This move is an absolute masterpiece of style over substance. The girls were not from Chad, but from Nigeria. Does the U.S. government have any reason to believe that they are now in Chad? No, this isn’t based on any new intelligence. These 80 troops will fly reconnaissance missions to look for the girls. But what does a kidnapped schoolgirl who has been forcibly converted to Islam and married to a jihadist look like from the air? They know the girls have been dispersed, which only emphasizes that this initiative is about as useful as Michelle Obama’s hashtag campaign.
“80 U.S. troops in Chad will aid search for abducted Nigerian girls,” by Faith Karimi and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, May 22, 2014:
(CNN) — The United States deployed 80 members of its armed forces to Chad to help in the search for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, the White House said Wednesday.
“These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area,” it said in a letter.
“The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.”
President Barack Obama informed the House speaker and the president of the Senate of the move.
The forces will be involved in maintaining aircraft and analyzing data, but because they are armed, the President is required by law to inform the speaker of the House, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
“These are not combat infantry troops that we put into Chad,” Kirby told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” on Wednesday. “These are folks that are there to support the reconnaissance mission.”
Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls last month from a school in northern Nigeria. Officials have speculated that the militants may have transported them to neighboring Chad or Cameroon, but it’s not clear where the girls are or whether they’ve left Nigeria.
So why are troops deploying to Chad?
“Just geographically, Chad’s a great location to do this from,” Kirby said, adding that the United States has a good relationship with its government.
Reconnaissance flights will be searching an area roughly the size of West Virginia, he said, that includes parts of Nigeria and other countries.
The deployment is not based on any new intelligence leads, a senior administration official said.
“The truth is, we don’t know exactly where they are,” Kirby said. “We still believe that they’ve broken up into small groups and dispersed.”…