News Boko Haram Gunmen Kidnap Girls in Nigeria

1. May 6, 2014

Greg Bernhardt

~240 were taken. They were taking a physics exam when they were abducted! Can Nigeria solve this problem? What are the responsibilities of other nations?

Kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls taken as brides by militants, relatives told
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/29/kidnapped-nigerian-schoolgirls-marriage-claims

Suspected Boko Haram Gunmen Kidnap 8 More Girls in Nigeria
http://www.voanews.com/content/susp...dnap-eight-more-girls-in-nigeria/1908567.html

Last edited: May 6, 2014
2. May 6, 2014

lisab

Staff Emeritus
Terrorist acts aim to create chaos and fear in a population. Kidnapping girls will not achieve that goal, IMO. It will unite everyday Nigerians against Boko Haram and also pressure the government to be more responsive. Pretty much opposite of the intended effect!

3. May 6, 2014

Boko Haram = "Western education is sinful"

Okay... :uhh:

And to kidnap 14 year-old girls and make money on trafficking... is what? Praise of Highest Almighty...?? :yuck:

Troglodyte Barbarians :grumpy:

4. May 6, 2014

Staff: Mentor

Who do we want to be/how do we want other nations to view us? We drop everything to throw carrier battle groups at humanitarian relief efforts; why can't we also commit some small forces to fixing (relatively) small problems like this one? Demonstrating that we are willing to help even when our own self-interest is not at stake is very good for our national image. And is there a moral responsibility here? I tend to think there is.

We're offering troops now and I think we waited far too long to make that offer.

5. May 6, 2014

lisab

Staff Emeritus
I really understand your sentiment. But let me rephrase your questions: What do other nations want to be, and how can they view *themselves* as capable? If it's such a small problem (and it really is), why must we get involved?

Yes there is a moral interest. But why must it rest ultimately on our shoulders?

These questions are rhetorical. Truth be told, I'm torn about what America's position in the world should be these days. I do want to help, but where is the rest of the world? Plenty of other countries now have a standard of living equal to ours (or better). Where are they in this crisis?

6. May 6, 2014

Staff: Mentor

I think I know where you are going with that and I agree: the international community should be doing more and the responsibility is not ours alone. But a shared responsibility doesn't get split into parts for blame: everyone gets a full share if they were capable of fixing the problem alone. So while it sucks that everyone else is shirking the responsibility, it doesn't grant us a pass to do it too.
Not uncommon, but may I ask why?
They've all dismantled their militaries. They can't even handle the smallest of military engagements (Libyan air campaign) without our assistance. Saves them a lot of money, sure, but it makes the world a more dangerous place. This particular incident is tiny of course and any one of our allies could take care of it alone, but there are/have been other problems that only we can deal with.

7. May 6, 2014

Greg Bernhardt

Nations may take advantage too. Why invest in an armed force if you know the US will bail you out.

Hard to talk policy when 230 odd girls are in serious danger though.

8. May 7, 2014

Borg

Sadly, I agree. If Boko Haram had stuck to it's previous playbook of killing the girls and destroying their school, the story wouldn't be getting international attention.
However, I don't know how anyone would even begin to deal with people like this. I get the Darwin thing because religions usually bury their head in the sand on that. But a flat earth and rain not originating from evaporation??
To get back to Greg's original question:
What is the real problem here? A bunch of girls who were kidnapped, yet another Islamic group that wishes to create an Islamic state ruled by sharia law, or what happens when countries are rife with corruption? The kidnappings are a symptom of a problem that occurs throughout the developing world. These groups always seem to follow a typical pattern of perceived injustice, religious uprising, half-hearted and/or inept government crackdowns and eventual filling of the ranks with criminal elements. What motivates these groups to get started in the first place?

9. May 7, 2014

Staff Emeritus
Quite possibly. CAIR condemned the kidnapping, but two weeks later, only when the announcement that the girls would be sold was made.

10. May 7, 2014

Borg

I guess that it's hard to condemn something when even people in the Nigerian government refuse to believe it.

11. May 7, 2014

StatGuy2000

Are you aware that many developed countries around the world, including Canada (my home country) have invested a sizable share of their national budget on their military, and that their military are engaged in active combat or in peacekeeping? (Canadian soldiers has been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with their American and British counterparts in Afghanistan until recently, for example).

