If Boko Haram Ignores Social Media Pressure, Then What?


Over at his Telegraph blog Dan Hodges asks what we're going to do if Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist organization that recently kidnapped over 200 girls, doesn't succumb to the demands of those posting the #bringbackourgirls hashtag.

Boko Haram recently released footage of some of 136 of the kidnapped girls. In the footage the girls repeatedly recite the first verse of the Koran, and Boko Haram's leader says he might consider swapping some of the girls for imprisoned militants.

As Hodges notes, the heart-wrenching situation, and the reactions to it have caught the attention of First Lady Michelle Obama as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron. But, Hodges asks, "What are we going to do about it?"

Hodges says that he is ok with "some big, rough men, with very big guns to say to Boko Haram: 'We've come to take our girls back. And if you try to stop us, it's the last thing you'll ever do.'" However, Hodges goes on to note that this approach could be a problem: What are we supposed to do if Boko Haram carry out another mass kidnapping, or a similar horror is carried out in Syria or Ukraine?

More from Hodges:

Do we want to be the world's policeman, or do we not? If we don't, then fine. But let's take down the signs, and the hashtags, because all we're doing is communicating our own impotence.

It shouldn't be forgotten that the social media campaign related to the recent Boko Haram kidnapping is expressing outrage over what is a comparatively minor atrocity by the group's standards. Boko Haram has not only kidnapped girls, it is responsible for thousands of deaths. Indeed, only a few weeks after the kidnapping the group killed hundreds of people near Nigeria's border with Cameroon.

Thankfully, Secretary of Defense  Chuck Hagel said yesterday that the U.S. did not intend "at this point" to send ground troops to Nigeria to help in the search for the missing girls. However, U.S. military advisers are in Nigeria as part of an international search effort.

Remember, the awful kidnapping is not a threat to U.S. national security. As Reason's Nick Gillespie noted over at Time:

The goal of our foreign policy, and especially interventions involving soldiers, should always be tightly tied to protecting American lives, interests and property.

As horrific as Boko Haram's kidnapping of the school girls is, it in no way poses a threat to "American lives, interests and property."

Read Reason's Ed Krayewski on "Four Reasons US Intervention in Nigeria Is a Bad Idea" here.

NEXT: A Moment for the Late R.J. Rummel, Who Documented the Murderous Nature of Government

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  1. If Twitter fails, we escalate to Instagram or, *horrors* Vine. Once get an official Declaration of War, we carpet bomb thru Snapchat and Facebook.

    “Did we surrender when the Germans twitterbombed our #PearlHarbor hastag”

    “The Germans!?!?”

    “Let him go, he’s on a roll”.

    1. We will fight them on the Twitter, we will fight them on the Instagram. If social media survives for a thousand years, they will still say, “this was their finest hashtag”.

      1. That’s GOOD!

      2. “I have nothing to offer but posts, texts, tweets, and IMs”

        1. There shall come a day when the Tweets of Men shall fail, but not this day…..

      3. Never in the field of Tweetdeck, has so much been owed by so many to so few.

    2. “Before we’re through with them, the Boko Haram will be referenced only on Reddit.”

  2. I, for one, plan to cross my arms over my chest and harrumph quite loudly.

    1. “I didn’t get a ‘harrumph” out of that guy!”

      1. “Give the Late P Brooks a harrumph.”

    2. I’m going to friend him and then unfriend him.

  3. Rush was really going at the hashtag campaign today. I think he’s wrong and right. I get what he’s saying, that these things are often done as a cheap and easy way to make people feel like they care, and that the hashtag thing itself is not going to have any direct effect. But what if the idea is to just stir up public support and awareness of this issue? Then in theory that leads to ‘something being done’ (though it will undoubtedly be something stupid if history is any guide).

    At one point today he followed his logic and said that the hashtag thing was an empty, feel good gesture like “wearing a pink” and then he kind of trailed off and said “or yellow ribbon.” I have to doubt that he’s come down on the ‘yellow ribbon for the troops’ movements in the recent past.

