Updated: May 12, 2014


By Peter Nealen

So, after first apparently thinking that a Twitter campaign under the hashtag “United for Ukraine” was going to do anything to dissuade Vladimir Putin and his proxies in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine from pursuing their agenda, and having the idiocy of this idea become immediately apparent to anyone who didn’t have their heads firmly buried in their fourth point of contact, now another Twitter campaign has been started, this time by the First Lady, to “Bring Back Our Girls,” referring to the 200+ schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram over three weeks ago.

The announcement essentially went out in the form of a picture of Michelle Obama with a sad face holding a hand-written sign with “#BringBackOurGirls” on it.

If “#UnitedForUkraine” was useless, this is orders of magnitude worse.

Watch this:

Tell me that stain on the shorts of humanity even knows or cares what Twitter is, much less that he’s going to give half a second’s consideration to lots of “caring” Westerners, whom he despises anyway, Twittering at him to let the girls go.

This is why American influence is on the decline, and why the Pax Americana is over. We live in a society so sheltered, so coddled, so told from birth that their every opinion matters, that we now have a government that thinks the rest of the world cares as much about social media as they do. Secretary of State John Kerry apparently actually thinks that the Russians care what we think and say about them, as his first response when asked what to do about the Russian power-play in Ukraine was “opprobrium.”

Facebook-HashtagsHere’s a news flash, folks: They do not care. Your opinion is less than worthless to these people. The fact that you sit in a comfortable chair or on your couch sending little 140-character harsh messages to your little circle of friends about what they are doing is laughable to them, or it would be if they even took notice that you’re doing it. Guess what? The “rest of the world” that you said was so important when you could use it as a political hammer against actual action in Afghanistan and Iraq doesn’t live in the same sheltered, computer/tablet/phone-centric bubble that you do. Actions matter, not words.

Some have argued that these social media campaigns are to gin up domestic support for long, hard, expensive campaigns. That might have some merit if this administration has shown any sign whatsoever of backing up their rash words with action. So far, they haven’t, not where foreign policy is involved.

Leaving aside the Ukrainian situation, which continues to get more violent, however many #UnitedForUkraine tweets go out (though that’s probably no longer “trending” or whatever the term is), let’s look at Nigeria.

The girls were taken on April 14. According to the best information available online, there is no credible intelligence as to their location, or even that they’re in the same place at the moment. For all the protests in Lagos, the Nigerian military is about as effective as any other in Sub-Saharan Africa, and probably isn’t going to meet with a lot of cooperation, even from the Hausa and Fulani people who otherwise despise Boko Haram, mainly because Nigeria is one of the most corrupt nations in West Africa, and the Army’s been known to gun down anyone wearing traditional Muslim garb in their crackdown on Boko Haram. We can pour money into the country (and we are; Nigeria is considered the US’ primary strategic partner in West Africa), but most of it is probably going to wind up in uninvolved pockets, with no appreciable change in operations at the pointy end. We could put a bounty on Abubakar Shekau’s head…oh, wait, we already did that, to the tune of $7 million, but for having been reported dead several times before, he’s still out there.

“Send in the SEALs or Delta to do a raid!” Apparently you don’t know just how complicated that particular request is. You’ve got to have a set target before you can raid it. They haven’t been able to find Shekau in the last five years, and it’s been almost a year since the State Department got around to declaring Boko Haram a terrorist organization. How much intelligence infrastructure do we really have on the ground? If we don’t have enough to have found the girls in the three weeks since they were taken, what are the odds of finding them before they are sold? HUMINT networks take time to build.

But none of the people sending tweets or posting selfies of themselves holding disapproving signs think about this kind of thing. Neither do they care. The only thing they give a damn about is feeling good about themselves for “doing something” even though they aren’t actually doing anything. That’s bad enough when it’s a bunch of dumbass college kids doing it. When it’s people whose job is foreign policy, its more than embarrassing; it’s actually harmful to our credibility.

Welcome to the age of official narcissism.





  1. Jay

    May 12, 2014 at 9:47 am

    While i agree with the premise of this article, the twitter campaign was not started by anyone named Obama. It was started by some Nigerian Lawyer. Makes more sense if it was started by a Nigerian, but still, what’s the point?


    • leftoftheboom

      May 12, 2014 at 11:27 am

      He started it to let me know I inherited money from my uncle.

      • Jay

        May 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm

        Sign me up…how much do I have to send in advance to cover the legal fees?

        • leftoftheboom

          May 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm

          Just submit me your bank account and username and password. I will add my money to yours and when they deposit the 45 million, we will split it 50/50.

          All we need is 5000 from you. I got my 5000 so as soon as you can apply the bank info, we will be rich.

          I promise.

        • John

          May 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm

          Can I get in on this action?

    • Donna Peterson

      May 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      No. The message will probably not have an affect on those who have kidnapped those girls. And no. It may not have any affect on political policy or response. And no. We don’t know where the girls are, or how to get to them. However, the message has let the story be known, and many of us are very thankful to know and spread the word. No. Not to make us feel better about ourselves as we sit comfortably in our homes! But because we believe in a God who DOES know where they are. And we believe in a God who hears the prayers of the girls, their families, and those who are praying as a result of the messages that are circulating. We live in an evil world that is filled with people whose minds are twisted and dark. But God is not dead, nor does He turn away from the prayers of His people. We circulate the message because we believe in Him and His power to change hopeless situations. You do not have to believe as we do. You do not have to agree. You can think whatever you would like about us. But it will not keep us from caring about these girls and their families, and continuing to pray for their release – in any way it can be provided. It’s true – we live in dark days that seem to get ever darker. But we will not just sit by and do nothing! We will try to push the darkness back in any way that we can. And so we pray and believe in the only One that can make a difference, and bring impossible things to pass.

