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What’s Never Trending on Twitter: U.S. Has Killed Way More People than the LRA’s Joseph Kony

14 March 2012 Loonwatch.com 52 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

What’s Never Trending on Twitter: U.S. Has Killed Way More People than the LRA’s Joseph Kony

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 YouTube video which has now gone viral:

We posted it ourselves on LoonWatch.  We wondered what if Joseph Kony, a self-avowed Christian leading a group called the Lord’s Resistance Army, had been a Muslim with the name Yusuf Qani?  What if he was leading a group called Allah’s Resistance Army?

The article generated a healthy discussion, and we benefited from the input of Ruth DeSouza, who posted a link to a very thought-provoking article she wrote:

The  documentary repeats the colonial imperative for Africa to be saved by white people. This video smacks of yet another colonial “civilising” project,  where the old binaries of colonialism are revived. These frame Africa as backward, while the west is modern; “we” are positioned as free while “they” are oppressed and so on. In this binary of good and bad, Africans are represented on the not so good side of the binary. Therefore, the solution must be a good one, a white one, and in this hierarchy Africans lose out. Local efforts and voices go unacknowledged in favour of the white saviour complex, which as Teju Cole suggests “supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening”…

I abhor the white saviour narrative, where vulnerable children or women of colour must be rescued from men of colour by “culturally superior” white men or women.

Her complaint with the documentary is most certainly valid.  The documentary could have benefited from featuring some local African protagonists, of which there exist no shortage of.  In fact, I would hazard a guess that the people most involved in the effort to protect the local population would be from within the community itself.

Dispatches’ documentary on Africa’s child witches managed to give a more balanced picture of the situation by including African heroes alongside Gary Foxcroft, such as Sam Itauma.  By so doing, they decreased the chances of sending the wrong message.  One must be cautious in this regard, especially in the backdrop of a long history of colonial humanitarianism.  The West has–and continues to–use humanitarian “concerns” to imply their superiority over darker peoples, as well as to justify military occupation.

Having said that, I do not think one can be too critical of Invisible Children’s documentary. They were in a bit of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation.  If they depicted the suffering of Africans, they could be accused of portraying Africa as backward.  If they ignore African plight, then they could be accused of racism (do you only care about white people dying?).

Even so, it is very true that Westerners, especially Americans, have a much easier time seeing a black African like Joseph Kony as the ultimate villian.  Certainly, Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have killed thousands of individuals, abducted tens of thousands, and displaced countless more innocent people.  No reasonable person could deny the wickedness of Kony or his cohorts.

Yet, all of this pales in front of the crimes committed by the leaders of the United States, most of whom are “good, white Judeo-Christian folk.”  I know even the thought of this seems offensive to all Serious, Decent People, who would be quick to cast this off as some sort of conspiracy theorist talk.

But, the evidence speaks for itself.  The Christian Science Monitor estimates that the LRA has “killed an estimated 2,500 people” over an 18-month period.  I couldn’t find a cumulative tally for the last two decades, but it seems safe to say that we’re talking about thousands or at most tens of thousands.  Meanwhile, “a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities [caused by the United States]…is well over one million.”  That’s just Muslim victims.

Who then is the greater villain?  Pure numbers would indicate the United States.  Admittedly, there are other considerations, but the huge disparity in numbers of corpses speaks volumes.

It’s unlikely that a YouTube video calling to stop the United States from its history of virtually non-stop war and killing would ever go viral like the Kona 2012 documentary did.  Granted, it’s harder to criticize one’s own nation, but it seems more reasonable to channel one’s energy towards one’s elected government.   As our generation’s most important intellectual Noam Chomsky said in an interview:

My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences.

Furthermore, pointing to the atrocities committed by people of other nations while remaining silent about one’s own country’s crimes reeks of hypocrisy of the worst order.  As Chomsky said:

It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.

The point is that the useful and significant political actions are those that have consequences for human beings. And those are overwhelmingly the actions which you have some way of influencing and controlling, which mean for me, American actions.

