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Discussion point: Boko Haram

I would so like to believe this video is a sick joke. The grinning idiot, swaying and bobbing around, scratching his bum, fiddling with his little red cock’s-comb topknot or bobble hat or whatever that is, rubbing his thigh while talking about the market for slaves… surely he cannot be real, cannot be serious?

Yet those who ought to know think it really is Abubakar Shekau speaking. And if it is, that is further confirmation that the abducted children have already been raped and enslaved.

Faced with Abubakar Shekau’s statement that he will sell for sexual use girls as young as nine, many of those who are usually firmly of the opinion that interference in foreign quarrels is always an evil rediscover a use for Hellfire missiles.

What should be done? Anything?

53 comments to Discussion point: Boko Haram

  • Jamess

    If I were president of the United States I’d be tempted to tell all those people fighting hard for gun rights where, to the best of the CIA’s NSA’s etc knowledge, this guy is, and waive the rule about not being allowed to travel with guns on an aircraft. I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do, but I’d still be tempted anyway.

    And if I were president in any African country where this sort of thing goes on I’d try to make it compulsory for every family to keep a hand gun or rifle at home. (The qualification of being president in that sort of country being a sufficient criteria to reach, not a necessary one).

    I’d also want to ban any religion that makes it a matter of practice to kill anyone who falls away from the faith – or maybe not ban it, but at least not prosecute anyone who tore down, desecrated or otherwise damaged any property belonging to said religion.

  • peter H

    He should be hunted down and exterminated. Can there be any doubt?

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Despite those on the minarchist end of the libertarian spectrum pointing to cases such as these as evidence for the need for government military intervention, I’ve long thought that the solution to these sorts of things can still be found without state militaries. Simply reintroduce letters of marque, mercenary armies and bounties.

    You probably wouldn’t even need to use taxpayers money. I for one would gladly donate some money toward a bounty placed on the head of the man in the video. Likewise I’m sure shipping companies would have been quite capable of raising money for bounties on Somali pirates etc. A couple of Q-ships crewed with former SAS and the problem would have gone away sharpish, instead of all of that faffing about with the “EU Navy” for the best part of a decade,

  • RRS

    Decide on ends to be sought; not interim objectives.

    Ascertain, to the fullest possible, why those are the optimum and most nearly attainable ends.

    Determine the means, and their “side effects.”

    By counterfactuals, estimate the “unexpected” results of actions, and their probable causes.

    Do not “over-masticate;” consider those with diligent speed.

    Act.

    (None of which will occur)

  • And if I were president in any African country where this sort of thing goes on I’d try to make it compulsory for every family to keep a hand gun or rifle at home.

    If you’d ever seen a Nigerian with a rifle, as I have, you’d realise that isn’t a very sensible idea.

    As for the main post…well, yeah. It’s Africa, specifically Nigeria, and if this was the only disgusting, outrageous, and depraved thing I’ve heard of in that country then I’d support any action to eradicate it. But sadly, this type of thing is unusual only because of the number of girls who were taken and the fact they were taken over the border, i.e. the scale of it. And I haven’t forgotten that the dickheads running Nigeria insisted that their own illiterate, corrupt, and incompetent police should be the ones protecting *me* when I was based there, with the employment of competent foreigners absolutely forbidden under local content laws – and nor have I forgotten that most of the locals thought these laws which made me a damned sight less safe were a splendid idea. I have friends who were recently assigned to Nigeria with the British military to help the Nigerian security forces combat Boko Haram, and they tell me the same stories of corruption, greed, selfishness, arrogance, and laziness that I read ExxonMobil encountered when it tried to work with the Nigerian navy, describing them as “criminals with uniforms”.

    These girls being abducted is merely a symptom of the billion things that are wrong in Nigeria, and with the people who live there. I have sympathy for them and their families, but for the rest of the country, and its politicians? None whatsoever.

  • Snag

    Part of the “What should be done” question is, “can it be done?”

  • I am with Snag. It is not so much “what should be done” as “can anything useful even be done?”

    And having spent a fair old bit of time in various parts of Africa, I am strongly of the view that the answer is “no”.

