it? Or is it better that the majority of people (Americans really, because collectively we seem to have the least amount of world knowledge) are ingnorant of what is going on?
It’s hard to say.
Good things have come of this. The investigative process of finding out who funded this (The Family-ulitimately) and what their motives are, I think is a good thing. It’s almost as if someone got two birds with one stone.-People now are talking about these kids AND the whacked out fundamentalists that want a new home-base in Uganda. ( with our blessing if at all possible)
It’s disappointing for sure that it takes something like this, but I don’t think I’m wrong in saying most Americans have no knowledge that this has been going on for several decades and not just in Uganda.
As for liberals vs. conservatives, I don’t think these apply. I have witnessed a lot of conservatives jump on this new “tragedy” as fast as any liberal.
You couldn’t be more on the money – regardless of who wins this conflict in Uganda there will be plenty more child soldiers “recruited” and sent into a meat grinder: the only question is which faction wil benefit the most from this exploitation of young minds.
It’s obvious that you and I don’t agree about the fundamental logic behind the child soldier, but let me make something clear – I’m no humanitarian nor am I necessarily against the idea of training a child for war (in fact, I strongly advise people to do so because in the next decade or so the whole fucking continent is going to be a war zone). What I’m against is turning one’s own fighters (be they children or otherwise) into mere cannon fodder to be sacrificed for the ambitions of some would be ruler/class of rulers.
By all means I’m on board with teaching one’s kids proper marksmanship, field maintainance of weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, field survival and even teaching them how to function as a tactical unit because these skills can make the difference between life and death when the agents of the state or a rival armed group come to kill/imprison/torture/rape/etc… them – but to use them as mere cannon fodder for the sake of ambition is shameful: no warrior with even a rudimentary sense of honor would even consider such a thing and I would not hesitate to put a 7.62mm round in the skull of anyone who would adopt such tactics…
^^^ I’m with Az (except for the 7.62mm part.) I don’t personally care if someone uses children as soldiers, because there’s nothing I could do about it.
And the other thing about child soldiers is that the enemy adult combatants very often hesitate to shoot (AFAIK) thus getting their brains blown out by a little kiddie. Very effective if you ask me.
As I said…when you allow sick statements, the permission to perform sick acts usually follows. When we’ve reached the lowest level of approving of children as soldiers…we’ve reached new lows.
As far as conservatives left on their own not bothering others? History has proven the opposite. Look at our endless monitoring of other countries and the murder of their elected officials by CIA operatives to answer that fallacy.
Graine, I agree with you. I certainly wasn’t on top of everything happening in Uganda until this film. I have been focused on other regions, like many are. We tend to focus on issues closest to us. But the focus of children as soldiers is the one thing that made me sick about all of this.
If it woke people up to that, then I have no problem with who created this film. That is probably the value of the film and why I questioned this post. But seeing the conservatives gathering to atta boy one another sort of bolstered my original suspicions. I’m so
I’m sort of like that. I read through an article as much as I read it. And then, I read the associations of the author and what they say about political ideologies. It tells more sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong. I have big problems with those producing the film. They are themselves contract killers, as they also finance Churches in Africa that burn children for being “witches”.
While the film itself still awoke people, it doesn’t excuse their faults. However, it had the (unintended effect-I think) of bringing their own dirty laundry out at bit. That is positive too.
Jennifer wrote “As far as conservatives left on their own not bothering others? History has proven the opposite. Look at our endless monitoring of other countries and the murder of their elected officials by CIA operatives to answer that fallacy”
You don’t distinguish between neo-cons and the “old line” conservatives whose roots are in so-called ‘isolationism.’ Neo-cons have been around a long time, longer than you might suspect. CIA [operational division particularly] has been their boy toy since the Dulles brothers era, and that is the door the Bush dynasty opened to power. I don’t think you need to lecture me on the subject but suit yourself, subversify comments are a forum in ignorance as much as anything ..
What are we ignorant of, Ron?
Careless reading of a comment in context prior to responding is a form of simple ignorance
^ If you’d like a read of some history of how neo-cons hijacked the cia, email me email@example.com, and I’ll send some links. Thumbnail history is Dulles Brothers & Prescott Bush were 1930s buddies, Alan Dulles was a WW I veteran intelligence officer and they all were ‘deeply religious’ and were doing business with Hitler. Throw in United Fruit, Alan and John Dulles taking over the CIA and department of state and you’re well on the way to neo-con control. George HW Bush [Prescott’s kid] with a stint at Cia Director and after meeting with the Ayatollahs in Paris 1980 to keep the hostages in Iran until aftter the election got GHW Bush in as VP under Reagan, then you get Ed Meese, federalist society and finally Bush I, Bush II, five federalist society supreme court justices and pretty much the game is up with democracy in the USA. That is entire neo-con business and has nothing to do with old fashioned honest conservative
An interesting development with the arrest of Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children for…umm…lets say… bizarre behavior last week. check it out here. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/jason-russell-san-diego-invisible-children-kony-2012-142970255.html Great article by the way. So glad this issue is being discussed intelligently.
“As I said…when you allow sick statements, the permission to perform sick acts usually follows. When we’ve reached the lowest level of approving of children as soldiers…we’ve reached new lows.”
I fail to see what you’re getting at here – what’s so sick about teaching one’s offspring the necessary skills to survive the coming end of civilization as we know it? Given the option of training some one to fight in the coming civil war and leaving the same to his/her own devices, the former is the preferable solution if your goal is to preserve his/her life: the latter option will just leave that person at a disadvantage in a hostile world – which would almost certainly make him/her a casualty when a hostile force comes knocking at the door…
@Az, I agree, I was brought up learning how to properly use and care for firearms. Nobody thought I was going to go out and wage a war of my own or even hurt myself or any enemies real or imagined. It just makes sense to be prepared.
As long as there are weapons in play it makes sense to me to know how to use them, otherwise a youth (or adult for that matter) will pick one up thinking they are arming themselves and fail completely. There is nothing so dangerous as a weapon in the hand of someone who doesn’t understand how to use it.