Senator Obama burnishes his VP nomination credentials.

...well, he's certainly not going to get nominated for *President* if he keeps saying things like this.

By Moe Lane Posted in Comments (67) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Senator Barack Obama will be making a speech today in which he will threaten a sovereign nation with preemptive, unilateral invasion if it does not act to the satisfaction of the executive branch of the government of the United States. Amazing how quickly perspective changes when it's you doing it, huh?

Obama vows to hunt down terrorists
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would possibly send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists, an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive.

The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he must do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters under an Obama presidency, or Pakistan will risk a U.S. troop invasion and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

"Let me make this clear," Obama said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

The speech isn't up yet, but the Obama campaign unaccountably shopped excerpts around for it, including to the AP (who promptly turned it into a subtle pro-Hillary piece). "Why 'unaccountably'?", I hear some cry? Well, let us peruse this map:

Via http://www.placesonline.org/sitelists/meca/meca.asp
http://www.placesonline.org/sitelists/meca/meca.asp

Fellow-Republicans and Scoop Jackson Democrats may excuse themselves at this point: I'm confident that all y'all grok. The rest of you, please read on. There may be a quiz later.

OK, so let's walk through this, slowly. Senator Obama has articulated a strategy for Pakistan. One that Pakistan is not going to like, as it violates their sovereignty, insults their existing institutions, and generally pushes them around. Fine. The Senator's running for President of the United States of America, not President of Pakistan: we expect him to put our interests first, no problem.

Here's where the complications arise. Look at the countries that border Afghanistan. We have:

Turkmenistan. Repressive dictatorship, according to both Freedom House and Human Rights Watch. The slight thaw in the country is just that: slight. Not nearly enough to justify putting US troops at their logistical mercy.

Uzbekistan. Even more repressive dictatorship, according to FH and HRW. We had an airbase there, but we had to leave after we asked one too many questions about the Andijan Massacre. You may remember that one, Senator Obama: it was quite the cause celebre among the progressives, at least until it could no longer be used as a weapon against the Bush administration. Not that this would stop a hypothetical Obama administration from going back there, and making a deal.

Tajikistan. Repressive. FH gives it a marginally better grade than HRW.; neither likes its treatments of religious minorities and/or women. There's also the minor detail that making a deal with Tajikistan would be pointless anyway: it's a landlocked nation, too.

The People's Republic of China. Unique. They'd be happy to accommodate us, of course. Also of course, the price would be to shaddap about Kyoto, shaddap about their factory system, shaddap about Tibet and shaddap about their ongoing "reconciliation" with Formosa. No, we'd have to stop calling it "Taiwan", actually.

Pakistan. Gee, these guys suddenly aren't looking all that bad, huh? We'll get back to them in a minute.

Iran. The people are nice; the regime they're stuck under isn't. In fact, said regime is everything that the more frothy members of the Left like to accuse the Bush administration of being: fundamentalist, apocalypse-obsessed, homophobic*, misogynistic lunatics who start to dribble when the word 'Jew' comes up. Also bear in mind that the Senator's uncritical willingness to meet with the lunatic-in-Chief who either heads or fronts for that regime is what got him into this mess in the first place.

So. Now that we've gone over the geography, let's sum up. We have significant troop strength in Afghanistan. Senator Obama thinks that we should have even more troops there. He wants them, in fact, so that he can invade Pakistan. Pakistan is the country that we are currently depending on for logistical support, because all the other choices are worse. The end result? If Pakistan withdraws that support, we're left with the following options:

1). Make a deal with another country bordering Afghanistan, all of which are run by distasteful regimes who will want very distasteful concessions;
2). Bug out of Afghanistan itself;
3). Write off the troops that are in Afghanistan;
or
4). Invade Pakistan.

Aren't those just fun options to have? Just the sort of choices you want to see pop up in the new decade. You know, Senator Obama, I care very little for your colleague and rival Senator Hillary Clinton - but she pegged you with that "naive" thing, but good.

I'm pretty certain that her cartography skills surpass yours, too.