For most citizens, however, the situation is exactly reversed.  Indeed, American interest in human rights abuses falls into one of three categories:

1. They are most vocal about the inequities of their enemies, especially when there is a national interest involved and the villain is a Muslim (i.e. Iran).

2. They are generally silent about (or merely pay lip service to) the human rights abuses committed against people belonging to nations where no national benefit can be expected (i.e. many parts of Africa).

3. They are wholly ignorant about, adamantly deny, or justify the crimes committed by their own government (i.e. the United States) or stalwart allies (i.e. Israel).

As George Orwell famously said:

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency.  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

We always wonder how it was that the Germans claimed not to know what Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were doing.  Yet, how similar is our general state of apathy today toward what our own government commits on a daily basis.  The reality is that the American can never come to grips with the wickedness of the crimes his nation commits.

American indifference and willful ignorance of the hundreds of thousands of lives our government brings to an end is also due to the fact that we don’t witness the effects of what we’re doing.  Whereas Europe and Russia experienced the horrors of war firsthand, the United States has remained relatively safe and secure on the North American continent, not having seen war on its shores for a very long time.  War to Americans means little more than increased gas prices–not bombs dropping from the skies while filling gas.

The victims of American foreign policy reside some hundreds and thousands of miles away in countries and continents we’ve never seen.  The dead remain nameless and faceless.  Even our soldiers oftentimes don’t see who they kill.  Imagine if a pilot of a bomber plane had to actually attend the funerals of the peoples’ lives he extinguishes with the press of a button?  This situation has become even worse with the advent of remote-controlled drones.  Americans are becoming increasingly protected and distant from the violence that they spread throughout various parts of the globe.  Our way of killing is just cleaner (and more efficient).

But, it hardly matters to a victim if his relative died from being hacked to pieces by a machete or having a bomb dropped on his head from the skies.  The result is the same: death.

There is of course another issue: those “bad guys” we criticize, like Joseph Kony, look like villains.  Meanwhile, the perpetrators of American crimes wear suits and ties, look and talk in a courteous, cool, and calm manner.  As Glenn Greenwald put it:

There are all kinds of people who advocate extremely heinous ideas, but do so in a very soft-spoken and civil manner. Bill Kristol comes to mind, John Yoo, as well. These are people who can go on and be extremely polite in conversation.

Their mannerisms do not change their deeds, which are heinous.  The U.S. presidents have killed more Muslims than Kony has killed Africans.  Noam Chomsky opined:

If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.

How much easier it is to express indignation over Joseph Kony or, better yet, some Muslim villain?

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.  

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52 Comments »

  1. Unfortunately the king never can be questioned as to his actions, where the general is open to criticism.

  2. absolutely ryt

  3. Really? You compare us to a guy that literally drags children out of their beds and makes them sex slaves and child soldiers, then makes them kill their own parents? We are no saints, but this is a ridiculous comparison.

  4. Resort to God and yes, the agent

  5. Gerry Ford?? NO WAY!!

  6. i will trend it or at least try.

  7. The Nuremberg laws don’t apply to number of people killed; the thing that matters is the way that they’re killed. US Presidents have not been locking Muslims up in concentration camps or otherwise targeting the Muslim civilian population.

  8. What ever happened to human rights? I guess this only applies if we are looking down our collective noses at other countries…

  9. Um, what do you call Guatonimo?

  10. Zachary, how f’inf dare you? WTF do you call gitmo if not a concentration camp? What about the black prisons all over the world ran by the intelligence communities? Get a clue bro.

  11. Kony is a “Christian” the same way Hong Xiuquan was. (Just a little historical context from a prof who has taught Chinese history)

  12. lol ask ur US govt how many civilian they have killed in name of dem0cracy in iraq afghanistan libya s0malia n many c0untries if u want data go to http://www.whatreallyhappened.com

  13. Bombing killed many civilians and destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure. That’s targeting civilians.

    There’s also our extensive history of intervention in foreign countries(not all bad, but a lot of it is):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions

  14. The actions of Kony have led to the abduction of anywhere between 30,000 and 80,000 children, as well as displaced over 2 million in Uganda alone.
    These numbers are quite higher due to his LRA’s action in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well.