    1. Except if you wear a ribbon aren’t you implying that you donated money to a cause. So at least you have that going for you. Rush talks in circles a lot of the but he does have entertaining content.

      1. “Except if you wear a ribbon aren’t you implying that you donated money to a cause.”

        Not with the yellow ribbon stuff.

        1. ribbon’s are dumb.


            Seinfeld quotes are really useful this year.

        2. Is that the one they put on oak trees, preferably old ones?

          1. No that’s the pink one.

          2. and smile, smile, smile!

            Oops… wrong song.

  4. All those Boko Haram terrorists are gleefully enjoying all the attention the world is giving them now.

  5. A bunch of armed murderous lunatics who are willing to enslave little girls and wall up little boys in buildings and burn them to death don’t really give a shit that the First Lady of a country they hate said something mean about them on social media. Who could have possibly guessed that?

    These people live in a God damned fantasy world. How can someone be so stupid they would think this would make a difference? I know part of it is that they love to pose and show how superior and enlightened they are. But it is more than that. I think they have lost touch with reality to such a degree they are no longer posing. They actually think these sorts of actions have magical effect. I am really starting to think the country is in a lot of danger. I don’t see how you can have people this delusional in charge and not be in grave danger of some sort.

    1. I’m pretty sure they’re just posturing and know it. Remember, for a certain type, actions and results mean nothing. Less than nothing. Only words count. So they don’t delusionally think they’re making a difference, because they really don’t give a shit if they are. The only thing that matters is how it makes them feel and how many kudos it gets them from their like-minded travelers.

      1. its kind of like everybody gets a participation trophy for of all things participating. they including Obama and all think participating gets a job done. The Fireman who fights the fire gets the job done the fireman back at the engine house participates by bing a part of a group only but he does not add to the accomplishment.

    2. On the other hand, this is about the level of involvement that is appropriate for a First Lady.

      Now, as to what her husband ought to be doing, that’s a different question.

    3. Yeah, I’m more in the “do or not do” camp. Not in the telling people about how I feel about it.

  6. “If Boko Haram Ignores Social Media Pressure, Then What?”

    Then Michelle stamps her feet and calls another photoger. Foreign policy by photo-op!

    1. Michelle will just feel good about “doing something” and move onto something else. The girls can go die in slavery for all Michelle cares. The entire thing is about her and people like her feeling good about themselves. What happens in the real world to the real girls is irrelevant. All that matters is how they feel and what goes on in their heads.

      1. Posturing. It’s all about posturing.

  7. Mrs Lightworker: I’m sorry, but the hashtag must be firm with you. Let me see your whole hostage operation or else…
    Boko Haram Leader: Or erse what?
    Mrs Lightworker: Or else we will be very, very angry with you… And we will post on Twitter, telling you how angry we are.

    1. She can also enlist the French who are very skilled at writing strongly-worded letters!
      (And riding in US planes if they really have to get somewhere).

      1. Give back the girls or I will taunt you a second time!

    2. She could always just go over there and pull their arms off.

  8. You guys have this all wrong, Obama is using this whole twitter thing as a trial balloon. If he gets a certain number of re-tweets then we’ll send assistance(whatever that is) and if they don’t well that’s the breaks.

  9. then what? Then nothing. Michelle’s frowny face WAS the sum total of the US response.

    1. Funny how they love the military whenever they get their war on. Every other time they are all about destroying the evil imperialist band of American military rapists.

      I seriously doubt if they ever got the military they want, a kinder, gentler, more female and sis friendly one, that it would do very well against people like Boco Harum.

      1. the only just war is the one we can’t profit from.

