Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rush Limbaugh and the Lord's Resistance Army

ABC News reports that President Obama has authorized the deployment of approximately 100 U.S. forces to Uganda, with the purpose of helping regional forces to capture or kill Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony and other LRA senior leaders. According to PBS News, Kony has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. An October 14th press statement by the U.S. State Department said that U.S. military advisers will assist with information-sharing and planning, and will not engage LRA troops unless it is necessary for self-defense.

The Lord's Resistance Army is a militant group which has sought to overthrow the Museveni government in Uganda. The LRA has been described as a quasi-Christian group and is one of several militant groups operating in central Africa.* Human rights observers have documented the countless human rights violations perpetrated by the LRA, including massacres of civiliansabductionsrape and forced marriage of women and girls to LRA combatants, and forced conscription of child soldiers. Many internally displaced persons in Uganda were forced to become "night commuters," fleeing their homes or camps at night to escape the depredations of the LRA.

The LRA has inflicted unspeakable atrocities throughout central Africa, so who could possibly defend such thugs? Who indeed.

On the October 14th edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh framed Obama's measure as an attack on a Christian group that is fighting Muslims. According to a transcript of the show, Limbaugh had this to say. (See

"Lord's Resistance Army are Christians.  They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan.  And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them.  That's what the lingo means, "to help regional forces remove from the battlefield," meaning capture or kill. So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda ... 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."
Limbaugh later asked a caller "how do you react to the news that Obama has dispatched a hundred soldiers to fight radical Christians in Africa?"

According to Media Matters, some of Limbaugh's fans, perhaps unaware of the LRA's history, expressed outrage that the Obama administration had supposedly sent troops to kill African Christians.

Fortunately, people are challenging Limbaugh's insensitive statements. On October 18th, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) read a statement on the Senate floor in which he clarified that the U.S. was not going to war with the LRA. Sen. Inhofe also provided a brief history of the LRA and its many atrocities, including torture, maiming, and use of child soldiers.

Evelyn Apoko, a survivor of LRA violence, was so disturbed by Limbaugh's words that she recorded a video entitled "Dear Mr. Limbaugh."

"I am a former abducted child. My heart breaks when I hear your message about the LRA. I experienced first-hand the pain and hatred of humanity in the LRA. I know that there is nowhere in the Bible that says Christians should treat humans like animals. I have witnessed the spirit of Joseph Kony and it is not from God. Abducting young people from their homes and forcing them to become something that is not meant to be, working day and night without food or drink, children dying of hunger, with no one to tell them it's going to be okay, brainwashing children and murdering innocent people."

Dear Mr. Limbaugh: Evelyn's Appeal from Strongheart on Vimeo.

The LRA's atrocities are not a secret. The news media has been reporting on them for years, and a quick internet search on the LRA will pull up ample information. Rush Limbaugh had no excuse for failing to do research the LRA before speaking on his show. I sincerely hope this incident was rooted in ignorance, rather than an effort to stir controversy.

Limbaugh's comments were out of line. He owes the LRA's victims an apology.

(UPDATE: Truth Wins Out's commentary on military intervention in Uganda is well-worth the read.)

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

Human Rights Watch: Dear Obama: A Message from Victims of the LRA

Media Matters: Limbaugh's Latest Smear: Obama Is "Target[ing] Christians" In Uganda

The Atlantic: Why Speak Up When Rush Limbaugh Lies?

* The civil strife in central Africa has a long and complicated history, which I will not delve into here. For more information on armed conflict and militant groups in the region, I recommend the book Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa by Jason Stearns.


  1. Most of Lush Rimjob's listeners barely understand American politics, never mind Ugandan. The flabomination just saw yet another news item that could be twisted around to make Obama look bad, and went for it.

    Luckily, this one seems to be generating enough blowback that it will be counter-productive with the broad non-teabaggish political center.

  2. I saw Limbaugh's comments lampooned on Jon Stewart's program last night. Ignorance or lies? I would not put either past Limbaugh. He dabbles generously in both.