  2. JoeC

    May 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

    There is a reason it’s called social media instead of political action media. It keeps your friends, followers or whatever they are up to speed on things you think are important like your latest bowel movement and other useless pieces of information. It isn’t there to actually accomplish anything other than making its inventor rich. #peoplearetremendousretardswithnosenseofreality

  3. SamL

    May 12, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I disagree, the purpose of the hashtag campaign was to bring pressure to the mainstream media to carry the story, not to try to convince a terrorist organisation to give the girls back. When that picture of Michelle Obama was released, it was a signal that the message had been heard. Think of it as a 21st century protest march.

    • Ryan

      May 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Of think of it as moronic and immature. It just carries the notion of lazy westerners and further degrades our influence. We need to go back to the world power we used to be, not a social media asset. If you really care about the problem get off the screen and on to the street.

  4. Jim

    May 12, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Spot on. The Libertarian in me opposes the US getting involved in what is essentially a domestic criminal act. But the idea that holding up a sign is going to suddenly convince a gang of terrorists to play nice is an arrogant naivete if there is such a thing.

    • Alex

      May 13, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Once, there was a mechanism to deal with such things here in the US. Sadly, because America chooses to grant the govt a monopoly on force (indeed, we no longer even understand the concept of force as the hashtag nonsense shows), no one can act unless we act as a nation.

      It would be pretty simple to open this up to the marketplace and not only put a price on someone’s head, but issue the letter of marque and reprisal against Boko Haram thereby sanctioning private action against them. Then, folks could use their hashtag to collect funds and sponsor a PMC outfit to get them. Sound implausible, OEF and OIF have proven the power of the PMC. All we need to do is let the market set the course.

  5. leftoftheboom

    May 12, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Certain people have become convinced that obtaining likes on facebook or high retweet (sp) numbers means that they are doing something. It is the whole disjointed idea that the more people know about something, then the more who can participate in doing something about it. But no one participates; they just hit the like button and pat themselves on the back for their proactive stance.

    There is a generation now turning adult, by age at least, who got credit for participating in any endeavor regardless of the outcome. This group feeds on social standing and constant sharing about everything in their lives and they are convinced that it is a real action. Until they get disabused of that notion, not much is going to change. We have children killing themselves because of social media status and internet bullying. It used to be sticks and stones can break my bones and now it changed to I need likes or I die.

    Right now the individuals that helped get the current administration in office, are tuning out everyone because just getting them into office did not magically fix everything. They expected it to all be better because they wanted it to be and they did nothing to supervise the people that they voted for. Now they are not particularly alone in that but they are the ones who have a difficult time pushing for more effort when they got a pat on the head just for showing up.

    The social media campaign is for their benefit because they think it mean results instead of “sound and noise, signifying nothing”. And I say all this with a straight face while I post this remark. The difference is, I don’t expect anything more from my comment that the fact that I made it.

  6. Mike

    May 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    It’s a lack of of a foreign policy that is more irritating than the annoying hashtag crap. How about admitting that this so called religion of peace is anything but. Sworn enemies hate us want us dead or in the stone age with them. PC hand holding, kum by ya crap is not the answer.

  7. James

    May 12, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    You may not like President Obama or his Secretary of State, but if you seriously believe that when it comes to setting US foreign policy, they give a rat’s ass about Twitter campaigns or what’s trending on social media, you’re even more naïve than you think they are.

  8. jerry

    May 13, 2014 at 1:52 am

    #hashtagsareallihave I’m a #hashtagwhore #veteranporn #improof

  9. John

    May 13, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I agree with Mike. Our foreign policy is really weak these days. It wasn’t much better under Bush, but it was a little better. Even then we had to say we were at war with “terror” instead of naming the real enemy.

    The Left is all about caring. It doesn’t matter what horror your action or inaction creates, as long as you feel really really bad for those poor poor pitiful poor people. If you display a lot of empathy, fake or real, you can get away with all sorts of crimes. It’s not your results that matter, just your intentions.

  10. Jaine

    May 14, 2014 at 7:27 am

    It’s called AWARENESS

    • Whitey

      May 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Awareness, huh? To reach people who don’t pay attention to anything unless it’s “trending?” Yeah, because those people are the ones who make all the difference in the world, right?

      The only awareness that will benefit this situation at all is real-time intelligence on the whereabouts and condition of each of those girls, how many Boko Haram douches are guarding them, and what kind of firepower they’re packing. Do you know any “hashtaggers” who can provide that? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

      This twitter campaign for “awareness” is nothing more than a particularly shallow publicity stunt that will have no bearing on the outcome of the hostage situation, nor was it ever intended to. If somebody is so wrapped up in which slutty, ugly Kardashian sister (unspecific, I know) is banging which arrogant douchebag rapper that they can’t be bothered to keep up with current events, then they are exactly USELESS when it comes to affecting those events.

      “Awareness” my ass.

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