Just a few days prior, I posted a status on Facebook that resonated with a number of people, and I aim to expand on my position in the following paragraphs.
My status read as follows:
“Where the hell were all you Phony Kony “Social Activists” when Saddam Hussein was rolling around Iraq gassing his own citizens and the Taliban were hanging people from light poles? Marines got shot at and blown up over there trying to stop that mass murderer and kick the Taliban out of Afghanistan and people protested us. They called us The World Police and said we needed to mind our own damn business. Fast forward 10 years and a 30 minute movie trailer later an all of you suddenly want action? This is freaking joke. Go back to spring break and reality TV. Social media and group think has you all by the balls.”
This was not meant as an outright rebuke of those who watched and re-posted the video, but rather a rebuking question that has yet to be answered: why does Kony register on the social conscience while Mullah Omar and Saddam Hussein never did prior to the wars or even in the midst of having committed troops there?
What changed? A name? Kony, the momentary darling, is popular; Omar and Saddam were an are not?
I want to assure you of something: while your focus may be momentarily on Joseph Kony, the Marine Corp’s focus is continuously on locating, closing width, and destroying the enemy regardless of social popularity.
If you want us to take down Joseph Kony, call your State Representative and tell him or her that the reason you pay taxes is to feed, clothe, and equip Marines, so they can go stomping through the jungles of Uganda in order to capture and kill war criminals that have enslaved and brutalized hundreds of thousands of children.
Another question, however, persists: where were all the “Social Media Activists” when Marines were getting shot at, and their Humvees were getting turned inside out by IED’s while trying to stop atrocities in the Middle East? Atrocities that are very akin to what is happening in Uganda.
In our darkest hour, we needed you to approve and support our mission, not just the individual solider or Marine. The Marine Corps may be our medium, but the American people are our reason. If you shunned Iraq because the cause was not just only to turn around and pursue another mass murderer, it leaves us wondering why you picked your cause over our cause while we’re the ones dying.
More than anything, the flaw in Kony 2012 is awareness without further action. What does awareness bring but a false sense of accomplishment? How many of you social activists were against the use of force in Iraq, but now want to stop the slaughter in Uganda? The film-makers hope that Kony will surrender without a fight is a view I believe to be wildly optimistic and utopian. The chances a warlord who has been fighting for the past 26 years, laying down his weapons and surrendering to authorities is slim to none. Saying you want to “make him famous” is just a weak way of saying you want someone besides yourself to take action and stop him.
The suddenly fashionable fight against injustice is part of the fundamental difference between social media hype and the United States Marine Corps (warning: video has explicit language). The difference between you and the US Marines is the fact that a fairly large number of Marines have Semper Fidelis tattooed on their body. Not Momentarily Fidelis, Semi Fidelis, or Whenever Socially Relevant Fidelis. But Semper Fidelis – ALWAYS FAITHFUL.
Before I close this out, I want make my position crystal clear. My frustration does not lie in your support for Invisible Children; rather, a collective conscience that seems to be based not on sound morals or intellect but the whimsical nature of popular public opinion.
Despite my conclusion, there is one thing you all can count on: in the face of public scrutiny, whether fashionable or not, in the present or in the future, the US Marine Corps will faithfully execute it’s duty of keeping the wolf away from the doorstep just as we have done for the past 237 years.
Yours Truly – DH
“While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression.”—Major General J.N. Mattis, 1st Marine Division.