American children are demanding that Congress takes action against Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army, which is terrorizing central Africa.
They are to be commended for their compassion and demand for justice. They are also commended for taking the initiative.
But here's something to think about:
Are children in Singapore pressuring their government to take action against Kony? In Switzerland? Bolivia? Bulgaria?
Should those governments take action?
It may be said in reply: "Don't be silly! Those governments are powerless to do anything about it!"
Why should they expend diplomatic, economic, or military resources to conquer an evil so far away from them? Who is not an actual threat to them?
Now let me ask: How is the United States any different?
- Yes, we are stronger economically and militarily, but that doesn't mean we are "powerful" enough to bring order to disorder in central Africa.
- Kony's crimes are far away from the United States, and pose no threat to us. Indeed, most of us weren't aware of his existence until this year.
- One has to suspect that American "help" will be treated with skepticism, at best, by the governments and people of the region.
Federal officials are to obey the Constitution and serve the people of the United States. They are not duty-bound to overcome every evil in the world, no matter how terrible that evil may be. Our intervention - especially military intervention - will likely make things worse.
The African Union is raising 5,000 troops to hunt for Kony. That may well be an appropriate, region-based response. I hope Kony is captured and the LRA is disbanded soon.
And who knows? Maybe the African Union will accept volunteers from other parts of the world, such as young, idealistic American men and women, to join the effort.
Fighting Kony yourself is a principled, courageous stand. Asking Congress to commit resources to the cause? Not so much.