Moe Lane

*Although, oddly, it's apparently easier to be transgendered in Iran than it is to be homosexual. Not "easy"; just easier.

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Senator Obama burnishes his VP nomination credentials. 67 Comments (0 topical, 67 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

There is the little matter of Pakistan having nuclear weapons and a shortage of constraints on using them.

Occupation? Pakistan's population is six times the population of Iraq.

Granted, you could invade Pakistan through India, although facilitating the gradual de-escalation of tensions between nuclear-armed India and nuclear-armed Pakistan has been one of Bush's most significant diplomatic achievements.

We may, in fact, need to invade Pakistan at some point, but we certainly would not do so lightly.

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

If an Islamist government ever topples Musharraf, of course, Uzbekistan won't look all that repressive. Just sayin'. Of course, to even mention an invasion of Pakistan at this juncture is insane and probably a desperate attempt by Obama to distract from his willingness to dine with tyrants from North Korea to Damascus.

Everyone knows that George Bush didn't use enough diplomacy to keep us out of Iraq. Sen. Obama is mearly showing us the correct way to use diplomacy to persuade our allies to do our bidding.

Just threaten them with military invasion. Works every time. It always enhances our relationships with tentative friends and shows them the correct way to behave towards us.

Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

...don't go around "writing checks" that they can't cash. This sounds very reckless. Presidents naturally allude to harsh action sometimes, to make a point, but they never promise to act unless they can deliver the goods. An American President's threats, made very rarely, should make any leader's hair stand on end.

"Scott Thomas" - The New Republic's Winter Soldier

If we are serious about the GWOT, we need to go where the bugs are.

Why don't you put that to the CIA and Pentagon. I doubt anyone there has thought of this. I am sure the operatives on the ground in Pakistan would be grateful for your insight.

The point of this blog - and I thought it was pretty clear - is that it would be insane to turn the _government_ of Pakistan, which is currently helping us root out the terrorists, over to the other side.

One of the key points about regime change is that it should ideally be focussed on regimes that are obstructing your policies, not the ones helping you.

Quentin Langley
Editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net

International Editor of

it is tragically possible no one at Langley or within the Ring has drawn up such a contingency plan. Probably? Yes. Certainly? No. Am I serious? Yes.

for the invasion, every possible contingency, detailed troop numbers through the indicated end date, future plans of how to win the peace, etc. before he actually invaded right?

he's got to show an equal skill at military planning and infalible forsight.

Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

I am not claiming some insight as to how extensive it is. But the CIA is there and so is the SAS. There is also military aid to Pakistan to help Musharraf root out the extremists within the military and, especially, military intelligence.

If you are suggesting there is no backup plan for the possibility that this fails, you may be right. I hope you are wrong, but you may be right.

Let's just really hope, though, that this does not go wrong. Comparisons with Iraq are meaningless as the terrain is different. It is much more like Afghanistan. Just two minor differences:

Afghanistan: 652,000 sq km; 32 million people.
Pakistan: 804,000 sq km; 157 million people.

I fear the resources (by which I include the will) to subdue Pakistan by conventional means do not exist.

Quentin Langley
Editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net

International Editor of

I'll ease your mind on one part of the subject. The pentagon continually plans for operations in all countries and theaters. Additionally, (and more comforting to me) the operators continually plan for any contingency.

Civilian translation: The guys on the pointy-end of the stick, who live and breath military operations, evaluate possible conflicts daily, or hourly, based on contingencies presented by the tactical situations, or by comments made by potential commanders and policy makers. Why? Because they will have to execute these operations, which may result in their deaths if poorly planned. Ergo, the operators in all services are undoubtedly now and have probably been planning, arguing, and fighting over the best way to prosecute this strategy.

This is not an endorsement of the idea of conflict in Pakistan (I'd hate to be war-gamming that one), only a salve to those who believe no one is planning for the possibility.

Before the first Gulf War we built maps and planned every part of the Air campaign (tanker tracks, AWAC's orbits, EW tracks, CAS targets, AI targets, strike routing, CAP orbits, the list is endless) 8 months before hostilities began.

