Limbaugh Disdains Anything Obama

When a Republican is in the White House, the Right is all for military interventions and decries critics as un-American. But now, even a small-scale operation in Africa – encouraged by human rights groups – is denounced by Rush Limbaugh and others, as Michael Winship recounts.

By Michael Winship

If you blinked, you might have missed a recent movie called Machine Gun Preacher.

The film hasn’t burned up the box office and the title may have kept you away from your local picture palace in the mistaken belief that it was some kind of exploitation flick or the latest Quentin Tarantino exercise in post-modernism and ironic bloodbaths. In which case, who could blame you?

In fact, Machine Gun Preacher is the improbable but true story of Sam Childers (played by the improbable but true Gerard Butler, the shiny, muscle-bound Spartan king of 300 fame).

After a misbegotten life as a violent biker/drug dealer/ex-con, Childers had a come-to-Jesus epiphany and became a born-again Christian with his own congregation in rural Pennsylvania.

But it was when he heard a missionary speak about church work in East Africa that he found his true calling, building an orphanage in the Sudan and protecting the kids there by becoming a vigilante fighting alongside the ill-equipped and undermanned local militia. That’s where the machine gun part comes in.

Rush Limbaugh

Apparently, Rush Limbaugh didn’t see Machine Gun Preacher either. If he had, he might have known a thing or two about the enemy Sam Childers was battling against: the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rabid rebel group that for some 25 years has made simple, day-to-day existence a living hell for civilians – especially children — in Uganda, Southern Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Instead, as is his usual way – in other words, not having any idea what he’s talking about – Old Motormouth Limbaugh recently defended the Lord’s Resistance Army on his radio program because they “are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan.”

His defense came solely because anything or anyone Barack Obama is against must ipso facto be okay. President Obama has sent 100 military advisers to Africa to try to help end the LRA’s atrocities once and for all. But in the Gospel According to Rush, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, even if said friend engages in murder and mutilation.

“That’s a new war,” Limbaugh declared, “a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda.” Yet just last Thursday the Lord’s Resistance Army was described by the evangelical Christian Post as “East Africa’s greatest evil … the region’s most malicious militia group.”

The paper quoted Jedidiah Jenkins of the non-profit group Invisible Children: “The LRA is an abuse of the Christian religion … a small, vicious cult.”

The New York Times has called the LRA “a notorious renegade group that has terrorized villagers in at least four countries with marauding bands that kill, rape, maim and kidnap with impunity,” and Reuters reports, “Over the years the LRA became known for chilling violence including what human rights groups say were the abductions of thousands for use as child soldiers or sex slaves, [and] brutal club and machete attacks on victims.”

Just ask former Bush White House chief speechwriter Michael Gerson. “The LRA is a brutal rebel group headed by a messianic madman,” he wrote in The Washington Post. ”Its victims … have been the focus of activism by Christian organizations and human rights groups for decades.”

Presented with the inconvenient facts, Rush harrumphed, “Well, we just found out about this today. We’re gonna do, of course, our due diligence research on it.” A couple of days later Limbaugh admitted that he had been “misinformed,” then proceeded to laugh the whole thing off.

This lethal combination of ignorance and abject dismissal typifies the Republican Right’s current approach to foreign policy, as evidenced by everything from Michele Bachmann’s suggestion that the Iraqi people reimburse the United States for the privilege of having had their country invaded to Herman Cain’s declaration that, “When they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, ‘You know, I don’t know. Do you know?’ … Knowing who is the head of some of these small insignificant states around the world I don’t think that is something that is critical to focusing on national security and getting this economy going.”

That jobs and the economy should be our first priority is a no-brainer, but in its zeal to simplistically reject all things governmental, the GOP is turning its back on decades of the experience, craft and skill essential to an effective, bipartisan foreign policy.

Nowhere is that more evident than the dilemma currently confronted by five-term Republican Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana, a venerated and respected, conservative expert on global affairs now facing a serious primary challenge from Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer.

Mourdock’s making political hay over Lugar’s mentoring of Barack Obama in the world of international relations when Obama was a freshman senator, a partnership brayingly portrayed in a Mourdock campaign video titled, “Dick and Barry: The Unforgettable Bromance.”

Jacob Heilbrunn, senior fellow at the public policy Center for the National Interest (formerly The Nixon Center) wrote on the website of Foreign Policy magazine, “It isn’t just the career of the Senate’s senior-most Republican that is at stake here; it is an entire tradition of Republican foreign policy that is being repudiated by the party faithful.”

This, he continues, “should evoke apprehension in anyone who thinks that America’s leading role in the world has, by and large, been a force for good.”

Whether you agree with the decision or not, it is that perception of the American role as a force for good that partially informs Obama’s dispatch of military advisors to East Africa, a move that not only is consonant — so far — with Congress’ 2010 passage of the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, but also the Bush administration’s Operation Lightning Thunder in December 2008, when American military intelligence assisted African troops in an unsuccessful attempt to corner LRA leader Joseph Kony in eastern Congo.