In recent times, French military forces have carried out actions in conflict zones in their former colonies in Chad and the Central African Republic, and British military intervention was key to the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone. Even Australia has been involved in peacekeeping activities in East Timor after their fight for independence from Indonesia. So it is hardly the case that other countries have shirked their responsibilities.

12. May 7, 2014

The rest of the world? Huuum... seems to be a somewhat 'complicated rhetoric'... since these kinds of coins always has a flip side...

[my bolding]
Also note; these Iraqi refugees does not merely get a "Food Stamp & Good Luck", but are obligate to full economic support by the Swedish society, which for a family with a few kids means approx 40,000 USD/year, which can go on for decades, since many of them never learn Swedish, and the unemployment rate is 70%.

Maybe it's gotten better? Nah, in 2013 Sweden had 128,946 Iraqi refugees (1,34%) while US had 153,897 (0,05%). Sodertalje city is now known as 'Little Baghdad'...

This is my tax money, spent on cleaning up the mess after a former alcoholic from Texas, whom can't read the map, who trusts faked/false/bad intelligence to start a deadly/costly and somewhat 'dislocated' war (which has cost you guys life's & trillion$), in what must be the nuttiest 'retaliation' in history. Do I whine and complain? No, but it's little bit tricky to accept faulty accusations of "doing nothing"... 13. May 7, 2014 DevilsAvocado Since this is a serious thread and we are in a scientific forum, maybe it's safest to stick to facts: Military expenditure in EU: 266 US$ Bn
Active military forces in EU: 1,551,000 personnel

Military expenditure in Libya: $2 US$ Bn (2008)
Active military forces in Libya: 76,000 personnel (November 2010)

I don't know how you come to the conclusion that Gaddafi's "1%-budget" could ever win a war against EU (without US assistance)... personally, I believe the simple answer is that Obama just wanted to avoid earlier blunders... (and let the French fighter jet pilots look at the map first, to hopefully find the right target :tongue:)

14. May 7, 2014

lisab

Staff Emeritus
Good points, and yes I was aware Sweden is taking more than its share of refugees. And I never thought much of that particular Texan and his buddies.

But my point is, whenever there is a crisis, the US is expected to "do something". Why does no one ever ask "What is Uruguay going to do about this? Is Nepal going to send troops in to help?"

Truth is, the tide seems to be turning in the US, and Americans are much less willing to be in this role in the world now.

15. May 7, 2014

That's because US somehow gets involved in almost all issues like that,IMO. No other country does that.

16. May 7, 2014

SW VandeCarr

Based on your public profile (About Me), I imagine you could be of some help in saving these young girls.

17. May 7, 2014

Borg

18. May 7, 2014

mheslep

I think by first identifying and labeling this group more accurately as a cult, Jim Jones and company in Guinea, Aum Shinrikyo in Japan.

19. May 7, 2014

Staff Emeritus
Come on. Was there ever any serious doubt that there was a kidnapping incident? Not propaganda and willful denials. This was covered in USA Today, The Guardian, the BBC, Voice of America immediately after it happened.

20. May 8, 2014

Borg

Just being facetious. The Nigerian government is not dealing with these terrorists as they should. From my link:
If the above is true, then it seems that at least some in the government are hoping to diminish their plight or scare them from protesting about it. The statement from the police calling a detainment an 'invitation' lends some credibility that this may have been the case. Stories like this and the extreme slowness of the government response tells me that the government doesn't know what to do, doesn't want to deal with it, or both.

Whatever the situation with the government, I doubt that many of the girls will be recovered. There are already reports of some of the girls crossing the border into Chad and Cameroon with militants that they have been forced to marry. I really feel sorry for the girls, their families and all of the other victims of that group. Groups like Boko Haram are a blight on the world - even to Al Qaeda.

Last edited: May 8, 2014
21. May 8, 2014

256bits

Isn't some summit or conference coming up that Nigeria is hosting. The government might have been trying to play the game of "Problems. We have no problems" beforehand to minimize security risks for delegations.

22. May 8, 2014

Okay lisab, I understand and agree. I guess it has to do with money and "sorry-not-my-problem" attitude... We have the UN Peacekeeping forces, but they are extremely slow (as in the tragedies of Rwanda, Srebrenica, etc) and are 'dysfunctional' in a battle situation.