This was not done because we were warmongers, but because, when the time came, we wanted to have our input heard by the brass before some crappy plan was jammed down our throat. A simple case of self interest.

The guys like Obama spout the rhetoric, but the Lt's, Capts, and Maj's plan the assault. Ask one of them, 10 bucks says they have already figured out how to do it.

P.S. Line officers don't pull punches. Nuke, C3, EW, SAM, and AAA sites would be hit first, and "carpet bombing", "infrastructure destruction", "civilian casualties", and "nuke-em" are part of war, not criminal acts. Such is life at the pointy-end of the spear where you or your enemy dies. No contest here, he's a dead man.

"The only way to negotiate with your enemy, is with your knee on his chest and your knife at his throat." - Anon.

I agree the SAS and CIA are in the eastern provinces now. We also can speculate agents are in and around Islamabad and known nuclear sites in the event of a coup, ready to disable as many nukes as possible.

Perhaps the only reason the ISS hasn't toppled Musharraf and installed Taliban the Sequel is precisely because of the likelihood of immediate Western reaction. Obviously Obama, to use Moe Lane's phrase, wanted to burnish his Veep credentials, but the upside might be his statement confirmed the Islamists' worst fears. Perhaps the price of a coup isn't worth it to the fanatics--just yet.

That isn't really a policy as much as a threat. Yet it probably is more effective than an attempt to mediate the Kashmir dispute or to spur economic development.

It seems to me that an awful lot is being read into one quote. If you read the rest of the article the position being taken by Obama is clearly one of cooperation with Pakistan. not regime change Further, the quote should not be read as advocating invading or declaring war on Pakistan if they do not go after high profile targets. Considering that the discussion is about high profile targets, a surgical strike is the obvious action that is being alluded to. The current administration has been operated in the same way and I would expect far worse invective the posters here had Obama stated that he would respect Pakistan's sovereignty regardless of the opportunity to take out terrorist leaders.
Musharraf is in a no-win situation with regard to his critics. If acts directly he is blamed for acting as the tool of the U.S. If he doesn't act he is blamed for not standing up to the U.S.
Finally, the whole concept that this Obama's statement is some sort of diplomatic blunder is silly. Considering the political situation in Pakistan after the Red Mosque a statement by a foreign primary candidate that he would put his nation's interests before Pakistan's isn't even a blip on the radar.

If you read the rest of the article the position being taken by Obama is clearly one of cooperation with Pakistan. not regime change

I'm looking for where the words "regime change" appear in any post but yours. Wanna help a fella out?

Further, the quote should not be read as advocating invading or declaring war on Pakistan if they do not go after high profile targets.

No, it seems to be about the carte blanche use of force at his discretion on an ally's soil. Pay attention.

Considering that the discussion is about high profile targets, a surgical strike is the obvious action that is being alluded to.

Given that, in Joe Biden's words, Mr. Obama is quite articulate, one wonders why he neglected to spell that out, in contrast to the bumbling Bush's foreign policy.

The current administration has been operated in the same way and I would expect far worse invective the posters here had Obama stated that he would respect Pakistan's sovereignty regardless of the opportunity to take out terrorist leaders.

Perhaps you're missing the collective problem here. Just a thought.

Musharraf is in a no-win situation with regard to his critics. If acts directly he is blamed for acting as the tool of the U.S. If he doesn't act he is blamed for not standing up to the U.S.

With respect, I think you got confused writing this. You've got a situation where he opposes us and is our tool, and where he goes with us and is our tool. Don't you mean something different with the former?

Finally, the whole concept that this Obama's statement is some sort of diplomatic blunder is silly.

You're right. Hillary will steamroll him long before he has a chance for this to matter.

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We are all heroes, you and Boo and I. Hamsters and rangers everywhere, rejoice!

Regime change. See qlangley above.

Carte blanche. Where did you read that in the quote? There is a lot of extrapolation to get to carte blanche. The first step on the road is a surgical strike. If he said he would take action against an openly hostile populace then an invasion would be appropriate. He said high-profile targets as in Al-Quaeda leaders and a surgical strike would be the most logical approach for that goal. Also he said he would act if Pakistan was inactive, not that he would act against Pakistan. One implies invasion the other does not.

