It’s not exactly breaking news that the Lord’s Resistance Army — a band of murderous insane thugs that have a hankering for enslaving children, mass killing and banditry — is, to quote Matt Yglesias, one of the nastiest, most brutal and evil organizations on the plant [sic].”

But Jeffrey Gettleman, who deserves all the plaudits he can possibly receive, has another harrowing piece in the Times on the LRA. With U.S. assistance, the Ugandan Army has greatly depleted the LRA and has essentially cornered them into a remote region in the eastern Congo. Low on supplies and people, the LRA “has killed hundreds of villagers in this remote corner of Congo and kidnapped hundreds more, marching them off in a vast human chain.” Oddly enough, this spasm of violence and cruelty may be a result of a sucessful campaign against the LRA, Gettleman cites U.S. officials who say that “up to 60 percent of the Lord’s Resistance Army fighters in the past 18 months” have been eliminated.

It’s worth remembering that this U.S. mission doesn’t have full support back home. Specifically, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma put a hold on a bill “intended to help end the longest running war in Africa and support communities ravaged by horrific violence at the hands of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).” He did so because the bill would increase the deficit.

Anyway, just a reminder of what at least one Republican thinks is important.

For one of the best magazine pieces about violence and war  in central and east Africa, check out Gettleman’s Foreign Policy piece “Africa’s Forever Wars.”

Young Zeitlin

Young Zeitlin

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