[ by Charles Cameron — “if wishes were horses” as the saying goes ]
The BBC made a point of showing a group of the schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity in contrast with some of those who escaped…
Here’s Col Pat Lang‘s assessment of what a US intervention to rescue the girls would involve:
It is clear that the Nigerian government cannot deal with this situation. It is likely that no combination of minor powers can deal with a mass kidnapping followed by slave trafficking across a lot of central Africa. Unless some intelligence analysis of extraordinary quality pinpoints locations and that breakthrough is followed by the availability of high quality troops, transportation, etc. then nothing will be done by European or African means.
No, to do the job properly would require something like the commitment of much of US Eighteenth Airborne Corps (the 82nd Airborne Division, additional air assets, logistical assets, etc.), a lot of SOF and the redirection of a lot of US satellite reconnaissance, UAVs and SIGINT assets. All these intelligence means are exactly the activities so thoroughly reviled by the press.
A major logistical base would have to be built, local contracts let and the whole cycle of corruption that has infested Iraq and Afghanistan would begin anew.
A major campaign would be fought across NE Nigeria. The expense, born solely by the US would be immense.
If R2P is the Responsibility to Protect, how to we square it with I2P, the Inability to Protect? — and do I need to write a doctrinal paper with that title?