Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past week (Speaking of which, anyone seen Watson?), you’ve heard about what’s going on in Nigeria. A radical insurgent group, Boko Haram, has kidnapped up to 300 young girls and is threatening to sell them into slavery. According to the rabid right wing, the only thing liberals, and Obama, have done is start a twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. They also claim that this is all Hillary Clinton’s fault because she didn’t designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group when she was Secretary of State. You will undoubtedly not be surprised to learn that both counts are just more lies intended to hurt Clinton if she runs for President.
The first charge is just plain idiocy. The twitter hashtag, contrary to what the World’s Greatest Catholic claims, was not created by any liberal in the United States. The hashtag was created by a Nigerian in Nigeria:
The signature hashtag, which allows Twitter users world-wide to find like-minded people, had its origins in Abuja. On April 23, Mr. Abdullahi was at home watching a televised broadcast of the opening celebration of Port Harcourt’s year as the United Nations’ world book capital.
One speaker, former World Bank Vice President Obiageli Ezekwesili, took to the stage and helped lead the crowd in a chant of “Bring back our daughters.”
Mr. Abdullahi had just a few hundred Twitter followers, but he is an enthusiastic tweeter. So, on April 23, he modified the slogan to “bring back our girls” and tweeted: “Yes #BringBackOurDaughters #BringBackOurGirls declared by @obyezeks and all people at Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014.”
“I don’t have a daughter so I thought it would be better to make it girls,” Mr. Adbullahi said in an interview from Abuja on Thursday.
Thirty seconds of searching would have shown who created the hashtag, but I guess that was just too much work. Besides, the Eight Commandment is purely optional to Mr. Noonan. But he’s not the only one. We also have the Dumbest Man on the Internet, Jim Hoft, out there spreading the lie and gloating that we’re too late to save the girls. That’s some compassionate conservatism for you, jumping up and down with joy over young girls being sold as slaves.
The next lie is that it’s Clinton’s fault that this happened. The right wing has been out in force the past few days bemoaning the fact that the State Department resisted efforts to name Boko Haram as a terrorist group (obviously because Hillary supported their mission). What they won’t tell you is that no one supported that designation. Let’s hear from President Bush’s Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, on Fox News:
Wallace: Clinton has come under fire this week because back in 2011 she rejected calls by the FBI and the intelligence community to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization. As a Bush appointee to be ambassador, do you think that’s fair, the criticism of Secratary Clinton?
Campbell: No, I don’t think it’s fair and along with a good number of Nigerian experts at the time we all opposed designation. We opposed designation because we don’t think that the legislation actually fits the situation in Nigeria. The Boko Haram movement is highly diffuse, it’s not a centralized organization. It has important grass roots elements to it. The legislation has to do with essentially issues like getting visas to come to the US, or the movement of money from the US to Nigeria, neither of which is relevant. What he legislation also does however, is it inhibits the possibility of future contact between either private citizens or public personalities with Boko Haram and at some future point might reduce the options that we have in terms of negotiation.
The fact is that designating a group as a terrorist organization is a last resort and may end up doing more harm than good. Making that designation in 2011 or 2012 could have given Boko Haram, which is entirely internal to Nigeria, additional exposure outside the country, enabling it to obtain additional support. Nigerian and African experts opposed the designation and no one, not even the rabid right wing, put up much of a fight because it made sense at the time. To go back now and say Hillary should have easily decided to make that designation 3 years ago is just asinine. We may as well go back to 2002 when Boko Haram was formed and ask the same question.
Now, the same rabid right wing that is trying to rehabilitate Muammar Qaddaffi in order to say we should not have intervened in Libya is saying that we should go into Nigeria in force. Never mind that the Nigerian government didn’t ask us for help until last week. It doesn’t matter that we’ve sent investigate experts and military personnel into the country to help find the girls now that we’ve been asked. Pay no heed to the precedent that would be established that a country can invade the borders of a sovereign nation, not to battle the government, but to track down an internal insurgent group like a bunch of mercenaries. The people calling for military action don’t give two shits about 300 Nigerian girls. They only care because Boko Haram has also killed Christians.They just couldn’t justify military force for that reason alone. As long as Boko Haram is only an internal threat to Nigeria, the correct policy is to assist them to the extent that government asks us to. Anything else is sheer idiocy.