    Yeah….let’s complain about the US to justify doing nothing with Kony. Makes perfect sense to me.

    Grow some balls and do whats right.

  15. It is very sad that our own people do not realize what this country is doing in our name. If they could see the devastation up close, it might help.

  16. Whoa easy now people. There is absolutely no comparison here. The problem with Kony isn’t that he has an army, or that he kills people; every world leader becomes guilty (or can become guilty) of that eventually.

    No, the difference here is that his army is composed largely of children, kidnapped (or perhaps bought? I suppose he might buy a few, but I doubt it; why buy what you can steal?), used to commit horrific atrocities on their own parents and others (this army doesn’t just kill, it maims ON PURPOSE!), and turning GIRLS into sex slaves against their will. I hope not one of you is inclined to blame the girl, a child, for her own RAPE.

    There is a world of difference here. To compare the two is apples to oranges and doesn’t stand any test of logic. I think some people need to get off their high religious horse (i.e. it’s all about Muslims) and look at the rest of us as humans with some potentiality. It’s not about the number of Muslims killed, it’s about the kind of people impacted, specifically the most vulnerable in any society regardless of religion, color, creed, or culture: children. If it weren’t for those children, we honestly wouldn’t care.

    Neither would you.

    Unless, perhaps, they were Muslim children.

  17. Zachary Taylor, you need to reconsider what you’ve said. Muslim civilian populations are targeted by the U.S soldiers/armies, obviously at the behest of American governments/presidents etc. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are few of the many examples…drone attacks, insanity attacks under the name of collateral damage have killed more civilians than killed in any other attacks. Guantánamo Bay is nothing short of a concentration camp, not to mention how they detain and treat Muslim prisoners in U.S prisons…it is always difficult to understand if you are not directly affected or if you haven’t walked in those shoes…

  18. You know, it occurs to me that this whole article’s premise is really disgusting. It presumes that most of us (not just the US, but others elsewhere as well, don’t care about children, or would be ok with Muslims doing.. what? At which point do we draw the line? Let’s say Kony was Muslim; do you think we’d be ok with him killing others using children???? Of course not! Our problem then, actually, would be to avoid the impression that we’d be bringing the Crusades back.

    Our previous President was clearly happy to do just that. Anyone who thinks otherwise is probably as narrow minded as the article’s author seems to be.

    *This* President, on the other hand, likely isn’t. For one thing, having grown up (at least for a time) in a predominantly Muslim country, he would likely feel much more sympathetic to Muslims are a group than any president before him. To ascribe to him the kind of callouness that is defined along religion lines is both disingenuous and potentially dangerous.

    Yes, Gitmo is still open. I suspect he discovered he couldn’t do what he wanted to about Gitmo; there is much we don’t know about the Presidency and what it means to have all the secrets. That concentration camp/prison (I think it’s both at the same time) really needs to be dealt with; but have you seen how he’s been and is being treated by the people who actually mold his power? A president isn’t a king in this country. He cannot snap his fingers and make things happen.

    Tell you what, if you want the job, why not apply for it? Meantime, please don’t insult our intelligence or our compassion. I know it’s hard to see these days, but there is still plenty of it in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West, and it shines most brightly when it comes to children, regardless of gender.
    /end rant.

  19. Romana, drone attacks are not targeting Muslim civilian populations they’re targeting specific militants. If the US were targeting Muslim civilian populations, it wouldn’t have spent nearly a decade and billions of dollars rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan. It wouldn’t have even occupied them to begin with- it would have simply carpet bombed them. If you want to see actual “targeting” of Muslim populations, see the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan where half the civilian population was driven out (compare that to today), or the Serbian invasion of Bosnia. Where was the US where that happened? On the side of the Muslims, funny enough.

  20. this is the liberal’s way of distracting us from the democrat’s racism and poor job at providing employment.

  21. The United States is a superpower with the best means to kill, with the most advanced weaponry in the world. Joseph Kony is just an obscure warlord who’s armed with triple-handed Soviet small-arms.

