Boko Haram and the Obama State Department’s Deadly Wishful Thinking
Boko Haram has long been a vile and despicable terrorist organization that has committed some of the most brutally heinous acts against humanity imaginable, but only now is the Obama State Department – with its hand forced – beginning to truly confront their atrocities.
For years Boko Haram has ruthlessly attacked Christians throughout Nigeria, indiscriminately slaughtering men, women, and children alike, and yet many on the Left have been nearly silent. Even worse, the Obama State Department did nothing.
At the ACLJ, we’ve long raised the alarm about Boko Haram’s relentless terrorist attacks. In 2011, we conducted a fact-finding mission unearthing the brutal reality in northern Nigeria. At the time, over 500 Christian churches had been attacked and over 200 Christians had been killed.
A year later, we detailed Boko Haram’s Easter Sunday terrorist attacks on several churches in Nigera, killing at least 36 people. This was after Boko Haram unleashed a Christmas Day terrorist attack on another Christian church, killing 40.
After nearly daily attacks on Christians from an obviously radical Islamic terrorist organization, the State Department remained silent. The Obama Administration stated that “religion is not a driving force” in these attacks.
Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to acknowledge and list Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, which would have allowed the U.S. government numerous tools to help undermine the terrorist network.
In April 2012, the ACLJ sent a letter, along with numerous other human rights groups, urging the Obama Administration to officially label Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of Boko Haram’s terrorist acts, the Clinton State Department again refused to make this designation. And Secretary Clinton’s boss said nothing.
For ideological reasons, President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and the State Department refused to confront the growing threat posed by Boko Haram, because confronting Boko Haram meant acknowledging Islamic terrorism. It meant giving up the mantra that terrorism was defeated. It didn’t mesh with the public perception they wished to create.
After Clinton stepped down from her post in 2013 and Boko Haram unleashed countless other terrorist attacks and senseless sectarian violence, the State Department finally relented and added Boko Haram to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations on November 14, 2013, just four months ago.
Why did it take so long for the Obama Administration to even begin to act?
The failure to act is born out by the ideology of many in the elitist Left, President Obama and Secretary Clinton chief among them, who have been willfully ignorant of the continued problem of Islamic terrorism. Boko Haram has been killing Christians, thousands of Christians, for years, but there was no outrage.
In February, Boko Haram heinously murdered 59 young boys. They shot the defenseless children while they slept in their beds, and then burned the school to the ground. Last September, the radical Islamist terrorist group killed 40 students attending a training college.
Now, Boko Haram has continued their unimpeded spree of terror, kidnapping and enslaving 240 young girls. By every account the terrorist group plans to sell them as sex slaves to the highest bidder.
But only now has the Obama State Department awoken to the unthinkable terror that Boko Haram has unleashed, and only now are some speaking out.
Ultra liberal comedian and political talk show host Bill Maher is now calling out the Left, using Boko Haram as the example, for what he says is their refusal to address the real problem of radical Islamic terrorism.
“There’s no mention here of connecting this to the religion, which is always what I am seeking to do because I think that’s the elephant in the room,” Bill Maher said. “And that in the religion at large, women are seen as property, second-class at best, often property.”
Yet, even Maher in his attempt to expose the hypocrisy of his political allies belies an even greater hypocrisy.
In calling out liberal blog hero Arianna Huffington, he proclaimed, “Where it becomes dangerous is that liberals like yourself do not stand up for liberalism. Liberalism means, one, mostly, equality of women.”
His larger critique of the Left is well taken, but is equality the only reason to care about the atrocities of Boko Haram?
Boko Haram slaughtered 59 little boys in February. No, equality is not the outrage. It’s humanity. It’s the senseless degradation of human life. It’s the intentional attacks on Christians. It’s the murder of little boys, the enslavement of little girls, and terror imposed on an entire society, while the Obama Administration does nothing.
I commend Maher for attempting to expose the hypocrisy of the Left, but the hypocrisy is so engrained that he can’t even completely see it.
Since 9/11, since the American people awoke to the horrific reality of Islamic terrorism – many on the Left have been trying desperately to ignore this reality. They have willfully refused to confront terrorist groups.
The Boko Harams of the world have been allowed to indiscriminately kill and terrorize with no threat of justice.
But even now that the First Lady has joined media and Hollywood elites on the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag bandwagon, what more will we do?
Hashtags have their uses and can drive public awareness, but hashtags won’t stop terrorists.
Hashtag diplomacy alone will not bring the girls back. It won’t end the reign of Boko Haram terror.
It’s time for the Obama Administration to confront the growing, not shrinking, problem of terrorism, not with hashtags but with real foreign policy.
Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.