'A friend asked me what I thought about the Kony 2012 movement. I’ve been so busy of late I wasn’t even aware of it until he’d flagged it up. I’m very aware of Joseph Kony and his so-called Lord’s Resistance Army, and have been since 2002. Well, firstly, Kony and his movement exist in the bush; in the jungles. Even then, he isn't in Uganda anymore and hasn't been for a while. He has done terrible damage to thousands of children over the years, but he isn't a threat to Ugandan governance and really, if you spend an afternoon looking into it, you'll know that Uganda won't "waste" too much effort trying to track this man down - even if they *could* go across the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo where Kony most likely is, which of course they can't and won't because it would likely provoke a war they cannot afford and which would cause even more innocent deaths. Also, let’s not forget the absolutely appalling human rights record of the Ugandan army who would supposedly spearhead any effort to bring the LRA to justice. Granted they aren't as bad as the LRA - that would take some doing - but the Ugandan army is accused of containing rapists, murderers and war criminals of almost every sort. They certainly aren't the 'good guys' and equipping and training them to ‘take out’ the LRA won’t necessarily be a ‘good’ thing. There are longer term considerations to be aware of too. It’s doubtful the Ugandan military would use all we give them to track down some murderous terrorist who isn’t actually threatening the Ugandan state. More likely they would use it elsewhere. Also remember that outrage doesn't effect Kony. Rants and raves online don't effect him. Candlelit vigils don't effect him. Music concerts don't effect him. Facebook and YouTube are nothing to him. You knowing his name and face are irrelevant to him. Armed interventions mean little to him because none have the will to get involved wage an almost Vietnam style conflict through jungles with guerrillas who know the territory better than anyone else, killing hundreds of the child soldiers that we're supposedly there to save. "Liking" the Kony movement is irrelevant, don’t be so passive as to believe otherwise. In the absences of long term and substantive follow through, attending rallies to show you “care” is just emotional masturbation. Saying to people that you "want to do something" is not enough, and wearing a wristband with Kony’s name on is utterly, utterly pointless. Do NOT feel that you've changed the lives of suffering people just because you've done these things. It isn't activism in itself, it's docile emotional consumerism. If you want to at least attempt to make a difference with regard to the so-called Lord's Resistance Army, don't send money to this charity with little or no accountability or oversight. You *might* help build a school, but you may also just sink your money into a charity that, by all relevant accounts, is an organisation with insufficient oversight, accountability or checks and balances. Don't turn Kony into a cult figure, even one of supposed horror, because all that succeeds in doing is making him a cult figure. Most of all bear in mind that Kony doesn’t like living ‘on-the-run’ and he doesn’t live in the jungle because he likes the trees. He hasn't surrendered in large part because he knows he faces execution if he does. He will never stop while this is a certainty. It's easy and understandable to hate a man like this and the movement that he presides over. In fact we probably *should* feel a passion and revulsion when we hear about the evil he causes. We shouldn't kid ourselves, though, that the emotional initial response to watching the Kony 2012 video is the right, much less the 'best' one. Who would want to deal with this man? Who would want to argue that he should be permitted assurances to avoid execution, even if we know that until we do he will keep on doing the obscene things he does? Who would want to deal with him even when we know that the alternative would be a MASSIVE military adventure that would involve a scorched earth policy and relentless killing of victims-become-fighters just to track him down, let alone kill him. The USA with all its might couldn't bring down the Viet Cong fully, and in the process of doing so killed, mutilated and otherwise abused heaven knows how many innocent civilians as well as countless young US soldiers themselves. The LRA aren't quite the Viet Cong and wouldn't have the same sort of backing, but rest assured they aren't *just* ignorant savages with no skill or experience. To take them militarily would take a huge investment of time, money and life, and I simply don't see any government going along with it. Yes the point of the Kony 2012 video is, ultimately, to force this point, but how quickly would we change our minds when we start seeing British or US soldiers blowing apart child soldiers? Or when soldiers start coming back mutilated or dead from a war that doesn’t immediately help the UKs strategic interests? Or when traumatised soldiers start killing innocent civilians, which if they did it in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq they'd almost certainly do it in the jungles of Africa against a highly experienced cannibal terrorist warlord. Think about what we really want here. Is it the death of an exceedingly evil man or is it the end of his movement's institutionalised and utterly horrific abuse of children? Which is more important to us? I would recommend all the millions of people who have watched the Kony 2012 video contact their local MP / government rep demanding something be done. I would recommend sending money to established charities in the effected region - charities that we *know* have oversight, accountability and a great track record. I would recommend that we not get over-awed by a slick movie production but use the emotion it generates to actually get down to do some real research of all the factors at play in the region before we swallow a simple Good vs. Evil situation with a simple answer, and then get involved with some targeted and balanced charitable activism. Finally, I would suggest that if anyone actually meets Joseph Kony, that person should take it on him or herself to kill him, but with the caveat that doing so will not end the LRA and that having done so he or she should still surrender to the police for trial, because justice applies whether we're warlords or middle class white folks feeling guilty and inspired by a video about how awful human beings can be to each other.'