        1. Exactly. The less it is in the national interest, the more willing they are to send in the troops.

      2. “‘Boco Harum.”‘

        Soon we will find out that Obama accidentally sent DEVGRU to Boca Raton

        1. I hope so. There are alligators there! One got into my grandmother’s swimming pool!

          1. I once spent a work-weekend there in what I consider one of the most Fabulously Gay Hotels not openly a Gay Hotel =

            “bocaresort” dot com

            What I mean by ‘gay’ is that it has the CLASSIC, ‘birdcage’ style gilded gaudy over the top 1930s Glam all over the place. The toilets felt like a Turkish sex laboratory.



            I contrast this to ACTUAL ‘gay hotels’ like in Chelsea, which are comparatively-hetero-styled.

            It was about to be renovated when I was there (2005? or something… so I think they probably toned it down and spiffed it up… but when I was there I kept expecting to run into Zombie Liberace around every corner…


        2. The members of Procol Harum have been arrested on parole violations and will spend the next year in jail.

  10. Do we want to be the world’s policeman, or do we not? If we don’t, then fine. But let’s take down the signs, and the hashtags, because all we’re doing is communicating our own impotence.

    Only if you see no distinction between a nation’s government and its slackivist citizens.

    1. ^This. Why shouldn’t private citizens express their disgust using social media? How the U.S. government behaves is another issue.

      Michelle O muddies the issue as a pseudo-political person, but this is why Michelle did it and not The One.

  11. 1) the photo is an abomination — stop running it

    2) if you’re going to run the fucking photo, there better be an awesome alt-text

    1. “Unleash the Wookie!”

  12. unrelated but very-interesting piece of information relevant to the Joke that, like Vampires, never gets old =

    Procul Harum is the name of a Siamese Cat Pedigree.

    Why would they name their band after a fucking cat?

    “And who owned this cat?

    ‘It belonged to our dealer. We used to score off of him.’

  13. So what’s worse;

    Mrs. Obama and her hashtag against Boko haram…


    The state department Hashtagging Putin to leave Ukrain alone?

    Tough call. Both equally useless but I have to give State the edge as they are supposed to be actively involved in addressing these issues whereas Michelle is just a figurehead.

  14. Do we want to be the world’s policeman, or do we not? If we don’t, then fine. But let’s take down the signs, and the hashtags, because all we’re doing is communicating our own impotence.

    Hashtagtivism? What could be more potent?

  15. If Boko Haram Ignores Social Media Pressure, Then What?

    I think you misspelled “When”.

    1. Boko Haram Ignores Social Media Pressure, Now What?

      1. Boko Haram Doesn’t Subscribe to Twitter or Facebook, Now What?

  16. Boko Haram has been further condemned after details emerged of a massacre of as many as 300 people close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon


    Zanna said the town had been left unguarded because soldiers based there had been redeployed north towards Lake Chad in an effort to rescue the kidnapped girls.

    Well played… well played.

  17. It’s basically the hippies at Woodstock or Live 8 yelling, “Let them hear you over their in Washington!”

    1. hear you over their what?

      1. Shoot. Why can’t iPhone autocorrect differentiate homophones?

        1. You know who else differentiated homophones?

        2. Your belief that Homophones need to be ‘fixed’ is clearly a cisnormative projection and something which should require an apropos trigger warning.

          1. You got to Oberlin too?

  18. Someone with talent needs to white out the hashtag and replace it with #VaginalItch

  19. At least everyone stopped talking about that missing plane…

  20. Now if the White House threatened to post some more of those creepy-ass social media pictures of White House adviser Jim Messina shilling for Obamacare, that might get a terrorist’s attention.

  21. She looks like somebody ate the ice cream she had hidden in the freezer.

  22. Here’s someone with an idea:

    “Governor Kashim Shettima: Give Your People Guns To Defend Themselves”…..hemselves/

    Yeah, I can see the ATF getting right on that.

  23. Her natural scowl really works here.

  24. Take more hostages than they have, and offer to trade at attractive rates.

  25. Steyn really deserves some love for 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.

    1. Steyn is good.

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