President Obama described Ugandan guerilla leader Joseph Kony as a “vicious killer” in an interview with ABC News on Thursday, a discussion no doubt inspired by Invisible Children’s viral YouTube video.
ABC's Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper asked the President how he could stomach sending troops in against a group that is known for using child soldiers. What happens if the troops have to fire on said soldiers?
Obama replied, “Those who are familiar with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and their leader, Mr. Kony, know that these are some of the most vicious killers, they terrorize villages, they take children into custody and turn them into child soldiers, they engage in rape and slaughter in villages that they go through. They have been a scourge on Uganda and that entire region of Eastern Africa.”
Uganda has not been a political focus of late — far from it given the GOP nominating fight, discussions about Iranian nuclear capability, large-scale unrest in Syria and the economy.
However, a YouTube video made by the non-profit Invisible Children now has almost 40 million views, has been trending on Twitter all week and has motivated a few celebrities – Oprah, Ryan Seacrest, Rihanna and others – to post about it on Twitter.
Invisible Children made the 30-minute video to raise awareness about Kony and other problems in Central and Eastern Africa.
Even before this film exploded on social media, there have been doubts about Invisible Children. Critics have questioned how the group has spent its money and claimed that is has exaggerated the importance of Kony and his actions.
The group responded Thursday morning, and it appears Obama sees Kony as a significant menace as well. He said there has been “strong bipartisan support” across the board and deemed stopping the LAR an “international obligation.”