Bush's bumbling foreign policy. Your words but I won't disagree.

Collective problem. Not a Repub so probably so.

Musharraf. I'm not confused here, I said no-win. Anyone who is not a fundamentalist (Musharraf) is viewed as a tool of the west.

Hillary's steamroller. Unfortunately your probably right here.

I had a more detailed, point by point comment, but I realized it's a waste of time. If he meant "surgical strikes," he wouldn't have referred to troops on the ground. Actually, if he hadn't painted himself in a corner by offering to hug a nutty anti-Semite, we wouldn't be discussing this right now, so maybe giving the junior -- and I do mean junior -- Senator from Illinois props for understanding how the world works is a bit naive of us all right now.

Anyway.

As far as Musharraf's several problems go, I don't think he faces being called a tool of the West if he tells the stupid infidel to go get Ron Pauled. I think he faces watching foreign aid go down the drain, which is almost as bad.

Bottom line: The guy is, for all his poise, pretty much still a kid in a lot of ways, at least as politicians go. He has twice shot off his mouth in ways that show he's not really ready for the big stage. That's ok. God knows I'm not, and I have many children of my own, and have been shaving for nineteen years now (didn't you start at the beginning of junior high too)? He seems like he has promise, and if he's careful, he won't be the next Julian Bond.

What he won't be, however, is President. Which is probably just as well, because I think Hillary! would nuke any country she was convinced was a greater threat than her domestic opposition, and President Obama would just have a long sitdown session with them.

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We are all heroes, you and Boo and I. Hamsters and rangers everywhere, rejoice!

Specifically, I've been reviewing your posts here so far and we need you to be more upfront about your political leanings. We let liberals post here, but they have to, you know, admit it. You've been pushing the envelope a bit, here, and it's got to stop.

Please do not offend me by pretending that you don't know what I'm talking about.

Moe

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

border Pakistan too?

Envisioning when all that is Left is the Right.

First, let us agree that Obama showed a lot of naive ignorance in making his statement. You don't go out and make such a brash statement as a candidate, and you don't make the statement as a president unless its well thought out with the pentagon types.

But I don't fully disagree with Obama either (though his comments are political calculation and insincere). There are many valid arguments against intervention in Pakistan. The nuclear issue, the logistics, bordering countries, etc. In fact, I almost entirely agree that intervention in Pakistan is a bad idea. So take what I'm going to say in context.

On 9/11 our country was savagely attacked in an unprovoked massasacre of thousands of innocents. It happened on our soil to ice the cake. The president did say at that time that no country harboring or supporting terrorists would escape our wrath (or words to that effect). The invasion into Afghanistan was incredibly gutsy, given the world history of invasions of Afghanistan from the Soviets back to before Christ (in whatever forms Afghanistan was in).

There was a a great window of opportunity. I'll never forget Arafat shaking and looking outright terrifed as he swore he had nothing to do with the attack on 9/11, and pledged support. Momar from Libya roled over like a cheap cigar, renouncing terrorism and allowing full inspections. Pakistan allowed us to use their airspace. The French said, "today we are all Americans". The world took our president at his word.

Today the world is backing off. We didn't act like the same country that got hit in WW2. We didn't go the "total war" path. Don't get me wrong, Afghanistan and Iraq were good moves, as were (are) the many covert operations that we don't know about (see Somalia recently). So maybe we were a bit "late" in following OBL into Pakistan.

But here I might differ with you a bit. No price is too high, no alliance too valuable, no foe too great than to go to war with any nation that attacks thousands of civilians on our soil. Less men (and they were military at that, if it makes a difference) at Pearl Harbor led to our nation decalring war against powerful foes and led to the loss of countless lives and the dropping of two atomic weapons.

Obama is saying what he's saying for the sake of naked opportunism in the heat of an election fight. But he has a point. If we find out that OBL is certainly hiding in Pakistan, and if we are truely engaged on a real Global War on Terror, then we have an obligation to go wherever, whenever, however to fight the enemy.

