For those who don't watch international news, an Islamic terror group patterned after Al Qaeda and named Boko Haram (trans: "Western education is sinful"), kidnapped about 200 girls from a Nigerian school. They claim to be selling them for $12 each as wives. The Nigerian government seems to have been either stalling or unable to formulate a rescue plan.

This morning on CNN two experts were interviewed and they said, to be realistic, given the jungle landscape and the fact that the girls by now could be scattered across the jungle in any of the several countries which border on or are near Nigeria (see map) rescue is simply not going to happen. The nearby countries are unlikely to want to provide assistance or approve incursions for fear of having their own Boko Haram problem. See map:

Plus, the experts said, the rainy season is coming on and any sort of rescue, even were all of the girls in one place, is a virtual logistical impossibility.

But beyond that, what about the idea that you don't negotiate with terrorists? The same two experts agreed that the only real hope for getting the girls back would be for Nigeria to open up a negotiation and trade some/all of their Boko Haram prisoners for the girls.

The reasoning for the "no negotiation with terrorists" policy is that it just encourages future acts of terror, or in the case of this group, more school abductions (they have abducted boys in the past).

Do you see any way out of this? To me, it looks like a win-win for Boko Haram no matter how it's played.

Chairman Mao found a winning tactic in protracted insurgent warfare. Now Boko Haram may have found an even better tactic. If we fight them and kill a lot of them, they can use that for recruiting more fighters who want revenge. If we let them keep the girls without a fight, they'll undoubted do it again which will be in line with the Al Qaeda organization they are allied with. 

It's not at all impossible that the word in Boko Haram is that if they are ever attacked to just slaughter the girls. And they are quite capable of such slaughter. After the kidnapping, and apparently feeling that they were not so much in the headlines outside Nigeria, they went into a Nigerian village and slaughtered everyone they could find, some 300 people.

I just giving up on the abducted girls the best of a set of ridiculously poor options?

Tags: Boko Haram, Nigeria, negotiation, terrorism

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The "no negotiation with the enemy" line used to mean that there was no public debate with the enemy. Then someone came around and suddenly took it literally.

The media coverage this case has received sets a poor precedent. What terrorist groups now know is that if they kill 59 schoolboys nobody bats an eye. But if they abduct 276 schoolgirls, the whole world loses its collective shit.

The media coverage this case has received sets a poor precedent.

It's not the first time, and what can countries with uncensured media do to control sensationalism, anyway?

Apart from introducing hygiene to the unwashed masses; not much, unfortunately. Though that does not distract from the fact that schoolgirls everywhere, and especially in unruly Muslim areas, are now in greater danger than a few weeks ago.

One of the goodie two shoes' complaints is that the plight of the Nigerian schoolgirls is being ignored. Well, now it's not, even though it's unlikely much positive can be done other than swapping Boko Haram prisoners for them. The attention is probably giving the terror group the notoriety and attention it's been seeking all along. Good going there!

I can't imagine any simple solution, other than perhaps future microdrones that can pick off low-life scum right when they're in the act of of kidnapping or murdering. Seems to me kind of useless (and maybe even sensationalistic) to blame anyone other than the perps for their behavior, unless there's an obviously positive way for those outsiders to fix the problem. Maybe the only realistic way to reduce terrorism (or any crime, for that matter) is for oppressed people to have real options for leading happy lives... i.e. to have the good fortune to be in a non-oppressive culture.

What I'm saying is, even religious extremists are victims of their own, repressed upbringing, too late to be easily dealt with, other than by fatally eliminating them with laser accuracy. The only broad (albeit difficult) solution is to help make the whole of society better before its people become marginalized. Most other actions are simplistic, emotional/sensationalist, reactionary and often harmful, overall.

Why do the news sources translate Boko Haram as "Western education is sinful" when it could also be translated as the near synonym, "Ignorance is virtue"?

BTW, we should be looking into the language of Boko Haram. It's almost unbelievably concise if they can say "Western education is sinful" in four syllables and nine letters rather than nine syllables and 24 letters. Think of all the paper, ink, and bandwidth that might be saved!

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