Joseph Kony, Invisible Children and a Good Dose of Reality

Posted: March 18, 2012 in Child Welfare, Government, Media, Social Media
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I just watched the video that unfortunately went viral recently, Kony 2012.  That is 29 minutes and 59 seconds of my life I can never get back.  For those of you into mental self-mutilation, I bring to you KONY 2012

Now, before I go too deep into a diatribe, let me state a few things.  First, Joseph Kony and people like him need to be stopped, whenever and wherever possible.  Second, the idea Invisible Children Inc. is based on has merit, I believe it is an honorable and noble goal all humans should strive for.  Third, the ideal of Invisible Children Inc. is fatally flawed and doomed for failure.

I will first entertain with a short video response from the comedic group of Action Figure Therapy as their character “Ranger” responds to the Kony 2012 video.  Ranger is the most outspoken of all the characters and he is usually the front man for response to controversial topics.

Now that I have all that out of the way, let me throw my own bit of Ranger-ness to the equation.  Joseph Kony is a blight on humanity, who takes little children from their homes, forces them to kill their parents and family members, turns little girls into sex slaves, foster an environment of death and violence among young and mentally undeveloped children that cannot be rivaled.  He is not the only user of children to build his power base and spread his violence, and he is definitely not the only one to do so in Africa.  Africa, while not having the monopoly on child warriors, do seem to be a breeding ground for the “how to” manuals of anyone with megalomaniacal aspirations of total dominion, but the inability to actually govern.  Child warriors have always been around, the difference between child warriors fighting in concert with adults to protect their homes and families and what Kony and other gutter-scum like him do is they use these children for their own sick, twisted reasons.  There is no “cause” or unified fight for survival; it is simply because he can.

Invisible Children Inc has a lot of merit in their ideology and to a point some of their approach would work well in conjunction with other means.  The fatal flaw in the approach and ideology is they want to bring Kony and others like him to justice, i.e., arrest and try and convict him.  According to the video I watched, they would stop at nothing to make it happen.  The problem I see with that overarching statement is, they only see what is in front of them, they do not realize what the ramifications of simply arresting Kony would be, that the only children who could possibly returned to their families and live some sort of a normal life are only those who are recent captures and have not been indoctrinated to the life yet.  They fail to see that the 30,000 number they quote as abducted members of the Lords resistance Army, have moved beyond normal human thinking and feeling.  The other problem I see with their blanket statement is, they really are not prepared to do “anything” to get it done, they are not willing to pull the trigger, they are not willing to become even part of the animal required to hunt down and end Kony’s reign of terror, nor are they smart enough to realize that since the LRA is no longer in Uganda proper, the Ugandan government would have to invade sovereign countries or at least violate their borders in order to “capture” Kony at this point.

You see there are multiple things that go into a “cause”, especially a just one.   You need to inform, something Invisible Children is doing pretty well in the grand scheme of things.  You also need to make the effort a priority in order to dedicate the assets required to it; something President Obama has done by dedicating some military “advisers” to aid in the cause.  You need to provide clear guidance on what the end objective is to be to those charged with the disposition of events.  Those who are to carry out the deed need to be dedicated, professional, relentless, ruthless, and at certain points compassionate.  Finally, you need to provide support and understanding to those who complete the objective; chances are they will have to transform themselves into something or someone else in order to bring things to fruition.  You see someone like Kony, who has no country to speak of, is not in charge of a great rebel force fighting for their country, they are monsters.  Monsters do not care about being prosecuted in the International Criminal Court.  Monsters ruin and use, right up until they get a bullet in the head, blown up, or they have grown so beyond their own power they are replaced by someone else will to take the reigns and move things to the next level.

The problem with Central African warlords is there never seems to be a shortage.  Just like the head of the Hydra, you chop one off and there stands double ready to take the place of the last.  It is not simply a matter of removing the head in case like this.  The body unfortunately is poisoned as well and you must cut it down to a level where the cancer can no longer spread.  Simply removing Kony will not stop what is happening.  That is the sad part these young idealists do not realize, nor will they understand.  More than likely they will change focus from the horrors perpetrated by the LRA to focusing their misspent rage and tons of their parents monies on the people who have the fortitude and aptitude to carry out what needs to be done.

Having been to Africa, I can attest to the beauty, the danger and to a certain extent the draw of the place.  This is even before you get to the people.  When 9/11 happened I was preparing to go help train Nigerian soldiers to perform peace keeping duties in Sierra Leone.  Another country whose civil war included genocide, child soldiers, blood diamonds and countless other atrocities.   While in Nigeria, I was part of a convoy chased out of a town by several hundred Islamist teens, got to witness the aftermath of tribal and religious warfare perpetrated on villages and I got to meet some pretty amazing people who celebrate their life and their families.  A very fundamental part of me can and appreciate the allure that is Africa.

As an American and a soldier and a family man, one of the problems I have with Invisible Children, George Clooney, and all these other do-gooders is they fail to look at the issues within our own borders and focus their energies on fixing them.  Do they think America is beyond repair or are they so ignorant to the issues here that they cannot muster the same level of outrage as they do for Africa.  They seem to not care that America is one of the biggest purveyors of human traffic and sexual slavery in the world.  They do not seem to care about the hidden layers of violence along the U.S./Mexico border.  There does not seem to be the same level of effort into making sure there are quality foods provided our children in their school lunches, that many Americans have bought so far into the misinterpretation of the American Dream that they have buried themselves so far in debt their children and in some case grandchildren will feel the effects of it.  They fail to see the merits of fixing our own house before we try and help other people to live in our image.  Forty some odd years ago, Elvis Presley sang a song called “In the Ghetto”, and in it he used some pretty descriptive lyrics to describe the life of the poor in urban centers.  The unfortunate part is, the song is still just as, if not more relevant today than it was back then.

I agree with Invisible Children that it will take famous people to spread the cause.  I in a way admire George Clooney for his work in the Sudan.  At least he has the integrity and balls to go there himself and do the work he has shown in documentaries and in the political realm.  Where someone such as old George loses his effectiveness and integrity is when he has the ability to invite folks back to his Italian Villa and sip champagne with him and Stacy Keebler on the heels of another successful sneaking into Darfur and back out again. My fellow service members and I have spent untold time away from home during our careers policing up the ills of the world and trying to make it a better place, we are just happy to make it back in one piece, kiss and hug our family and maybe have a little celebratory cookout on the deck of one of our Fayetteville homes.

As a country we need to continue to aid other, less fortunate countries, however, we need to do quite a bit of housekeeping and some renovation in our own house before we invest too deeply in others.  It is hard in my mind to provide any more than the 100 advisers we have in central Africa right now to chase a madman who will probably be replaced before his corpse is cold, when we are doing nothing at home to stop the violence along our southern border, or the wanton sexual slavery readily available on Craigslist or Backpage.  It would also be a pretty good idea that if you are using your child as a demonstration point for your how to solve the world’s ills video, that you not get caught running around in your underwear, vandalizing cars and “spanking your Kony” in public.

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