    I cannot see how the military intervention of a western government could be useful or helpful or actually make things meaningfully better in Nigeria.

  • Face up to the fact that Islam has no place and cannot be tolerated anywhere on Earth.

  • Jerry

    Anyone here read Kim DuToit’s essay Let Africa Sink ???

    Somehow seem appropriate here.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Nigeria should be partitioned–evacuate Christians and animists from the Muslim north, and vice-versa.

  • Fraser Orr

    You know let’s not listen the the squeakiest wheel. Obviously what is happening here is dreadful beyond any imagining, and as a parent, I can’t imagine what the parents are going through never mind those poor girls.

    However, this is just the loudest thing at the moment. By some estimates tens of thousands of children are trafficked in the United States alone for sex, and perhaps we should clean our own house before we get too judgmental on those dreadful Africans. A few hundred girls is a tiny fraction of the total number of kids, girls and boys, subjected to slavery, and forced prostitution every year worldwide. Nigeria is a socialist basket case full of these horrors.

    It is a dreadful thing, and I agree that it should be open season on the horrible people who do this. But one more atrocity in Africa, while loud and horrible, disguises a deeper and more profound reality about the world around us.

    It might be emotionally satisfying to send in the SAS, but we can have a bigger effect by simply advocating for, and achieving liberty around the world, to empower people to protect themselves or delegate that protection to someone competent to offer it, and perhaps more importantly to allow them to take responsibility for their lives, and grow themselves out of the poverty that is the fertilizer for such things.

    This particular story is designed to give publicity to these horrible people, and it has succeeded. Small ticking time bomb atrocities are very effective for that purpose, even if they cover up the far more deep and structural problems with societies around the world.

    I think it would be fabulous if there was a decent infrastructure of protection type agencies that the parents, or charitable people who want to help the parents, could hire to solve this problem. Imagine Change.org raising funds for this. But there mostly isn’t, and there mostly is an attitude among all that that is a bad thing. You have to start from these fundamental attitudes productive of such circumstances.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    By some estimates tens of thousands of children are trafficked in the United States alone

    There are similar estimates in the UK. I must say that I am deeply sceptical of them. Again and again, stories with such figures regarding trafficking of children, or sexual slavery imposed on women, have turned out to be grossly exaggerated, and to rely on a deliberate confusion of “trafficked” -which properly speaking only means people smuggled across borders, often so that they can illegally but voluntarily work as prostitutes – with the infinitely worse crime of forcing people into prostitution.

  • Snag

    Natalie, it seems “trafficked” now means something else, if this report from today is correct.

    She was cleared of seven other charges, including arranging or facilitating child prostitution, intentionally causing or inciting a person to become a prostitute, and one count of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20532355

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    To illustrate what I said above, the figures in this story “Nail bars: modern-day slavery in plain sight?”, versions of which appeared in the Sunday Times & the Daily Mail as well as the Guardian, were so comprehensively debunked in the comments and the blogosphere that the Guardian itself later ran a Reality Check calling into question its own earlier article.

    In no way do I seek to minimize the seriousness of the crime of sexual enslavement and/or child prostitution where it truly occurs, but repeated experience suggests to me that a lot of UK “charities” seek to exaggerate the numbers.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Getting back to Boko Haram, it seems possible to me that satellites and drones might be of far more use in this situation than in combatting an urban insurgency. I don’t claim any special knowledge of the subject, however.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Natalie Solent
    > I must say that I am deeply sceptical of them.

    I am somewhat skeptical of the magnitudes too which is why I used the weasel words “by some estimates.” However, it is clear that there is a non trivial amount of this sort of thing going on. And it is certainly a gigantic problem in many poorer countries of Asia and Africa. Further, the distinction between “forced into prostitution” and “voluntary prostitution” is entirely moot when the subjects are children.

  • Paul Marks

    Boko Harem are for real and very serious – they have killed large numbers of people.

    Islam is a serious threat to the West and has been for more than a thousand years – or so Western leaders from Charles Martell to Winston Churchill believed.

    What is unusual (and suicidal?) about the modern ruling attitude in the West is that this is DENIED.

