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Barry from Look What I Did responds to Invisible Children Organization

Look What I Did

Invisible Children Confirms Pro-War Stance in Article About Barry from Look What I Did

While being featured in a critical article on the official website of such a large non-profit is both disturbing and flattering, my feelings about the organization remain largely firm. However, it appears that my candid comments struck a chord with Invisible Children; they finally decided to admit that they do support putting the US Military on the ground in Uganda. While the well-meaning people at IC might believe that the US Military is an effective assassin or policeman for the arrest, murder, or capture of individual non-state aggressors, the millions of lives lost in a multi-country pursuit of Osama Bin Ladin prove the exact opposite.

In reality, allowing the US Military to intervene in the Ugandan civil war will doubtlessly involve one of three things:

(1) An invasion with ground forces to "promote stability" and "train Ugandan forces". This would quickly deteriorate into an occupation, much like what is going on in Iraq or Afghanistan.

(2) "Targeted" missile strikes. Essentially, rumors from third-world individuals with limited technological capacity will be used to generate coordinates whereby large missiles will be fired in hopes of hitting Joseph Kony. The target will likely be missed, and civilian casualties will be considered acceptable "collateral damage."

(3) Unmanned drones will roam the countryside bombing various homes rumored to be owned by members of the LRA faction. (See: Rural western Pakistan or the plot to Terminator 2)

The Proof Whereby I Determined the Pro-War Motivations of Invisible Children

"(1) providing political, economic, military, and intelligence support for viable multilateral efforts to protect civilians from the Lord's Resistance Army, to apprehend or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield in the continued absence of a negotiated solution, and to disarm and demobilize the remaining Lord's Resistance Army fighters;"

The above language is taken from S.1067 - Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 . This deadly bill clearly gives the President full authority to provide "military... support" to attack one thousand persona non grata that may be located in Uganda. However, they may also be located in nearby areas like the Sudan. Since a venue is not cleanly indicated in the language, any President could use this military authority to go into nearly any country in the region so long as a news article in Reuters rumored members of the targeted organization to be present.

For further evidence, simply view this blog detailing Invisible Children's efforts to convince Senator Coburn to support this dastardly piece of legislation.

I Asked Them to Denounce Their Interventionist Position, Instead They CONFIRMED It

"When talking about corruption and exploitation, we are on the same page. However, when speaking of pure pacifism, we disagree. Invisible Children believes in the usefulness of strategic intervention in humanitarian crises. To ignore this is to allow another Rwanda. "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." We are not so cynical as to believe that all state behavior is 100% motivated by financial trickery and propaganda. We are also not so naive as to believe that many foreign entanglements are motivated by less than noble strategy. That is the very thing we are aiming to change with the passage of this bill: a state action compelled by the compassion and global citizenship of citizens."

This was their response to my statement. To be fair, the article they link as my "manifesto" against them was not about Invisible Children alone, but several like-minded pro-war front groups. This directly confirms my suspicions that they absolutely endorse some measure of military intervention in Uganda. While they claim they only support something targeted and somehow different than Iraq, the bill they promote does not put them at the steering wheel of the military solution. In fact, current US Military leaders under the discretion of the President could do nearly anything they had in mind with the broad authority given in that bill.

Responding to the Fair Criticisms of Invisible Children

There were some fair criticisms asserted by the official Invisible Children statement as well as a few useful critiques in the comments beneath the blog. There were also hateful statements that would make better sense on Lambgoat than on a website for a supposedly peace-oriented non-profit organization. (No offense to Lambgoat. A heavy metal and hardcore punk website necessarily attracts people with an aggressive tendency to make colorful use of the 1st Amendment.) For example, one kind soul said, "Why is it that our society allows creatures like he to roam amongst us? In a community founded on logic and concern for self-preservation, he would be put down humanely. Instead, we graciously permit him to live and breed freely. The fact that we allowed him to make it to adulthood is proof positive of two things: Americans are the best and the worst people on the planet."

Bear in mind that these comments were not about Joseph Kony. They were directed towards me. Built into that delicate language is a direct endorsement for my euthanization due to a difference in views about foreign policy. However, I digress. I won't paint Invisible Children in a way as to be represented by the bizarre and hopefully sarcastic language of that one individual, hidden behind the security of the keyboard. I have a bit of respect for extreme rhetorical flourishes and exaggeratedly sarcastic statements. At least his grammar was top-notch. The word selection was artful. To blame Invisible Children for such would be the type of jingoistic rhetoric used on cable news shows. I don't stoop to that level.

