- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
Yesterday, when President Obama announced that the United States would be sending 100 special operations forces to help Uganda battle the Lord’s Resistance Army, a notorious and brutal death cult led by Joseph Kony, a joke went around on Twitter that Michele Bachmann would soon be attacking the president for "targeting Christians."
Of course, to call the LRA "Christians" is to abase the English language. As the Atlantic‘s Graeme Wood put it in a profile of Kony last year, "An American diplomat in Bangui compared the group to the Manson family, but given that the LRA has killed 12,000 people, the comparison is self-evidently unfair to Manson."
Human Rights Watch’s Ken Roth wrote of the group last fall:
Its cadre often descends on a remote village, slaughters every adult in sight, and then kidnaps the children, some shockingly young — the boys to become soldiers slinging AK-47s, the girls to serve as "bush wives." Over more than two decades, many thousands have fallen victim to these roving mass murderers.
But Bachmann was too smart to fall into this trap, and instead it was Rush Limbaugh who jumped on the news to attack Obama. Behold:
Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. … So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and — (interruption) no, I’m not kidding. Jacob Tapper just reported it. …
Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people." Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology." Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.
Then, after a break, he (sort of) realizes his mistake:
Is that right? The Lord’s Resistance Army is being accused of really bad stuff? Child kidnapping, torture, murder, that kind of stuff? Well, we just found out about this today. We’re gonna do, of course, our due diligence research on it. But nevertheless we got a hundred troops being sent over there to fight these guys — and they claim to be Christians.
It takes your breath away, doesn’t it?
(Thanks to @AdamSerwer for the link.)
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.| Passport |