    At best it will be a admitted that there is a problem with a few naughty “Islamists” – but that there is a problem with Islam itself? Certainly not – Islam is historically the golden example of tolerance, it I is the West that it is evil (say the ruling classes of THE WEST).

    Or politicians will deliberately miss the point – and, like Hillary Clinton, say this proves that “education is a right” especially for girls (turning a “right” into a gift of a good or service from government, not a LIMITATION on government – and pushing the “war on women” narrative in which the bad guys are Christian Republicans, not the people on Mrs Clinton’s own staff with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood).

    What should be done?

    Well the Nigerian army should hunt down and kill the members of Boko Harem – although B.H. seems to have a lot more support than can be admitted……..

    The man scratching his bum will (no doubt)be killed soon – but the “respectable community leaders” (who have opinions very similar to his) will not be killed.

    As for Europe…..

    We will continue in our cultural suicide.

    There will be no effort to convert the new people to Western religion (as the ruling intellectual classes no longer believe in this religion – recent comments by Mr Cameron the contrary) and there will be no effort to include them in Western civilisation either (as the ruling intellectual classes no longer believe in Western civilisation).

    Some people will say “look how secular they are” (meaning people from Islamic families) “they drink beer and look at porn and ……”

    As if BELIEFS were not important – and as if a LACK OF BELIEF was a substitute for not having good beliefs.

    Such an attitude is just another form of cultural suicide – and it is not even new.

    When General Gordon first went to the Sudan he remarked on how nominal the faith in Islam was – how there were bare breasted women in the villages, how booze was drunk (and so on).

    He went away for awhile – and then came back (thinking that Sudan was much the same as when he left it).

    In reality a massive Islamic movement had emerged (as it so often does) and WHY NOT? After all the nominal Muslims had no other belief system – so they could become strong (real) Muslims almost overnight (a “revival”).

    What is happening in various Western cities (as nominal Muslims, or the children of nominal Muslims, suddenly become real ones) is grimly predictable – and, again, WHY NOT?

    After all no other positive belief system is offered to these young people – just booze, drugs and porn.

    Islam offers answers to the great questions of existence (questions that bother most people – at some point in their lives), they may be the wrong answers (even evil answers) but they are ANSWERS.

    Western booze, drugs and porn offers no answers at all.

    Just brief pleasure – followed by a terrible feeling of emptiness (of the void).

    Want to resist Islam?

    Then promote an alternative positive belief system in its place. If not Christianity or Judaism – then an atheist belief system (but still a belief system) such as Randian Objectivism.

    Do not have a positive belief system?

    Well then no amount of bombs and bullets will help you – not in the long term.

  • Nigeria’s elite have a bit of oil money if it want to spend it on something other than hookers and Mercedes. If they wished, they have more than enough dosh to hire of a PMC if they lack the military smarts to do certain things. If they decide not to do that, then providing the same services at the expense of western taxpayers seems perverse.

    There is simply no role for any Western government here.

    And please, confine remarks here to Nigeria and the question asked or things that are fairly germane.

  • Western booze, drugs and porn offers no answers at all.

    I can think of nothing better to motivate almost every squaddie I have known than the notion someone might take away their booze and porn :-P

  • jdgalt

    In a country like that, if I were one of the parents, and my government didn’t do something (no matter why), I’d be very tempted to take up arms and go after the bad guys myself, maybe with friends and/or mercenaries.

    As far as the West intervening, I only wish we could afford to clean up every bandit state in the world, so that guys like those would have no haven. If this were still the early 19th century that would be cheap to do, and I’d be for it. I hope that will be true again someday. Right now it isn’t, and that effectively means nothing can be done.

  • Nick (Blame The French) Gray

    We should capture this trafficker and sell him in one of those slave markets- after he has been de-testaclated.

  • In a country like that, if I were one of the parents, and my government didn’t do something (no matter why), I’d be very tempted to take up arms and go after the bad guys myself, maybe with friends and/or mercenaries.

    Some people tried that in the north of Nigeria, set up an informal civil defence force to protect their township against Boko Haram. Boko Haram duly showed up and took them on, and killed most of them.

