Remember the Kony 2012 bamboozle? You know, the one that made every one of a your Facebook friends a sudden “online activist” for two weeks? The whole thing was a concentrated effort to spread humanitarian war fever. After all, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who was to be the aided by US resources in “anti-Kony” efforts, is just as bad (if not worse) than Kony. In fact, one might argue that he is worse –or at least more dangerous — than Kony because he has control of the Ugandan government, is actually currently in Uganda (as opposed to Kony, who left years before the Kony 2012 propaganda effort took place) and, most importantly, he has the support and resource pool of the American Empire behind him.
It ain’t about the chilluns.
At any rate, after some shocking information hit the internet about Invisible Children who promoted the video most heavily, including some major discrepancies and controversies over finances, the Kony campaign sort of petered out. But it did not die. Now, seeing a Washington Post exclusive this morning, one wonders if it is being given life once again. However, the article actually has some pretty interesting claims throughout.
To begin, consider the following:
President Obama has ordered a sharp increase in U.S. Special Operations forces deployed to Uganda and sent U.S. military aircraft there for the first time in the ongoing effort to hunt down warlord Joseph Kony across a broad swath of central Africa.
The libertarian, or at least the non-interventionist Conservative, gets weary about constantly bringing up the disturbing fact that Obama (in Bush’s footsteps) continues to use military force without first going to Congress. One might also point out that there is absolutely no proof of a national security threat in this situation. But that point is worthless in today’s world where every single world event is a national security issue in the eyes of those who demand more and more power. I agree with Michael S. Rozeff that the US Government is a National Security State. He defines this as such:
The National Security State (NSS) is a totalitarian state in which national security (or national defense) is the overriding aim and all aspects of society and government are organized to achieve that aim.
That Obama sent in aircraft and the creepy Special Operations forces to Uganda should make us realize that this has little do with a warlord who, as the Washington Post itself admits, “has not been definitively sighted for some time” and “has been thought to be somewhere in the heavy jungle of the eastern Central African Republic….”
I have mentioned the Special Operations forces here when I talked about how the face of the American Empire enforcement overseas was shifting from traditional armies to more covert and technologically futuristic efforts. I quoted Nick Turse at TomDispatch who wrote:
…U.S. Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, from their numbers to their budget. Most telling, however, has been the exponential rise in special ops deployments globally. This presence — now, in nearly 70% of the world’s nations — provides new evidence of the size and scope of a secret war being waged from Latin America to the backlands of Afghanistan, from training missions with African allies to information operations launched in cyberspace.
In the waning days of the Bush presidency, Special Operations forces were reportedly deployed in about 60 countries around the world. By 2010, that number had swelled to 75, according to Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post. In 2011, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told TomDispatch that the total would reach 120. Today, that figure has risen higher still.
In 2013, elite U.S. forces were deployed in 134 countries around the globe, according to Major Matthew Robert Bockholt of SOCOM Public Affairs. This 123% increase during the Obama years demonstrates how, in addition to conventional wars and a CIA drone campaign, public diplomacy and extensive electronic spying, the U.S. has engaged in still another significant and growing form of overseas power projection. Conducted largely in the shadows by America’s most elite troops, the vast majority of these missions take place far from prying eyes, media scrutiny, or any type of outside oversight, increasing the chances of unforeseen blowback and catastrophic consequences.
“[T]raining missions with African allies…” Indeed. Or, to sell it to an internet and social media-addicted American population, “because Kony is a very bad man.”
Obama’s sudden upheaval in Uganda is something to be watched. And the fact that they are using the Kony meme once again to sell an intervention smacks of desperation. It fascinates that the Post article admitted what the public found out following the Kony video in 2012; namely, that Kony’s influence in the Ugandan world was quickly waning and had been for some time. This meant that the video itself was shady. Why the sudden interest in 2012?, many asked. We might ask the same in 2014. This time, however, those in charge didn’t wait around for Facebook’s teenagers and bored college students to sound the battle cry.
That is not to say though that the Obama administration and the PR experts surrounding the White House aren’t going to enter into full on “sell-it-to-the-multitudes” mode. After all, Kony’s name is once again trending. And, predictably, Uganda’s 2009 bill, which was passed in February, providing for major penalties for those who take part in homosexual activity was also brought up in the article. In fact, it was a seemingly random section that added very little to the Kony story. Why mention it? Most likely, because of what Anthony Wile of The Daily Bell refers to as a Dominant Social Theme. In other words, it is something that will ignite war fever, or at least intervention fever amongst the American multitudes. “Gay rights” is a useful Dominant Social Theme and in times like this, when foreign intervention needs to be sold, there is no good reason to leave the issue aside. After all (you heard it here first), if you oppose Washington’s intervention in Uganda now, whether monetary, military, or otherwise, you just might be a “homophobe.” Such is the nature of Government-induced “debate.”
The Washington Post closes with a zinger. The article stated that Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army “poses no threat to the United States, but the administration sees assistance to the A.U. mission as a useful way to build military and political partnerships with African governments in a region where al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are rapidly expanding, as well as to demonstrate adherence to human rights principles.”
Let me summarize that: 1) The United States is not threatened by Kony but he and his organization are a useful excuse to build up the military efforts in Africa. 2) Always, always, always mention al-Qaeda. The American public swoons over its mention. 3) Also, just in case you aren’t quite on board, this is about human rights. FYI. Yes, the United States, whose government leads the way in regards to institutionalized evil of drone murders, secret torture prisons, global spying, and other similar Fascistic world domination techniques, is on a crusade to demonstrate “human rights principles.” Fantastic, ain’t it?