Foreign and Defense Policy, Subsaharan Africa

#BringBackOurGirls

Image Credit: Twitter.com/FLOTUS

Image Credit: Twitter.com/FLOTUS

It’s heartwarming to see American politicians/celebrities/pundits (increasingly hard to know who’s who) rally behind the #BringBackOurGirls initiative to address the awful kidnapping of almost 300 girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. But, um, why? Don’t get me wrong, this is dreadful. But how are these particular 300 girls different from the 10,000 children killed in Syria? Almost certainly, some of these children were girls. Fifty-nine children were killed in Aleppo last week. And what about the epidemic of rape in Syria?

The real problem here is that Islamist extremism is growing. Boko Haram and its leader Aboubakar Shekau (“I abducted your girls. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell.”) are part of the epidemic of al Qaeda linked and related groups that are sweeping Africa and the Middle East. Our own Katie Zimmerman explained the ties between Somalia’s al Shebaab and Boko Haram back in 2011. And despite widespread recognition of the growing threat of these groups – particularly in Yemen and Syria – the Obama administration has yet to acknowledge that we are losing the fight against Islamist extremism; not only are we losing, but there’s a real question as to whether the administration thinks we’re in such a fight. Killing terrorists with drones appears to be the sole element of what was once known as the “war on terrorism.” Call it what you want, the reality is that something more than targeted assassination is going to be needed to address the Boko Harams and the Shebaabs and the Jabhat al Nusras and, of course, the wider al Qaeda network.

Is that something the #BringBackOurGirls effort? Nah. While laudable, let’s face reality: the campaign is nothing more than an effort by unserious people to latch onto the terrible plight of a tiny proportion of victims of terrorism in order to make themselves feel good about… you got it… themselves.

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5 thoughts on “#BringBackOurGirls

  1. Most of the time liberals maintain that the United States can’t police all bad behavior around the world. In fact we probably can’t police much of it. So, then, what criteria elevate something to the point where we DO feel we have to take action? When Americans are killed by terrorists? Apparently not in Benghazi. When lots of boys are kidnapped and killed? Apparently not. When individual girls are abducted, raped and murdered? Apparently not. 300 girls? Now we’ve crossed some sort of threshold apparently. Why girls? Why 300 and not 10? Is there a principle I could discern from all this? Apparently not.

  2. Another good situation to not get involved in. Some creep kidnapping girls in woogie-boogieland is not a threat to US national security….

  3. Laudable? Laughable? Pointless?

    As said all this does is make a group of people feel good about themselves for doing something even though it achieves nothing. “You’re in my prayers/heart/mind” usually means I feel bad about your situation for a while but it’s not as though I’m actually going to do something serious about it.

  4. Re: #BringBackOurGirls and the disingenuous foray into “hashtag diplomacy” by the Worst, er, First Lady…

    Instead of tweeting out a pouty face photo of herself holding up a lame sign, or using a weekly radio address to compare the kidnapped schoolgirls to her own daughters, it would more pertinent if Michelle Obama explained why former Secretary of State Clinton REFUSED TO LIST the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group responsible for the schoolgirl kidnappings, Boko Haram, on the official U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. Or why (until recently), a Democratic Party PAC actually petitioned IN SUPPORT of Boko Haram!

    Hillary’s State Department refused to brand Boko Haram as Terrorists
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/07/hillary-s-state-department-refused-to-brand-boko-haram-as-terrorists.html

    But two-faced Hillary did tweet this:
    https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/statuses/462986339378814977

    Huh? Michelle Obama’s speech on Nigerian girls doesn’t mention Boko Haram or Islam
    http://weaselzippers.us/185579-michelle-obama-gives-speech-on-kidnapped-nigerian-girls-doesnt-mention-boko-haram-or-islam/

    FLASH… MoveOn.org petitioned [they've since removed it!] to keep Boko Haram off Terrorist List
    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/05/flash-moveon-org-petitioned-to-keep-boko-haram-off-terrorist-list/

  5. Re: #BringBackOurGirls and the disingenuous foray into “hashtag diplomacy” by the Worst, er, First Lady…

    Instead of tweeting out a pouty face photo of herself holding up a lame sign, or using a weekly radio address to compare the kidnapped schoolgirls to her own daughters, it would more pertinent if Michelle Obama explained why former Secretary of State Clinton REFUSED TO LIST the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group responsible for the schoolgirl kidnappings, Boko Haram, on the official U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. Or why (until recently), a Democratic Party PAC actually petitioned IN SUPPORT of Boko Haram!

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