  • If they wished, they have more than enough dosh to hire of a PMC if they lack the military smarts to do certain things. If they decide not to do that, then providing the same services at the expense of western taxpayers seems perverse.

    Indeed. Unfortunately, most Nigerians suffer from the same affliction as a lot of other nationalities (including Russians): they genuinely believe they are smarter than everyone else, and that when a foreigner turns up in the country he is *automatically* a snake-oil salesman, a racist, and offering nothing which the Nigerians cannot do themselves. I have seen police chiefs say with a straight face – and genuinely believe it – that the snoozing halfwits lounging on the muzzle of their 1960s AK-47s are highly trained and could repel any kind of attack. But as we saw in Algeria they can’t, and even when it is demonstrated beyond doubt that they can’t, they insist that they can. To do otherwise would cause their entire world view, and the justification for their backwardness and kleptocracy, to come crashing down.

  • Well the Nigerian army should hunt down and kill the members of Boko Harem – although B.H. seems to have a lot more support than can be admitted……..

    Hmmm. A chap who I shall refer to as My Mate was sent by the British military to assist the Nigerians in freeing the captured British hostage sometime last year. It made the news because the hostage was killed in the bungled rescue attempt, although to be fair Boko Haram kill the hostages if somebody so much as sneezes within a 5km radius of where they’re being held. He told me some stories about the Nigerian army. Firstly, they cannot identify a target building from a map, and so there were instances of the wrong building being levelled on multiple occasions before they found the right one. In effect, you have to stand outside the target building with a big flashing arrow saying “This House”, which eliminates any element of surprise. Secondly, once the Nigerian army believes they have identified a target launch an attack which would make the Russian assault on the school in Beslan look like a sniper shot. Eveything – terrorists, hostages, men, women, children, goats – within a block or two gets slaughtered in the attack, and it is clear – as was the case in Algeria – that the Nigerian army’s *only* objective was to kill the terrorists, with no regard to the wellbeing of anyone else. My Mate said if I get captured out there, make your own escape ASAP, because nobody will rescue you.

    As I said already, the Nigerian army is less an army as you or I would understand it, and more like a criminal gang with uniforms. It wouldn’t surprise me if elements of the Nigerian army are selling weapons to Boko Haram, informing them of the army’s positions and intentions, and even negotiating a discount on one or two of the captured girls. Whatever the question, the Nigerian army is not the answer.

  • John Mann

    . . . many of those who are usually firmly of the opinion that interference in foreign quarrels is always an evil rediscover a use for Hellfire missiles.

    Many, but not all.

    In terms of “What should be done?”, my answer is to treat Boko Haram like the Labour Party.

    1) Don’t join it.

    2) If one has friends and loved ones who are sympathetic to it, seek to gently point out the error of their ways.

  • Paul Marks

    Perry – you may not be serious, but if you are serious, then you show the problem.

    Offering people drugs, booze and porn is not a belief system.

    Such a “counter argument” warms the hearts of the preachers of Islam (whether in Nigeria or Minnesota) – as they use it to “prove” everything they say about the empty void that is the West.

    Islam is Islam is Islam – to pretend this is some special Nigerian problem is absurd.

    As is the idea that bullets and bombs (and hiring mercenaries) is the way to deal with Islam.

    What are you going to do in a city like Minneapolis (or so many cities in the West) hire mercenaries and shoot people?

    Or are you going to pretend that the Islamic alternative is somehow different in Minneapolis (say among the taxi drivers) than it is in Nigeria.

    Of course the leader of Boko Harem is going to be killed.

    But the respectable “community leaders” believe (and teach) fundamentally the same doctrines (just put in more careful language).

    And it no different in Europe or North America – or anywhere else.

    Bullets and bombs (killing people) will not deal with this problem. That was the fallacy behind the Afghan war and the Iraq war (go in shoot lots of people and then offer them ….. well WHAT exactly? “democracy and schools-and-hospitals” like Star Trek and John Kerry?).

    And Western cultural collapse (“booze, drugs and porn” presented as a belief system) is not part of the solution – it is part of the problem.

    If the West can not offer a positive belief system to the new people (the ever expanding populations of new people) then the West will die.

    And the West will deserve to die.

