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....Contempt may well be warranted, but not for the failure to deploy special operators into this.
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.
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.