    That is a powerful video from Evelyn. Shame on Limbaugh. I wonder if he can scrape up the minimal grace and humility required to apologize?

    Thank you for this report, Ahab.

  3. Infidel753 -- Maybe this controversy will force Limbaugh's fans to do some thinking. I doubt that Limbaugh himself will be any more careful with his words, though.

  4. Cognitive Dissenter -- I hope he apologizes, but it's Limbaugh, so I'm not holding my breath.

  5. Yeah, I'm not holding my breath either. Apologies aren't his style. If he ends up regretting his words, he'll just claim that he was misquoted -- or never said them at all.

  6. Limbaugh gave a brief and weak apology after Inhofe and other Republicans called him out. Needless to say, the lengths and tenors of the accusation and the apology were markedly different. I wish there were an FCC rule for cases of gross neglect in research that required the offender to devote twice as much time to the apology as they did to the accusation. (Unfortunately, there is no way to enforce an equal amount of bombast.) Maybe ongoing servings of humble pie and crow would get the purveyors of hate to do at least minimal diligence. Because unfortunately, Limbaugh achieved his goal. He reinforced in the hive mind that is cultural conservatism that President Obama prefers Muslims. Limbaugh is despicable.

  7. Noodleepoodlee -- Thanks for letting us know. Can you suggest a link for more information? Indeed, it was a truly despicable way to get in some cheap shots at the president.

    Donna -- An unfortunately common tactic with these types.

  8. Rush Limbaugh. Enough said. ;-)

    When he has a daily show with the explicit agenda of lambasting everything that Democrats do, especially Obama, he just shoots first and ask questions later. This hasn't been his first transgression to logic and facts, and it will not be his last.

    I'd agree with noodleepoodlee that "unfortunately, Limbaugh achieved his goal," with you that his approach is "common tactic with these types," and Infidel753 about his listeners. That's probably the scariest part, is his listeners.

  9. You can always count on Limpy to spew garbage. I hope this blowback is strong. Unfortunately, I also agree that his followers are so stupid they won't either know the difference or tragically care.

  10. Wise Fool -- It's definitely scary that so many people hang onto his every word, without doing any research.

    Sherry -- I hope the blowback is HUGE for this guy!

  11. Hey Ahab. I saw the apology on The Daily Show last night as part of Stewart's skewering of the large fool. I have difficulty loading Daily Show vids, so I'd be suspect of any link I would pick up. Anyone interested should check out The Daily Show's site.

    Now that I think about it, Limbaugh may have only acknowledged that he was wrong about the LRA, not really given an apology. I was half asleep so forgive if I misrepresented the situation.

  12. Rush is a buffoon, agred.


    We are not asking some important questions here, such as...should the U.S. be getting involved in yet ANOTHER war? Will U.S. involvement really help the situation? I would note that the President of Uganda has been in power for 27 years...yes, yet another authoritarian maximum leader (known for his own share of human rights violations)

    So...I may disagree with the why of skepticism about these policies...but I remain skeptical nonetheless.

  13. That drug-addled blowhard is a disgrace to humanity and he must apologize. Disgusting.

  14. Brian M -- These are important questions to ask, for sure. While the LRA's atrocities are very real, I doubt that they are the real reason for U.S. involvement. Do you see an escalation of U.S. involvement beyond the 100 troops at some point?

    Knatolee -- Indeed. He really crossed the line.

  15. Not sure, Ahab.

    Why not, if it meets the policy demands of our sociopathic, power-crazed elites (in which class Obama is most certainly a member)

    Have to admit I the other evil people whose term starts with an "A" (anarchism, boo hiss), so my skepticism towards religion extends to skepticism towards the statements of "our" leaders.

    I don't believe very much in a mythical "Good" United States government just as I don't believe very much in a good Christianity.

    Although one can never generalize about both of these concepts...there are good government employees and programs, certainly...just like there are good churches and people who do good things purportedly for religious reasons.


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