  22. Comparing Gitmo to a concentration camp is absurd. A concentration camp is not the same thing as a “prison,” even a prison where innocent people are sometimes incarcerated and where torture has been recorded in a few instances in the past. There is a huge difference between human rights abuses against individuals and locking up entire populations of thousands of individuals solely based on their ethnicity. People have been put in gitmo due to evidence that later turned out to be wrong, but no one has been put in solely due to their religion. The last time the US had concentration camps was in WWII– but nobody was executed there. (Although prior to WWII, the US occupation of the Philippines did include those kinds of crimes against humanity.)

  23. I think we need to change the name of this page to “Americans against America”.
    Guantanamo nothing short of a concentration camp? Do you realize how illogical you sound? Do you know nothing about concentration camps? Gitmo is not heavan but to compare it to a concentration camp? Replace Jews with Muslims and I’m sure you would sing a different toon.
    I’m super glad the Muslims here where I live are far less dramatic and illogical then many people on this page.
    I need to make a page to show the greatness of true Islam so people don’t see this page and think Muslims are all hateful and just want to illogically insult everything not Muslim.

  24. Perhaps if the inmates of Gitmo were allowed to go to trial, it would not be labeled as such!

  25. There ARE people leading “Allah’s Resistance Armies” lots of them. Muslims have killed larger numbers than Kony, so has US, so has most everybody he is a small potato.

    A horrible potato but a small one.

  26. its all so cruel and misguided. and stupid.

  27. Noam Chomsky is an apologist for left-wing anarchism. He is a crack pot and Muslims do not need him to defend Islam.

  28. Ok. This is getting out of hand.

  29. This also perpetuates the myth that America is killing Muslims in great numbers whereas sectarian Muslims are by far killing the most Muslims. The talking points found in this article will reinforce the “war on Islam” narrative that justifies terrorism.

  30. Beth yes it is ridiculous

  31. Reign in blood …

  32. Present and pass is the line and what are we as people going to do change it . Not focus on what we cant change but change what we can. peace not hate insha!

  33. Lost respect for this page after this post. I thought the plan was to foster understanding , not pin us against eachother.

  34. Muslims painting the United States as evil. That should really serve to weaken anti-Islamic stereotypes.

  35. loonwatch, what a great name. is this guy standing in front of a mirror. his tangents are worst then mine. he’s all over the place and they don’t even make any sense.

    “There is of course another issue: those “bad guys” we criticize, like Joseph Kony, look like villains. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of American crimes wear suits and ties, look and talk in a courteous, cool, and calm manner.” didn’t milosevic wear a suit and tie. speak calmly. http://www.google.com/search?q=milosevic&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=J_NgT5L8Gcad2QXQrJm1CA&sqi=2&ved=0CGsQsAQ&biw=1599&bih=957

    “2. They are generally silent about (or merely pay lip service to) the human rights abuses committed against people belonging to nations where no national benefit can be expected (i.e. many parts of Africa).” maybe so since somalia? we tried to help black africans (and muslim too)once, they dragged our guy through the street. we have tried to help hatti on several occations. we even defended a muslim nation from the invation of another muslim country, we were rewarded for that with 9/11.

    of cousre we have killed millions of muslims. we also killed millions of germans, japanesse. you think peolpe would stop messing with us and our allies?

    “As our generation’s most important intellectual Noam Chomsky” lol?

    “Whereas Europe and Russia experienced the horrors of war firsthand” really. so the russians are still traumatized by ww2? so why did they invade afghanistan in 1980? the europeans have, albeit small numbers compared to our’s, people in theater in both iraq and afghanistan. didn’t the europeans lead the nato support of the libyian rebels, sometimes killing innocent civilians? the dutch did show they wanted no taste of war when they gave ratko mladic srebrenica. he must not have looked like a villian to them in his nice uniform?

    btw did anyone see the report that the war fearing/peace loving russian have admitted to supplying the syrians weapons. no need for outrage here, they aren’t part of the evil WEST? no space either, too many vandalism stories to cover, that are a month old.

    i see why the loonwatch guys don’t sign their names to their articles.