  • Paul Marks

    I repeat that a belief system can be atheist – for example the Objectivism of Ayn Rand.

    But there must be positive beliefs – as an alternative to Islam (and as alternative to Marxism).

    “booze, drugs and porn” will not do as a belief system – they give pleasure in the short term, but leave men with nothing but emptiness (the void). Self disgust – not answers to the basic questions that all people face.

    As for just shooting people.

    Fighting may indeed be needed at certain times and places.

    But fighting FOR what?

    Just fighting AGAINST things (when you have no positive alternative to offer) is the road to certain long term defeat.

  • erry – you may not be serious, but if you are serious, then you show the problem.

    Offering people drugs, booze and porn is not a belief system.

    I’d rather have what Perry’s offering than what the terminally tedious Paul Marks is offering.

  • I dunno Paul,
    I suspect Perry was trying to be funny ;-) And I take you point about positives rather than negatives but if you do the sums we are far away from an Islamic take-over. It’s just demographics. Europe is c.5% Muslim if you ignore traditionally majority Muslim parts such as European Turkey, Albania, bits of Russia. And Muslim birth-rates are converging with the “natives”. You also have a drift away from Islam up to a point.

  • NickM, yes I am joking… but only sort of, having met rather a lot of squaddies in my time.

    And I too am less worried about the demographics than the many who seem to think that Islam is passed on genetically, and thus after a few generations western muslims will somehow have not have fallen prey to the pleasures and banalities of western civilisation. I disagree.

    Indeed I find myself agreeing almost entirely with Al-Qaeda on that subject, for THAT is why they actually hate western civilisation… and that is also why I fear them (at least somewhat) less than Paul does and have long said so.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Islam is not passed on genetically, and generally a move towards fundamentalism and radical islam is accompanied by a significant influx of funds from the Mideast. If there is some way to stop this flow, either by blocking it, or by cutting it off at the source, then Islam ceases to be a problem.

    However, when the funds are there, Paul’s concerns are very valid.

  • Rob

    What should be done by us? Almost nothing. The first idiot politician who suggests putting British troops on the ground there should be conscripted.

  • RobC

    The base cause of this problem lies in Mecca… flatten it and they have no place to pray to anymore.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Some very good points have been made in the comments.
    I am going to look at it from a different perspective, largely ignoring the facts on the ground.
    The question that i ask myself in situations like this, is:

    What would Vlad the Impaler do?

    I’ll spare you the gory details, but my first draft for a solution (no pretense of feasibility) includes collective punishment, escalating until all responsible members of Boko Haram are turned over to the authorities; then impalement and more collective punishment if not all girls are returned in good health.

    Speaking of Vlad, maybe Putin is the guy to implement this?
    Looking at my list of fav quotes, i find the following:

    Russian domination, a benefit for ignorant and savage peoples, or ones corrupted by the vices of decrepit civilizations, would be a calamity for Europe.

    (I don’t remember where i found it, but in my list of quotes i find it credited to Alfred Mercier, 1863:
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Mercier)

  • Mr Ed

    Wobbly Guy:

    If there is some way to stop this flow, either by blocking it, or by cutting it off at the source, then Islam ceases to be a problem.

    Indeed, wouldn’t it be nice if there were petrol (gasoline) and Diesel stations selling ‘ethical’ fuel, the problem is finding sources of non-Mid East fuel, without going to, say, Venezuela, which is the caterpillar for Cuba’s parasitic wasp, not very ethical either. One could boycott Q8 petrol stations, as they are owned by the State of Kuwait, which seems to be involved in funding some nasty people.

  • William O. B'Livion

    The last two scenes of Boondock Saints (maybe last three) are called to mind here.

    The Nigerian government is weak and unable to do anything.

    The large masses of mohammedans are either not secure enough in their beliefs to oppose this sort of behavior, or are secure enough that they are comfortable with it.

    It was only 40 years ago that Tehran was the “Persian Paris”, and that girls wore skirts to school in parts of Afghanistan. It is the fecklessness and cowardice of our so-called leaders (like the buffoon Obama and his straight man John Kerry (and yes, Bush was significantly better in that at least he recognized he had to deal with evil, not that he was much better at it)) that this nonsense persists.