However, there were some fair criticisms, albeit they stem from the nature of the way in which they quoted me. At that point in time, I had never written an article exclusively about Invisible Children. My childhood friend who reprinted my words in his blog chose a different title for use on his site, which is his 1st Amendment right. The overarching theme of the article might have seemed to indicate that I had proof of a shady uranium deal being the primary motivation behind Invisible Children. While Uganda and the Sudan are resource-rich with materials including oil and uranium, I never bothered to seek definitive proof regarding the specific mode of financing behind Invisible Children. I only asserted the idea in reference to a large group of organizations and the movement for United Nations intervention in the region.

With that being said, I have no evidence that Invisible Children is directly benefiting from some future or past resource deal in the region. If I gave the impression that I had proof, I apologize. However, I never directly stated such.

It doesn't matter, though. Whether or not Invisible Children's founders or financial contributors are going to benefit from a uranium deal, the bottom line is this: they clearly support US Military intervention in Uganda much like what is going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, the bill of goods sounds identical to the one we were sold when the hawks advocated for an Osama Bin Ladin hunt in Afghanistan. (Years later we still haven't found him, but we have torn the country apart and occupied it in the meantime.) My primary gripe was their refusal to prominently display this viewpoint on their official website. Now that they have responded to my claims by admitting this in their blog, I am satisfied. Now we have definitive proof whereby we can show well-meaning teens and young people that Invisible Children is a bad choice for anti-war kids.

Also, Invisible Children now has a fun new joke to use in all of their blogs. This blog about jetpacks from the official Invisible Children website discusses all the "sweet ish" that can be purchased with uranium money. This has now clearly become the new office joke, and I'm glad they are amused.
On a Pragmatic Level: The Current Situation in Uganda

First of all, Joseph Kony's army has already been defeated. Fractured groups retreated to various hidden locations. This blog on Invisible Children's own website recognizes this fact, although they frame the article with leading language that makes it feel like Kony's army has occupied, invaded, or merged with the military of Darfur:
"The LRA has entered Darfur, apparently with Sudanese President Bashir's approval. This is is [sic] not good. Hopefully it will make the Obama administration take notice." When saying the LRA has entered Darfur, they give the impression that a formal military advance happened. Furthermore, their foreboding to Obama seems to indicate that Kony's splinter group has become a more impressive global threat by being defeated and sent into hiding. I don't follow the logic used there.
According to a different article from Foreign Policy magazine, the United States is already using military intervention in Uganda. From the article, "In January, the New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman broke the story that the U.S. military had helped plan and fund a Ugandan military attack against an infamous rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), in eastern Congo. The attack was poorly executed, allowing the rebel leaders to escape and murder 900 civilians in retaliation." It would appear that my concerns are justified, as our first attempt at a "viable solution" created a violent conflict where 900 innocent souls were snuffed out into the dark, cold embrace of death.
The Invisible Children staff even linked this little piece of information on their blog: "...the LRA is a relatively small force these days, probably numbering less than 1,000 hard-core fighters who remain loyal to Kony..."
So these guys are advocating using the most powerful military machine in the history of the world to track down a splintered, separated, demoralized, and retreating army of 1000 people? It appears that the conflict is nearing a conclusion. Where is the celebratory article on Invisible Children's website calling off lobbying efforts since Kony's army has been defeated? You wouldn't know that to be the case from their presentation of the issue.

Let it be known that I have the utmost sympathy for the terrible conditions facing the people of Uganda. That inspires my desire to call out Invisible Children for promoting a policy that may well amplify the problems that they face, much like it has done to the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. When think-tank and non-profit guys start playing armchair army general, innocent people lose their lives. That is what motivates my questioning. I am pleased with the direct aid that Invisible Children sends to Uganda. It is not only their right, but our responsibility as moral people to help out. However, we part ways when they steal money from public coffers for foreign adventurism that may hurt the very people they intend to help.

My Challenge to Invisible Children Going Forward

Tell donors how much money you spend on lobbying efforts, versus how much you spend on direct aid. I will agree to disagree about the idea that we need a Uganda War to solve this problem.

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Tags:  Look What I DidInvisible ChildrenBarrypoliticsUganda

    March 30, 2010

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