Rush Limbaugh supports LRA as ‘Christian freedom fighters’

By Artur Wysoczanski

I often enjoy listening to conservative talk radio in my spare time. It’s an uproariously funny source of entertainment that presents a good enough alternative to Saturday Night Live or Johnny Carson. I recommend trying it sometime; you can start with Michael Savage, then listen to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and maybe even Ann Coulter when she’s on the air. They’re perfectly harmless and positively adorable when they start ranting and raving – as long as you don’t take them seriously, that is.

As good-natured and understanding as I am about the right’s peculiar brand of humor, there’s one statement my good friend Rush uttered on-air on Oct. 14 that made my jaw drop – one statement that was so outrageous, offensive and downright stupid that I stopped dead in my tracks. Speaking about President Barack Obama’s plan to send 100 U.S. troops to fight the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa, Limbaugh said: “Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them … So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda and – (interruption) no, I’m not kidding.” Limbaugh later posted the transcript of the show on his website under the title, “Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians.”

There are many things that are very, very wrong about Limbaugh’s little diatribe, but I’ll focus on three for the sake of brevity.

Firstly, Limbaugh has called the LRA a group of Christian “freedom fighters” fighting against an oppressive Muslim regime. For those of you who don’t know who the LRA is, it has been called a “notorious and brutal death cult” by Foreign Policy Magazine, and for good reason. Its battle for liberation involves periodically descending on a remote African village, raping and murdering every adult in sight, and then kidnapping all of the children. The boys become child soldiers, who are sent to the front lines where they die in droves, and the girls are gang raped and kept as sex slaves. Its resume also includes dismemberment of its victims as well as (interestingly enough) burning and looting Christian churches. As a blog on Foreign Policy Magazine’s website reported Oct. 15, Graeme Wood of Atlantic monthly once wrote of it: “An American diplomat in [the Central African Republic] compared the group to the Manson family, but given that the LRA has killed 12,000 people, the comparison is self-evidently unfair to Manson.” It’s a small wonder that the senior leadership of the LRA is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Calling these people Christians or freedom fighters is a clear slap in the face to either term.

All this information on the LRA was easily accessible through one Wikipedia search, but somehow Limbaugh must have forgotten to check his facts. The fact that he somehow managed to conveniently avoid telling his listeners this side of the story invites the conclusion that he either has no idea what he’s talking about or that he supports the LRA’s heroic actions. I hope for America’s sake that only the first conclusion is true, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this was not the case.

Secondly, Limbaugh insinuated that the Christian groups should have the support of the United States because “they are fighting the Muslims in Sudan.” He didn’t say Muslim extremists, he didn’t say al-Qaida, he said Muslims. This suggests that, according to him, Muslims are still the mortal enemies of the Christian people and must be fought even if you have to gang up with a band of rapists and murderers in order to do so. I honestly wonder whether he believes the Crusades are an ongoing event, and I wonder if he realizes how hypocritical it is to say Islam is the enemy of Western civilization while complaining that Christians are being discriminated against. I also wonder if Limbaugh realizes that there are 1.8 million Muslims living in the United States now. Why does this fair and balanced man consides over a million American citizens to be the enemies of America? I wonder if he considers the members of the LRA more “American” than the Muslims living here now. Maybe he’d like to invite these wholesome Christian people to our country to become U.S. citizens instead. I, however, happen to have many Muslim friends, and to the best of my knowledge none of them have raped or murdered anyone yet, so I would beg to differ.

Thirdly, our buddy Rush says that Obama is “invading” Uganda by sending a hundred special forces members to fight the LRA, and that we’re starting another war… he implies in his argument that the very notion of starting another “war” is disgusting and unpalatable to any patriotic American. I would like him to look at his own track record and check his own opinions about some previous American “war” before criticizing American intervention in Uganda. Limbaugh and his right-wing cohort weren’t exactly critical of the 150,000-man invasion and occupation of Iraq, or the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, where we had 68,000 active duty troops in 2009. He conveniently forgot about both the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties our wars cause, and the millions of refugees we’ve displaced. Could Limbaugh possibly argue that this conflict, one one-thousandth the size of the Iraq invasion, is too costly to maintain and immoral in its objectives? I would like to ask him how the two foreign wars the last right-wing President started were more morally justifiable than the intervention Obama is starting now.

I, as an American, am absolutely ashamed that Limbaugh dared to say these things during a live radio broadcast, and then have the audacity to post his words on the Internet for all to see. He was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard something more spiteful, venomous, idiotic or just plain wrong come out of his mouth. This entire debacle could have been averted if the conservative talk-show host restrained his vitriol just long enough to check his facts before going on air; unfortunately, it seems he believes bashing the president in front of a gullible American public is more important than protecting his credibility or a facade of intelligence.

On behalf of Limbaugh and the American people, I apologize to the entire world for this case study of bias and misinformation. But you know what? Maybe Limbaugh is on to something. I say we buy into his idea and don’t send the Special Forces in. Let’s send him in. Let’s fly Limbaugh to Uganda with nothing but a copy of the Bible and tell him to go aid the Christian freedom fighters in the Lord’s Resistance Army. And maybe, just maybe, when they get their hands on him, he will finally understand the dangers of jumping to conclusions.

Artur Wysoczanski is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]