Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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Some Small Movement with the Lord's Resistance Army
One of the great tragedies of Africa in the past decade has been the mostly-ignored violence inflicted on parts of Uganda, Sudan and the DRC by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by a person who speaks directly to God and has been responsible for the kidnapping of thousands of children, the mutilation of many more, and other crimes against humanity.

The LRA is a terrorist organization that increasingly has proved to be a destabilizing factor across several countries in a region that is already reeling from criminal, terrorist and state-sponsored violence. Like the RUF in Sierra Leone and the Small Boy Units of Charles Taylor in Liberia, the LRA preys on children and women, primarily. Women are used as beasts of burden and sex slaves, the abducted children are turned into killers.

The LRA leader, Joseph Kony, gave his first interview ever to a journalist earlier this week, where he denied the undeniable and claimed the atrocities blamed on him were part of a propaganda campaign against him. Indicted by the International Criminal Court, along with most of the LRA leadership, Kony said he was fighting for "freedom."

"We want the people of Uganda to be free. We are fighting for democracy," Kony said. 'We want our leader to be elected - but not a movement like the one of (Ugandan presdient) Museveni."

Was he also fighting for the Ten Commandments? "Yes, we are fighting for Ten Commandments," he replied. "Is it bad? It is not against human rights. And that commandment was not given by Joseph (Kony). It was not given by LRA. No, that commandment was given by God."

But, in a tacit recognition that his forces have taken a beating in recent months by government forces, Kony agreed to peace talks with the government, and the government sent a delegation to meet with Kony's representatives in southern Sudan.

Ending the LRA's existence is imperative, as is ensuring that Kony and his senior commanders face justice at the ICC for the atrocities they have wreaked on innocent people for more than a decade. Strong international support, including from the United States, are vitally important in insuring these twin objectives are met. The arrest of Charles Taylor and the demobilization of the RUF show this is possible. What is needed is the international commitment to see it through.

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