In the April-June 2012 issue of Draft NOtices, we published an article by Stephanie Jennings on the misleading “Kony 2012” campaign of Invisible Children, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that has been exposed has having connections to groups pursuing a right-wing religious agenda.
In April 2012, Invisible Children mobilized thousands of students across the U.S. to put pressure on the U.S. government to arrest Joseph Kony, a murderous African leader whose small rebel group has kidnapped children to use as soldiers. One of the many concerns expressed by critics of the Kony 2012 campaign is that it could be used to create a pretext for a much larger U.S. military presence in Africa. The U.S. has so far failed to convince any country on the continent to host the headquarters for the Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM), which is currently based in Germany (see Draft Notices, January-March 2008, “U.S. Militarization of Africa”).
The suspicion that the Kony 2012 campaign would give the U.S. military an excuse to expand operations in Africa was given substance by an article that appeared in The New York Times on April 29, 2012, immediately after Invisible Children’s national mobilization of teenagers for the Kony 2012 campaign. The report gave examples of semi-covert U.S. military activities in various parts of Africa, and revealed that a unit of 100 U.S. Special Operations troops were hunting for Kony in the African jungle. The article made a clear connection to the Invisible Children campaign:
Gen. Carter F. Ham, the overall commander of American forces in Africa, has a “Kony 2012” poster tacked to his office door. As one American official put it: “Let’s be honest, there was some constituent pressure here. Did ‘Kony 2012’ have something to do with this? Absolutely.”
One of the sad facts about Invisible Children is that while claiming to be acting on behalf of young victims of warfare, it is building a large constituency of teenagers in the U.S. to push for military intervention that could very well lead to members of their own generation dying — and killing other youths — in a new U.S. war.
Information source: The New York Times, April 29, 2012, “In Vast Jungle, U.S. Troops Aid in Search for Kony.”
This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (http://www.comdsd.org/)