Saturday, October 15, 2011

Do the Right Thing

During the Bush presidency I compared the Democrats' obsession with discrediting and tearing down Mr. Bush to Captain Ahab's obsession with the white whale Moby Dick, a comparison which was, in my view, completely merited. Today, I have to revisit that metaphor. I think that the current Ahabs are populating talk radio, and they're perfectly happy to destroy their own credibility, and make themselves fools, to insure that nothing President Obama does goes uncriticized.

I think if Obama forgot to cover a yawn Sean Hannity in particular would rant about it for 45 minutes. On their radio shows today both Hannity and Rush Limbaugh achieved almost unprecedented levels of fatuity (no mean feat for Hannity) criticizing Obama for sending 100 military advisors to Africa to help the Ugandan government wage war against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which they falsely asserted was a Christian militia.

In the world of conservative talk radio, some of which I generally regard as a blessing, if Obama does X then X must, by virtue of the fact that Obama did it, be an unmitigated screw-up and there's no need to check the facts. These guys could have saved themselves considerable embarrassment, however, if they'd have taken the trouble to check out the LRA instead of blithely assuming that whatever Obama does is ipso facto misguided and boneheaded.

To give readers a sense of who the LRA is here's an excerpt from a report on them at
The LRA continued to kill, torture, maim, rape, and abduct large numbers of civilians, virtually enslaving numerous children. Although its levels of activity diminished somewhat compared with 1997, the area that the LRA targeted grew. The LRA sought to overthrow the Ugandan Government and inflicted brutal violence on the population in northern Uganda. LRA forces also targeted local government officials and employees. The LRA also targeted international humanitarian convoys and local NGO workers.

The LRA abducted large numbers of civilians for training as guerrillas. Most victims were children and young adults. The LRA abducted young girls as sex and labor slaves. Other children, mainly girls, were reported to have been sold, traded, or given as gifts by the LRA to arms dealers in Sudan. While some later escaped or were rescued, the whereabouts of many children remain unknown.

In particular, the LRA abducted numerous children and, at clandestine bases, terrorized them into virtual slavery as guards, concubines, and soldiers. In addition to being beaten, raped, and forced to march until exhausted, abducted children were forced to participate in the killing of other children who had attempted to escape. Amnesty International reported that without child abductions, the LRA would have few combatants. More than 6,000 children were abducted during 1998, although many of those abducted later escaped or were released. Most human rights NGOs placed the number of abducted children held captive by the LRA at around 3,000, although estimates varied substantially.
To see a dramatic depiction of what's happening to children in places like northern Uganda and elsewhere in Africa I recommend the movie Blood Diamond.

There's enough reason to criticize the current administration, heaven knows, without fabricating things, especially when the fabrication makes the fabricator look like an utter buffoon.

If American troops can eliminate these savages then why not send them? What's the political/moral case for standing by while children are being raped, murdered, and turned into cold-blooded killers if we can excise the evil and rescue these children? I seem to recall that President Clinton took a lot of heat from the right, as he should have, for allowing the Rwandan genocide to go unabated when we could have stopped it, and I'm sure that if George Bush had sent advisors to Africa there wouldn't have been a peep of protest out of either Hannity or Limbaugh.

Which brings me to what Mr. Obama should be criticized for. Throughout his entire 2008 campaign he condemned Bush's interventionism and the use of American power to liberate 25 million Iraqis from tyranny. He promised to end the wars in which we were engaged, close down Guantanamo, repent of the "Bush doctrine", and establish a nation at peace with the world.

Since being elected, however, he has done none of this. So far from being the UnBush he has been the UberBush. He was right, however, to do so. He was right to not only follow Bush's policy but to amplify it. He was right to prosecute the drone war against terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen, to go after bin Laden, to aid in toppling Qaddafi (even though he went about it in a way that caused needless bloodshed) and now to help eradicate the LRA.

Doing what's right after vehemently criticizing others for doing the same thing makes one a hypocrite, to be sure, and Obama certainly is guilty of that, but I applaud him for trying to protect African children from the horrors visited upon them by vermin like the LRA. When doing the right thing makes one a hypocrite one should still do the right thing.

Amazing Photo

Byron sends along an extraordinary photo in which the photographer captured the Milky Way, the aurora borealis, and a meteor in the same shot. I thought our readers might enjoy it:
You can read more about it here.