Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rush Loves The Lord's Resistance Army

Last week, the Obama Administration announced they would be sending 100 military advisers – primarily US Special Forces troops – to Uganda to help their military to deal with a shadowy insurgent group known as the Lord's Resistance Army (or LRA). According to Foreign Policy, radio host Rush Limbaugh was quick to take to the airwaves to condemn the move, accusing Obama of, among other things, forcing the US to take arms to help an oppressive Muslim regime to hunt down a noble band of Christians fighting for their right to live and worship in peace. According to Rush: “[The] Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. ....[The] Lord's Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. ‘To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.’ Now, again Lord's Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out.” The subtext of Rush's rant is that this is yet another battle in President Obama's, who is really an African and a Muslim, ongoing war on Christianity.

The problem with Rush's deft analysis, beyond the obvious, is that the LRA has nothing to do with either Christianity or fighting for liberty against an oppressive regime; one writer aptly described the LRA as a “death cult”. Their leader, Joseph Kony, might possibly be the vilest human being on the planet, and his core followers aren't much better. For nearly two decades the LRA has plagued Central Africa. Favored tactics of the LRA include mutilating people by cutting off their noses, ears and limbs as a way of spreading fear, or to descend on a village, slaughtering the adults and carrying away the children, pressing boys as young as nine or ten years old into their militia and allowing members to take similarly aged girls as “wives”. The LRA has nothing to do with the Lord, or resistance, but is really just a mechanism to keep Kony alive.

Of course Rush didn't seem to know any of this when he began his tirade. Limbaugh was acting as what we euphemistically refer to today a “low information individual”, or what in a less PC time we'd call a friggin' idiot, when discussing the LRA. Apparently at some point during his show, according to FP, one of his underlings must have looked the LRA up on the Internet and saw that they weren't quite the good Christian group Rush made them out to be. Limbaugh made a semi-retraction saying that they needed to do more research on the LRA – though anyone who has spent any time at all on Africa could have told him right off the bat that the LRA had more in common with the Manson Family than Jesus; the LRA was also the subject of an in-depth piece last year in The Atlantic.

But Rush was following that old adage of “why let the facts get in the way of a good story”, especially a story that so neatly played to the prejudices of his listeners.
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