    You want women treated decently in the Islamic world, then arms embargos aren’t the way to do it. Embargo luxury goods requiring significant skill and engineering to make (BMWs, Mercedes and Cadillacs, iPads, etc.). Deny tourist visas to nice countries and force the diplomats ONLY be in country when needed, and then segregate them to small areas of ONLY the cities they need to be in to do their business. Freeze their bank accounts and investments.

    Tie these restrictions to the behavior of their citizens with regards to treating women as property and to financing of terrorists etc. Then you’ll get some changes.

    Condemning 1/4th or 1/5th of humanity to death (or misery) because they are kept ignorant for political purposes by their leaders is illiberal (in the unappropriated sense of the word).

    Islam is a problem, but there are solutions to that problem. Finance the most liberal muslim “scholars”, cut off funding to the most anti-western. Kill those who take up arms.

    You want to solve the Boko-haram problem? Convince the nigerian government[1] to let the West solve it. Then send in a mix company of Marines and Royal Marines with whatever heavy weapons suppor they need (there’s camaraderie there, and some competitiveness) and give them full reign to fix things. Then leave. No bills, no paying Danegeld for any broken windows or accidental killings, just use professionals to do what they do best.

    Or shit, send a half dozen SEALs with pistols and let them figure it out.

    To quote from the philosophical treatise “The Boondock Saints”:

    Connor: Now you will receive us.
    Murphy: We do not ask for your poor or your hungry.
    Connor: We do not want your tired and sick.
    Murphy: It is your corrupt we claim.
    Connor: It is your evil that will be sought by us.
    Murphy: With every breath, we shall hunt them down.
    Connor: Each day, we will spill their blood till it rains down from the skies.
    Murphy: Do not kill. Do not rape. Do not steal. These are principles which every man of every faith can embrace.
    Connor: These are not polite suggestions. These are codes of behavior, and those of you that ignore them will pay the dearest cost.
    Murphy: There are varying degrees of evil. We urge you lesser forms of filth not to push the bounds and cross over into true corruption, into our domain.
    Connor: For if you do, one day you will look behind you and you will see we three. And on that day, you will reap it.
    Murphy: And we will send you to whatever god you wish.

    The key is doing it incorruptibly and without partisanship. And with professionalism and very narrowly tailored extreme violence.

    You do this sort of thing 30 or 40 times, with integrity, without doing it in support of the United Fruit Company, or DeBeers, or whatever consumer interest, you do it with the sort of First World impartiality we *should* be demanding from our so-called leaders, you do it in *clear* cases of terrorism, or large scale human trafficking etc. and pretty soon the scum will find other ways to make a living.

    And if we have to shoot a few of our own for being scum sucking dirtbags? Broken eggs and omlets.

    Won’t happen though. More’s the pity.

    [1] They can be convinced. Put a luxury goods import embargos and oil export embargo. Threaten to supply their neighbors with serious military hardware (give them the third most high-tech stuff we have. Include spares. The spares will get sold on the black market and the weapon systems will rot. Or they’ll send their people to schools to learn how to maintain it and start building a middle class that has some ability to plan for the future, conserve resources etc. I’m betting on the rot, but that’s usually the way to bet outside of the West.

  • William O. B'Livion

    Sorry, “arms embargos aren’t the way to do it”… [Appropriate correction now made to original comment -NS]

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    RobC,

    “The base cause of this problem lies in Mecca… flatten it and they have no place to pray to anymore.”

    No doubt the Romans thought, “that’s those Jews done with” when they destroyed the Second Temple in A.D. 70.

    … As did the Babylonians some 650 years earlier. The Jews are still around. The Babylonians and the Romans, not so much.

    … Quite apart from, you know, that whole “non-aggression” thing.

    … Not to mention that whole “let’s not have a nuclear world war” thing.

  • Screw non-aggression. The other considerations are valid, though.

