I may lose some Facebook friends and blog readers over this one. Whatever.
Many of you no doubt have seen the excellent video which continues to go viral pertaining to the Kony 2012 project. You can watch it (it's a bit lengthy, although well produced) here:
KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.
In case you don't have 29 minutes to watch the video, let me try my best to distill this down for you.
Joseph Kony is a piece of garbage who enslaves kids, rapes and tortures many of them, and forces others to become soldiers in his army. He forces his child soldiers to kill their own parents and mutilate their contemporaries. He operates in several African countries, including Uganda, the Sudans and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I first became aware of his pathetic existence two or three years ago when I saw the documentary on Reverend Sam Childers. Childers is the "Machine Gun Preacher" after whom the movie with that title is based. Childers is a former motorcycle gang member who accepted Christ and began making trips to South Sudan to help the children affected by Kony's war on children. In addition to building orphanages, Childers picked up an AK-47 and began engaging Kony's operatives in an effort to stop the slaughter of thousands of innocent children, hence his nickname.
I even did a Sunday School lesson on Childers a while back, posing the question: Can Christians justify the use of deadly force to save children?
Now we have the Kony 2012 project. The producer and narrator of the video encourages us to keep putting pressure on Congress to keep the United States "military advisers" sent to the region to aid the lawful forces there bring Kony to justice, to end the violence against the people of the region from a ruthless thug.
And now I'm puzzled, for many reasons, to wit:
- Where were these same Kony 2012 protesters when we made the decision to go into Iraq and Afghanistan? Weren't children being denied basic rights in Afghanistan? Weren't innocent people being oppressed, mutilated and murdered in Iraq? Why is it kosher to commit military resources to "bring Kony to justice" (I place it in quotes because a .50 caliber round to his cranium would be far more efficient and make for a bigger splash. Literally.) but it's NOT okay to chase the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan? Or to stop the abuses of Saddam Hussein against the Kurds and others who were brutalized by him?
- Once in our nation's not so distant past, we sent "military advisers" into a country to fight tyranny and oppession. A decade and 50,000 flag draped coffins later, we ended our involvement in Vietnam. Is the leadership of Kony 2012 okay with more resources being sent to the region, with the possibility of servicemen deaths which naturally flows from such escalations?
And if you're a Libertarian, do you simply say "this doesn't concern us" and walk away? And at what point is it acceptable for a free society to look at that situation and say "When will the local men and women pick up a rifle and fight back?" After all, that's precisely what the American colonists did some 236 years ago, against a tyrannical government which couldn't hold a candle to the brutality Kony dishes out on a regular basis.
Friends, I don't have the answers to these questions. But I do know that our national attitudes on issues like this seem inconsistent, from both sides of the political spectrum. The Kony 2012 project illustrates, along with the need to rid ourselves of Joseph Kony, why our nation needs to completely re-think the philosophies driving our military and foreign policies.