John McCain, the Arizona Republican senator who apparently has never met a country he didn’t want to invade, now wants to invade Nigeria—and he’s not alone. Plenty of other neoconservative adventurists are demanding the same thing, and in the meantime they’re using the tragedy of the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian girls to portray both President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as weak-kneed, lily-livered and bumbling.
Thanks to Josh Rogin over at The Daily Beast, we learn that McCain had this to say about the girls missing in Nigeria:
If they knew where they were, I certainly would send in U.S. troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without permission of the host country.… I wouldn’t be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan.… I would not be involved in the niceties of getting the Nigerian government to agree, because if we did rescue these people, there would be nothing but gratitude from the Nigerian government, such as it is.
Of course, the “some guy” that McCain refers to is the president of Nigeria.
Bill Kristol, the neoconservative bombardier who runs The Weekly Standard, apparently agrees with McCain:
It would be nice to learn that the administration has ordered the U.S. Marine Corps and various U.S. special operations forces to plan a rescue mission. It would be nice to learn the Obama administration has ordered the military to plan to destroy or cripple Boko Haram. It would be nice to see Hillary Clinton make the case for this.
The mention of Clinton is important, for Kristol and other neoconservatives, because they have gotten their knickers in an uproar over the fact that Clinton’s State Department didn’t designate Boko Haram, the group behind the kidnappings, as an official “terrorist organization” back in 2011—as if that would have made any difference to anyone. Back then, the FBI, the CIA and various intelligence and counterterrorism officials wanted to “designate” Boko Haram, but The New York Times quoted Johnnie Carson, who served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs between 2009 and 2013, saying that the State Department refused “for six or seven different reasons.” Among those reasons: it would give the group additional publicity, perhaps turning them into heroes of the jihadist movement, and it would have aligned the United States with a clumsy, brutal and heavy-handed crackdown on the group by the Nigerian military, which slaughtered hundreds in its effort to reassert control in the troubled region of the northeast.