Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Prophet Motive

What drives Joseph Kony to kidnap children and enslave them, to slaughter innocent people, and to spread fear across some of the most impoverished states in Africa? Peter Eichstaedt takes a crack at that question in a brief article--"Kony 20Never"--on the Foreign Affairs website.

Eichstaedt, who never found Kony in spite of pursuing him for years (like Ugandan and American military forces), did speak to some of Kony's former lieutenants. What emerges from those conversations is a portrait of a man who is convinced that he speaks for God and is offended when his own people, the Acholi, reject him (perhaps because his soldiers have burned their villages and stolen their children). Eichstaedt also says that Kony is a survivor (and survivalist) who fears being tried by the International Criminal Court (which indicted him in 2005) because he believes it would lead to his execution--in spite of the fact that the ICC is not empowered to impose the death penalty.

Those looking for a rational actor may need to check in on some other rebel leader.