Tricky problem...

Yeah I know, and as you – I can't decide if this is a good or bad thing...

If I've understood this correctly; it's partly due to Obama not being the "trigger-happiest" guy in Washington, and that US is about (already?) to get independent of foreign fossil fuel, and that GWB blew a \$4 trillion hole in the budget with his Texas gun, and that communism is (almost/not in eastern Ukraine) dead, right?

23. May 8, 2014

mheslep

What is special about this situation? 150,000 fatalities in the Syrian civil war, which include the use of chemical weapons. Last year islamic militants killed 29 boys in Nigeria, many of them burned to death, though that atrocity garnered no new thread here in PF's CE. North Korea, Iran. I could go on, as you are well informed I'm sure so could you. So I ask, why should US troops be put at risk in this particular case?

24. May 8, 2014

Staff: Mentor

Short answer: Because it's morally right and it's easy.

But I'm the one who asked "why not Syria?" a year ago when the chemical weapons came to light and "why Libya, why not Syria?" three years ago, when the number dead in Syria was in the hundreds:

Well, I acknowledged in the 2013 thread that I'm a war hawk and I would have supported action at that time. In 2011 I was just bemoaning the lack of discussion of the issue in the UN and didn't express an opinion on whether we should have intervened at that point. I think it is clear by now that not intervening before the opposition became The Extremist Variety Show was a big mistake, that has cost a huge number of lives.

So, when aimed at me, it's a wrong question: the starting premise is wrong because I would intervene in at least some of the other cases. So I'll give (what I think is) The answer instead of My answer.

The answer is politics and practicality (mostly politics).

The practical concern, at least, squares with morality in that it is impossible to address every problem - we don't have the resources - so we must make choices. If the calculus is strictly moral, it is a cost/benefit ratio: size vs severity. How many people died vs how many troops it would have taken to stop it.

The Rwanda genocide was particularly egregious, with 500K - 1M killed (mostly by machetes), in a coherent and low-tech genocide that could have been stopped/prevented with a few tens of thousands of troops. We could have prevented or stopped it in days, had we chosen to.

For Nigeria, the deaths and kidnappings are less than a thousand, but if we can find the kidnappers/militants, it's the sort of thing we could deal with with a few dozen troops and a few airstrikes. It should be a piece of cake.

The political part of the answer - the more relevant - is strictly an issue of political will. Americans are typically isolationist and Europeans only really liked to fight each other and now don't want to fight anyone, so neither want to get involved in 3rd world messes. Simply put: We don't care enough.

I didn't know about it. Perhaps there is a three-digit minimum deathcount for the media caring about covering it? But without knowing the specifics, 29 is a relatively small number and if it appeared self-contained, I probably wouldn't have supported action.

That said, I have created and argued in the past for implementation of The Russ Doctrine, which states that 1st world nations should demolish and rebuild one small problem country every five years or so. The two countries we picked in the past 12 years though, were too big and used too many resources to be viable for a 5 year interval.
Nuclear weapons.

Though touted as having a huge military, I doubt that anyone actually considers N. Korea's military to be more than a paper tiger. Toppling Kim(s) would have been easy. But now that they have nuclear weapons, that window is closed.
We should not let Iran get nuclear weapons. See: North Korea.

25. May 8, 2014

Staff: Mentor

If people want to get deeper into the who's-responsibility-is-it-anyway discussion, we can split it into it's own thread, but:
What's "a sizeable share"? Are you aware that Canada is a member of NATO and that the NATO treaty includes mandatory minimum military spending limits -- that Canada and most of Europe have failed to meet?

In 2013, Canada's military spending was a relatively minuscule 1% of GDP, half it's treaty obligation of 2%.

Currently, only Estonia, Greece, and the UK are meeting their obligations....and, of course, the US, which at a relatively small by historical standards 4.4% brings the average of all countries up above 2%. Europe as a whole is at 1.6%, down from 2.5% in the mid-1990s, when most countries met their obligation. Canada was at least close, at 1.8% at that time.

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_topics/20140224_140224-PR2014-028-Defence-exp.pdf
(page 6)
Some commentary here: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303802104579449571957045910
Half thanks for half the required commitment.