(According to Human Rights Watch, in retaliation after that failure, “the LRA attacked villages and towns in northern Congo and southern Sudan, killing more than 865 civilians during the Christmas 2008 holiday season and in the weeks thereafter.”)

President Obama’s new move in Africa jibes with the National Security Strategy he presented last year: “The burdens of a young century cannot fall on American shoulders alone,” he wrote, but “democracy does not merely represent our better angels, it stands in opposition to aggression and injustice, and our support for human rights is both fundamental to American leadership and a source of our strength in the world.”

Yet as Adam Serwer of Mother Jones points out, “The atrocities committed by the LRA aside, nations don’t use military force out of altruism. Uganda provides a substantial number of troops for the African Union Force in Somalia, where the al-Qaeda linked group al-Shabaab has control over a significant part of that country.

“I have no doubt that Barack Obama believes that the world would be better off without Kony and the LRA. But although it hasn’t been explicitly said, it’s a good bet the Obama administration feels obligated to assist Uganda because Uganda is helping the US fight a proxy war against an al-Qaeda affiliate, a mission that hasn’t been without cost for Uganda.”

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh and his right-wing cohort emptily natter on, chattering, as my old man used to say, just to hear their heads rattle.

Michael Winship, senior writing fellow at Demos and president of the Writers Guild of America, East, is senior writer of the new public television series “Moyers & Company,” premiering in January 2012.

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7 comments on “Limbaugh Disdains Anything Obama

  1. Bob Loblaw on said:

    President Obama should declare that Rush Limbaugh has a nice smile, and a straight nose.

  2. Claronal on said:

    Well, Obama is DEAD WRONG, but for different reasons than Limbaugh. Obama sent troops to Uganda to start a new war for the re-colonization of Africa … Somalia, Uganda, Libya, Sudan – the Wall Street bankers go marching through Africa, burning and stealing everything in its demonic path. Obama is the black face of the re-colonization. Make no mistake, he did not initiate the destruction of Libya and assassination of its head-of-state for humanitarian reasons. No humanitarian in all of history dropped that many bombs and killed that many people and still carried the title of “humanitarian.” Its as convoluted as calling a devil a saint and vis-versa. What Obama did to Libya is a crime, at the very least, a thousand times the alleged evils of Khaddafi.

    • The financial and corporate community will “colonize” whatever region with or without a president’s consent to obtain it’s resources. I may be wrong, but the President might actually be doing the decent thing by sending advisers. I hope I am correct on my assumption.

  3. Jym Allyn on said:

    Claronal,
    Allow me to be the first of what I will expect to be many to say that you are an idiot.

  4. Limbaugh and the rest of his ilk live in a bubble equipped with lavish possessions, expensive foods and a leisurely lifestyle. They along with their corporate media overlords have a vested interest in removing a president or any other political or social leader who would threaten this existence. They themselves wallow in ignorance part of the time and purposely disseminate misinformation the rest of the time. Many would consider this behavior to be that of a sociopath. My college psychology teacher would tell his class that he saw no difference between a sociopath and a psychopath so I feel it is safe to call these people by that name as well. Limbaugh’s audience is made up of those his age and older. Soon he will begin to loose his audience, for better or worse via attrition. Not many under the age of 50 probably really know or care who he is. A few months just before Glenn Beck was booted off the air I was discussing him with a fellow co worker who is in his fifties. Another co worker who is in her late 20′s said, “Who is Glenn Beck?” I thought she was joking but she wasn’t. FOX and Limbaugh claim they have tens of millions of listeners and viewers but if one does the research on how many people actually watch cable news and listen to political talk radio the math doesn’t add up. Considering they can’t tell the truth to save their lives it’s no stretch to think that these numbers are highly inflated. And then you need to look at who does watch and listen to these paid liars. That’s right, those who already have their opinions set well beforehand and only want to hear what they want to hear. They are too far gone to help. I believe we are in the end stage of far right insanity media. Let the Limbaughs of the world preach to the choir a few more times before fading away.

  5. Perry D on said:

    Ahhh yes! Claronal has apparently, with mindless zeal, jumped on the I-don’t-like-Obama-so-everything-he-does-must-be-wrong bandwagon. What is classic numbskull-ery is this gem:

    “No humanitarian in all of history dropped that many bombs and killed that many people and still carried the title of “humanitarian.”

    I wonder if you, Claronal, at anytime, considered the United States “humanitarian”? If the U.S. isn’t humanitarian or at least considered benevolent in the propaganda whipped up in the march to our wars, then what is it? Because “restoring democracy” in Iraq (laughable) is/was considered “humanitarian” among many other self-congratulatory descriptions. See where I’m going with this Claronal? If not, have someone read it and explain it to you…

  6. Limbaugh and people who believe him are idiots.