May 9 2014
Boko Haram: Hillary's Bad Choices
Was Hillary Clinton not merely a mediocre secretary of state but something much worse?
Although Mrs. Clinton has spent the last few days huffing and puffing about the fate, likely unthinkable, of the more than 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, an Al Qaeda-linked Islamic terrorist organization, Mrs. Clinton didn’t do anything about Boko Haram when she had a chance.
While Secretary Clinton, who made empowering women and girls a chief goal of her tenure, repeatedly was begged to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization, thus allowing the U.S. to take certain actions against the group, she reportedly fought hard not to do so.
In a scoop everybody is talking about this morning, Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast reports that under Clinton the State Department strenuously resisted calls to put Boko Haram on its official list of foreign terrorist organizations for two years.
“The one thing [Clinton] could have done, the one tool she had at her disposal, she didn’t use. And nobody can say she wasn’t urged to do it. It’s gross hypocrisy,” a former senior U.S. official who was involved in the debate told the Daily Beast.
The Justice Department, the CIA, the FBI, and Gen. Carter Ham, the chief of U.S. Africa Command, urged the designation (which Secretary of State John Kerry has since made). Ham contended that Boko Haram provided a “safe haven” for al-Qaeda and was believed to be sharing explosives and money with al-Qaeda. In 2013, Clinton’s State Department, according to Rogin, lobbied against a bill by eight Republican senators to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
A terrorist designation would not have solved all the problems, but at the very least U.S. officials dispatched to Nigeria to help try to rescue the girls would have known much more about the situation. Clinton, too, should have known the value of such a designation.
If Clinton could not have predicted these specific kidnappings, she certainly knew something of this sort was inevitable and that Boko Haram puts women at risk. Boko Haram bombs Christian churches, seeks to establish sharia law, and opposes education, which it regards as a holdover from British rule.
The impetus of the recent kidnappings: these young women were committing the sin of going to school. So a secretary of state who sees her tenure not in terms of traditional foreign policy but as western feminism writ large should have moved heaven and earth to protect Nigerian girls who simply wanted to go to school.
Hillary, as might be expected, has voiced no regret. Instead she is saying things like this: "Nigeria has made bad choices, not hard choices" Clinton said in assigning blame for the kidnappings. Hard Choices is the name of Mrs. Clinton’s forthcoming book. It takes a special kind of woman to flog her book on the backs of Nigerian school girls in mortal peril. (It takes the kind of woman who can mislead the families of four dead Americans standing a few feet from their coffins.)
Apparently, Mrs. Clinton’s shamelessness knows no bounds. Speaking at a philanthropic event, she continued, “They [the Nigerian government] have squandered their oil wealth, they have allowed corruption to fester and now they are losing control of parts of their territory because they wouldn't make hard choices." Sorta makes me think of Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, due out June 10 from Simon & Schuster. $22.14 at Amazon.
Meanwhile, in Nigeria—unlike in Bengazi, despite the tales Secretary Clinton told--there really is a video that is significant. It appears to have been released by the terrorists, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, rambles on for more than an hour. In the CNN transcript, Shekau says, "There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.”
Rogin doesn’t report on why Mrs. Clinton resisted designating Boko Haram a terrorist organization, but I can’t help thinking that doing so would have been a relatively easy choice. Whatever happens to the abducted girls, it is quite likely that Boko Haram has succeeded in setting back the cause of women’s education in Islamic countries, and that Nigerian girls in particular might think had before choosing to go to school. So much for Mrs. Clinton’s empowering women and girls globally.
Back home, Mrs. Clinton’s style of empowering women appears to be more along the lines of being a star at Tina Brown’s Women in the World conference. Now, that’s hard. As far as policies go, she as president would likely preside over the same big government policies that have snuffed out job creation and kept women from becoming truly independent. But that’s another easy choice: tell women they are all victims in the economy and that big government will be their savior, nevermind if such policies actual backfire on them.
Hillary talks incessantly about helping girls and women. What she means is that she's counting on women to help her. She may toss a few taxpayer dollars at program's advanced under the guise of women's advancement, but in reality, she’s not going to do much more for them.
Just ask the parents of the abducted school girls of Nigeria.