  36. I dont undestand these trolls , dont they ever get full? America is the number 1 killer in the world. I think having 18yr old quilifies as child soldier. what does 18yr know about the world? Get a grip trolls stop supporting one killer and making excuses for another.

  37. But he’s not, is he.

  38. The rant starts out about the Kony video but then turns into who killed more over the years, without mention of what is going on everyday in Muslim countries. We all agree war is bad. Loonwatch and Islamophobia if you are really going there you are will loose a lot of followers.

  39. What do I call Guatonimo? A safe place to store POW! We are at war with global terrorism. Simple. America is the Number 1 killer of terrorists in the world. That’s something to be proud of.

  40. Zachary Taylor, I will end this debate with responding to your question about where was U.S when Soviet Union( at the time) attacked Afghanistan…they were busy training and recruiting Al Qaeeda (common knowledge) to fight against Soviets … en route to become super power after the fall of Soviet republic…which they succeeded in…reasons to help Afghanistan never were or are charitable. Secondly, check the stats on suicide rates etc at Guantanamo Bay …and what was done to so many…not using gas chambers but through other methods…And American government doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of American people …people are just people, with same emotions and feelings every where…

  41. Wes Snider, I am sorry that I have offended your senses by being illogical and dramatic, and I am pleased that you are not surrounded by my type, however, things only change when you learn to collaborate with people who are like you as well as those who are not like you…cheers

  42. Where is it that the kouran states that all must tolerate diversity and respect other beliefs? Where does it state to love thy neighbor?

  43. The writer is just another United States basher. He is using the liberties won by the blood of U.S. Citizens to critique a nation, who though has many faults is still a beacon of hope to most of the world. What was it that Muslim said as he stomped and shredded the American flag in New York? “Come join us we can do this to their flag it is protected by their Constitution it is their weakness” That is pretty close to what he said, the object of this writer is the same as the one stomping the flag, he just does it in an award winning way, exploiting what he thinks is a weakness.

    Note: if the United States has killed one million Muslims it is still five hundred thousand short of the numbers Muslims killed back in 1915 within the period of less than a year.

    Here is a slightly changed citation from this article:

    My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own religion, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if Islam is responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences

  44. Quran: 4:36,2:56,109:1-109:6.Learn to do your homework….

  45. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5BPVF1C5LE

    i think they said “we have a permit” amoung other things.

    this writer has won awards? from who? the international specious reasoning society? who is the writer?

    i like the orwell quote though. little dated, i’m pretty sure the brits are out of india. “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” could you not easily replace the word nationalist with islamist. hell their god tells them to torture people.

  46. Mike
    Actually “our God” doesn’t. He told the Muslims in the Battle of Badr to fight the Quraysh. The only person tortured was Hamza when the disbeliever Hind stabbed him and stuffed his liver into her mouth like a lunatic.

  47. [...] a citizen: to oppose, first and foremost, the bad acts of one’s own government. Noam Chomsky put this best when asked why he spends the bulk of his time on the crimes of his own government (and its client [...]

  48. [...] a citizen: to oppose, first and foremost, the bad acts of one’s own government. Noam Chomsky put this best when asked why he spends the bulk of his time on the crimes of his own government (and its client [...]

  49. [...] a citizen: to oppose, first and foremost, the bad acts of one’s own government. Noam Chomsky put this best when asked why he spends the bulk of his time on the crimes of his own government (and its client [...]

  50. [...] a citizen: to oppose, first and foremost, the bad acts of one’s own government. Noam Chomsky put this best when asked why he spends the bulk of his time on the crimes of his own government (and its client [...]

  51. [...] a citizen: to oppose, first and foremost, the bad acts of one’s own government. Noam Chomsky put this best when asked why he spends the bulk of his time on the crimes of his own government (and its client [...]

  52. [...] a citizen: to oppose, first and foremost, the bad acts of one’s own government. Noam Chomsky put this best when asked why he spends the bulk of his time on the crimes of his own government (and its client [...]

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