Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kony 2012 & Obama 2012

Remember all the flap last March about “Kony 2012”? That’s the propaganda film promoting US military intervention into Uganda to chase down Joseph Kony & his Lord’s Resistance Army for atrocities, including forcibly conscripting 30,000 child soldiers. As a senator, Obama co-sponsored a bill to restrict US military aid to countries conscripting children but as president he issued waivers of compliance with the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA)--passed by Congress & signed into law by Bush in 2008 & which went into effect in 2010. The CSPA prohibits the US from providing military financing, training, & other  assistance to governments using child soldiers. In October 2011, Obama issued waivers allowing four countries to receive military aid (Chad, Congo, Sudan, & Yemen), despite their forcible & violent conscription of thousands of boys & girls under 15-years-old. He defended his waivers, saying it was a matter of US national interest & that the countries needed time to devise a demobilization plan. Obama will again decide in early October 2012 whether to withhold aid as dictated by law or issue waivers to those governments, as well as Libya, Myanmar (involved in ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas), & Somalia. Just prior to the elections is not a propitious time for such a decision by the ever-expedient Obama. So much for lesser-evilism. (Photo of child soldier in army of DR Congo; photographer not identified)

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