Add former South Florida Congressman Allen West to the parade of conservatives disapproving of the emphasis by the Obama administration and others on the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian girls by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram. Yesterday, nearly a month after they were kidnapped, some of those girls re-emerged in a 27-minute propaganda video shot by the group.
After dithering for weeks, Nigeria has now begun to accept international help, with the U.S., Great Britain and France sending specialist teams to Nigeria to share their expertise, while China has volunteered to share "any useful information acquired by its satellites and intelligence services."
But over the past week, a lot of conservatives like Rush Limbaugh have been up in arms over what they call "hashtag activism," specifically calling out First Lady Michelle Obama's picture on Twitter holding a sign with the hashtag "#BringBackOurGirls." The chief complaint is that it's lazy, half-hearted activism that makes people feel good about doing something without actually achieving anything.
In Tuesday's Wall Street Journal,
Eliot Cohen, who worked in the State Department under George W. Bush, lambastes what he calls a "Selfie-Taking, Hashtagging Teenage Administration," complaining that "often, members of the Obama administration speak and, worse, think and act, like a bunch of teenagers."
Now former Congressman West is getting into the act, writing on his blog
that this looks to him like a case of Wag the Dog
, the 1998 film that came out right around the same time as the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.
We need to start at the beginning: why did we support Islamist forces in Libya in the first place? If it was a humanitarian crisis, then why not Syria? Or perhaps the intention all along was to support the Islamist forces in Syria as well?
If President Obama gave an order to Secretary of Defense Panetta and Chairman of Joint Chiefs General Dempsey to make sure those under attack got all the resources necessary — then why didn’t they get them? Or did Obama not give that order before he went to bed? And if it was given, who countermanded the order and told American forces to stand down?
Where are the weapons provided to the Libyan Islamists? Were we trying to collect and redistribute those weapons to the Syrian Islamists? And just as a last inquiry, why haven’t we heard from the 30 or so survivors of the terrorist attack? And who made them sign non-disclosure agreements precluding them from speaking about the incident?
So, those are just a few of my questions that I would be asking if I were on that Select Committee – for starters.
West also takes aim at the growing problems with the Veterans Administration, something that Congressman David Jolly also alluded to in speaking to CL over the weekend. Issues with the V.A. include a scandal in Phoenix, in which VA officials are alleged to have falsified waiting lists as more than three dozen veterans died waiting for care. That's led some Republicans to call for the resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki.
The former GOP Congressman concludes that "what better time than right now, to create the straw man of Boko Haram, another distraction for which no real action will take place. Anyone remember Joseph Kony?" He adds, "Gotta give it to the Democrats. They know how to make life imitate art. Sadly, as a nation we’re falling for another episode of liberal progressive 'Wag the Dog.'”
And by the way… on Sunday night Ann Coullter
got into the act, sending out a photo of herself with a white sign with the hashtag "BringBackOurCountry," which was immediately R.T.'d by hundreds of her fans, before it backfired and people began replacing the text on Coulter’s sign with phrases to describe their views of her public post (such as "I'm a miserable person who peddles hate to make money off dumb Republicans.").