It is hard not to have total contempt for a political culture that thinks the picture [of Michelle Obama holding a hashtag sign] is a useful contribution to rescuing 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadist savages in Nigeria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evidently felt....

Just as the last floppo hashtag, #WeStandWithUkraine, didn't actually involve standing with Ukraine, so #BringBackOurGirls doesn't require bringing back our girls. There are only a half-dozen special forces around the planet capable of doing that without getting most or all of the hostages killed: the British, the French, the Americans, Israelis, Germans, Aussies, maybe a couple of others. So, unless something of that nature is being lined up, those schoolgirls are headed into slavery, and the wretched pleading passivity of Mrs Obama's hashtag is just a form of moral preening.
Contempt may well be warranted, but not for the failure to deploy special operators into this.

Speaking as someone who has worked on the intelligence end of hostage rescue, our guys get the hostage killed from time to time too. The one thing you need most to minimize that danger -- as well as the frankly more-important danger that our operators themselves will get killed, as they are very hard-to-replace strategic assets -- is in-depth intelligence. Failing that, eyes-on reconnaissance. If you've got it, there's a chance you can make a raid like this work.

Do we have the right kind of intelligence assets in Boko Haram country? I don't know for certain, but my guess is that we do not. So that leaves reconnaissance, which takes time. If it's been ongoing up until now, it's been in spite of the direct refusal of the host country to permit it.

You can't drop a SEAL team if you don't know where to drop them, and we most likely don't have any idea. That's not contemptible. It's a fact of the art of war.

The right reason to feel contempt is at the posture, which makes our nation look weak and helpless. We probably can't rescue these girls in a Hollywood-style raid, but we could wipe this group off the face of the earth in a few hours if we were willing to kill a lot of innocent people too. We could wipe them out in weeks, with less danger to innocents, if we were willing to deploy the 1st Cavalry Division for that purpose with a very loose set of ROE.

If we don't do those things, it's because we are choosing not to do them. It won't do for the White House to beg, plead, or scold, or make sad faces in front of a camera.

Take responsibility for your choice.


E Hines said...

Since the hostages are dead already, or leading a "life" worse than death, I'm down with sending in a force of a size capable of purging the forest.

Our guys, the Israelis, Brits, and French also already operate under a set of ROE that maximizes the survivability of any hostages happened onto.

I'd hesitate to do that, though, with the current administration.

Eric Hines

Ymar Sakar said...

The White House is most likely profiting off those kidnapped assets.

Same for the border with Mexico.

Texan99 said...

I agree no one should cavalierly suggest sending in special forces. But then the same person shouldn't cavalierly say things like "Bring back our girls," and then bask in the sense of having done something useful. There's the increasing sense that expressing a vague wish that someone might somehow bring back the girls, without actually proposing that any particular person take the risk or responsibility of such an expedition, is a way of establishing one's bona fides as a beneficent rescuer-type. It's about on a par with bumper stickers urging us to "Visualize World Peace."

E Hines said...

The Obama speech as summarized some 3,300 years ago, ironically enough, Hollywood style.

Eric Hines

Ymar Sakar said...

Not their girls to begin with. Democrats often like to think all blacks in inner city neighborhoods being frozen by Rezko like cronyies, are theirs. Slavery in Democrat fiefdoms.

Ymar Sakar said...

If Hussein did send a kill squad, they would mysteriously end up dead like Seal Team Six.

Was it Seal Team Six that killed Osama?

Hrm, the mind control waves might be interfering, hold on.

douglas said...

To be fair, I don't think Steyn was making a recommendation, he was criticizing the #hastagdiplomacy angle as feckless, and worse than doing nothing. He also said "...without getting most or all of the hostages killed...", which implies that they aren't perfect, but still much better than the rest.