  • Barry Sheridan

    Islam has long exhibited a callous disregard of cultured civilisation, despite having once led the world in providing just that. This contemporary regression feeds off world wide trends that offer little in the way of a positive vision for future of humanity. This corrupt negativity, voiced so strongly throughout the westernised sphere, does not counter those interested in using violent means to obtain and exercise power. Power that once attained is then maintained through intimidation of those who might offer another way, in essence its kills the sensible moderate voice. In essence radical Islam is nothing more than the ideology of communism masquerading under the cloak of religion. It is all about power. It cannot be reasoned with, only defeated by something better. We lack the better thanks to the miserable attitudes of today’s leadership.

  • Laird

    Alisa is correct. “Non-aggression” doesn’t mean “pacifism”; the proper expression of that libertarian philosophy is no initiation of force. But when the other side has already initiated the aggression (which is unarguably the case with radical Islam) a violent response is proper, even for a libertarian. And I would argue that once one has been “aggressed” against the appropriate response is a massively disproportionate level of force pour encourager les autres.

  • Laird, FWIW, I do not subscribe to the non-initiation-of-force principle either (and neither do I understand the difference between that and NAP), but I do agree with your overall point.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Laird: I too agree with your overall point, but one might wonder whether it applies in this situation. Boko Haram did not initiate force against me, or you, or anybody else in this forum (presumably) so can we justify intervention? I think we can, but we must be careful _how_ to justify it.
    (NB: justifying intervention is not the same as demanding intervention.)

  • Snorri, if by justification you mean a practical cost-benefit analysis, then I would agree with you as well. But if you mean some kind of moral justification, I think there’s plenty here as it is, in plain sight. This is one of the many cases that demonstrate that NAP, at least as it seems to be commonly understood by libertarians, is simplistic and impractical.

  • Laird

    Snorri, I was merely responding Natalie’s casual reference to the “non-aggression thing” (which was itself actually a response to a comment about “flattening Mecca”); I was not intending to advocate outside involvement in Nigeria. In fact, I do not advocate it; I don’t have a dog in that fight. I would have no objection to some individual, or group of individuals, taking it upon themselves to exterminate every member of Boko Haram on a moral basis; I fact, I would applaud it. But I would not want to see my government taking on that task. As a nation it’s not our business.

  • Agree with Laird there.

  • Snorri Godhi

    In view of the replies, maybe i should clarify my comment:
    my point was whether the NAP allows _me_ to attack people who did not attack _me_.
    Raising this issue does not imply either acceptance or rejection of NAP. I myself am more inclined to taking tit for tat as an ethical basis, than either NAP or the Golden Rule.
    In this specific instance, i feel that the tit for tat principle entitles “us” to do what we want to Boko Haram (including impalement) but does not compel us to do so.

  • Nick (Blame The French) Gray

    Boko Haram arose when the northern parts of Nigeria, which are mainly mohammedan, was badly treated by the southern parts, where the capital is, and which are mostly Animist or Christian. So any attempt at justice should also look into that, and try to remedy it, or BH2 will soon be born.

  • Mr Black

    In a world where western values were confident and assertive, places like this would be visited by an airborne division and laid waste. All cult members would be exterminated, their supporters imprisoned and their very name made illegal and punishable by death. The merciless slaughter and devastation of these barbarians does more to discourage the next lot than a million “soft power” actions ever would.

    It wasn’t a strongly worded letter that went ashore at Tripoli.

  • Paul Marks

    Ted.

    Go ahead.

    Hopefully you will “OD”.

  • […] On the other hand… […]

  • […] of arming civilian vigilantes to fight Boko Haram, please read Tim Newman’s comments to my previous post about Boko Haram. He can very reasonably back up his pessimism by saying that he has lived and worked in that part […]

  • Angry Tory

    In a world where western values were confident and assertive, places like this would be visited by an airborne division and laid waste. All cult members would be exterminated, their supporters imprisoned and their very name made illegal and punishable by death. The merciless slaughter and devastation of these barbarians does more to discourage the next lot than a million “soft power” actions ever would.

    Then let’s just nuke the entire fucking continent – from the cape to the nile.

    because if you miss just one cult member in your extermination, if you fail to kill just one family member of cultists – or of “innocent civilians” for that matter – then 5, 10, 20 years later you’ll get an UBL with a container nuke in the Hudson, or San Francisco Bay.