David Axe

David Axe is a freelance writer based in South Carolina. He is the author of the new graphic novel War is Boring and blogs at warisboring.com.

Recent Articles

The Limits of Smart Power

Can the U.S. military end the epidemic of sexual violence in Congo without getting involved in another endless conflict?

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (AP Photo)
In February 2006, an army of rapists descended on Duru, a farming community of 5,000 in eastern Congo. They called themselves, without a trace of irony, the "Lord's Resistance Army." Twenty-three years ago in neighboring Uganda, under firebrand founder Joseph Kony, the LRA fought to establish a bizarre voodoo-Christian theocracy in the country's impoverished, neglected north. Soundly defeated by the Ugandan army in 2006, the LRA fled westward into the thickly forested, poorly governed border region of Congo, Sudan, and Central African Republic. There, the rebels have lost all touch with their politics and fight only to survive. To eat, they murder farmers and pillage their fields. To keep up their numbers, they kidnap and brainwash little boys. For recreation, they catch and keep girls. The first LRA attack on Duru in 2006 was a near miss. The rebels raided a few outlying farms, taking what they could carry and leaving behind several traumatized women. A month later, the Forces Armees...