I don’t know where to begin. For starters, I guess, the only reason most people ever talked about Kony was because he became a hashtag fad on Twitter for 10 minutes in early 2012. Remember KONY2012? It was a lot like BringBackOurGirls, which went so viral that it made it all the way to the First Lady’s office. Hashtag activism is the laziest, most disposable form of activism there is, but it’s a smash hit on social media precisely because it makes moral posturing easy. Almost a year after BringBackOurGirls went viral, the girls still haven’t been brought back and Boko Haram is killing Nigerians by the thousands. And yet you don’t hear people talking much about that either. That’s the nature of hashtag activism, as ephemeral as a fart. If Harf has a problem with it, maybe she shouldn’t participate in it.
Another reason you don’t hear much about Kony is because — ta da — Harf’s boss hasn’t had much success in catching him. Obama, to his credit, was actually ahead of the game on the Lord’s Resistance Army, sending 100 U.S. special ops troops to Africa in late 2011 to help locals track him down. He increased that commitment to 250 troops last year. Still no luck. Everyone’s doing their best, no doubt, but go figure that you didn’t hear Obama talk much about Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts during the first two years of his presidency and why you still don’t hear him talk much about Ayman al-Zawahiri or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi today. When you’re after a guy and coming up zeroes, you’re not in a hurry to highlight that fact. If Harf wants to hear more chatter about Kony, she can go knock on the Oval Office door and make the complaint herself.
But all of that is nitpicking. The reason Harf wants people chattering about Kony is because having a self-styled Christian terrorist group back on the public’s radar would help the White House out with its “Islamic terrorism isn’t really an Islamic problem” message. Sure, ISIS has taken over Iraq and Syria, and Al Qaeda’s still aiming to hit America, and Islamist militas are overrunning Libya, and homegrown jihadis are murdering cartoonists in Europe, but Joseph Kony and his gang of “Christian” lunatics are guilty of horrendous crimes in Africa too. It’s the foreign-policy version of mass shootings in the United States, in which hope forever springs eternal for progressives that the gunman will be identifiably conservative, thereby “proving” that (a) all right-wingers are tempted to violence and (b) Islamic terrorists are really no more or less dangerous than right-wingers are. Kony really is a terrorist so he’s potentially very useful to the White House in drawing religious equivalencies with jihadist groups. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s only Harf that’s mentioned him recently.