THe war on terror in large part has fragmented into stopping mothers carrying breast milk onto domestic air flights. Let's not shy away from difficult actions. The invasion of Afghanistan was almost unthinkable, and so was the invasion of Normandy and so was the decision to try to ambush six Japanese carriers (with superior aircraft and numbers) with only three American ones split into two small task forces at Midway.

The GWOT should be a fight to the death. Other countries should be with us or against us. When we fight like that we win. When we make Pakistan or Iran or Syria out of bounds (as we made Laos and Cambodia out of bounds for the most part) then we are fighting with an arm behind our backs.

Again, I understand the pitfalls. I understand tough talk from an airmchair quarterback sounds foolish (it does to me and I'm the one typing it). But I think when give the message that we won't pursue the master of the attack on out country to anyplace we send a bad message.

I'm prepared to get raked over the goals for my short sightedness.

"Greater is an army of sheep led by a lion, than an army of lions led by a sheep" - Defoe

I agree 100% with everything you said.

While Obama's simplistic statements smacked of grandstanding and naievete, what I've found far more troubling is the US Govt.'s complacency Musharraf has ceded to Al Qaeda and their supporters.

Invading Pakistan- really specifically Waziristan- is very difficult to contemplate and should not be considered lightly. But to the extent Al Qaeda is apparently using it as a base of operations, it does need to be seriously considered.

You nail it when you say- "When we make Pakistan or Iran or Syria out of bounds (as we made Laos and Cambodia out of bounds for the most part) then we are fighting with an arm behind our backs."

No one has any business raking you over the coals for your post.

I can't believe we aren't in there doing something under the radar. Doesn't it make sense that we'd have some crack teams out there doing some hunting in remote parts of Pakistan?

but based on the regular rate at which Bin Laden/Zawahiri/Gadhan propaganda videos keep getting churned out, whatever hunting we are doing there does not appear to be successful.

Whatever we are doing there right now, we need to be willing to contemplate doing more if that is what it will take to win.

ahh,

now that is probably the way to go, as opposed to the Senator who just announced his intentions to the whole world. I don't know if he is just terribly naive or terribly machiavellian. I believe that Bush is doing most of the things that Obama wants to do, however he isn't on television saying it because these operations should be kept on the DL. Here is Obama deriding Bush and telegraphing his moves as President.

My assertion is that, in the days and weeks after 9/11, we should have gone all out. No ally or foe should harbor an OBL in their borders. Let SF run the show (Iraq would probably be better of if SF was running that conflict, given it is an insurgency war and not an armored one). But once we know OBL is in a certain area of a country, heck yeah, let the spec ops crew call in a full division if the locals (Pakistan army) impedes the search.

OBL is said to be in northern Pakistan. The tribal people (we are told) are so fierce and the land so bad that the Pakistanis don't want us there. Give the Pakistanis a couple of months to produce OBL, if they don't, we do it.

However, remember that while I agree with the thrust of Obama's statement, I think that a presidential candidate threatening an ally openly is just plain ignorant.

Last night Krauthammer said (on Brit Hume's show) that Obama had it right, it was just foolish of him to say it out loud. Hard for me to argue with my man Charles!

"Greater is an army of sheep led by a lion, than an army of lions led by a sheep" - Defoe

Remember, they have had restless Muslems there for about 60 years. Compared to the US/Pak relations for about a decade before 9/11 they are now our bosom buddies.

If we take out after countries that "harbor" terrorists (without the "intentionally"or "officially" modifier) we may wind up in Britain or France or even self-immolating.

But

So maybe we were a bit "late" in following OBL into Pakistan.

You seem to have the idea we are not there. I am sure that we are.

If we find out that OBL is certainly hiding in Pakistan, and if we are truely engaged on a real Global War on Terror, then we have an obligation to go wherever, whenever, however to fight the enemy.

It is likely that he is there. People are looking for him there. But it is a big place, and looking ain't the same as finding.

If we find out specifically where he is, then I am sure troops will go in and get him, wherever that is. If it is in Pakistan they will have the full co-operation of the government, though not of everyone who works for it.

Quentin Langley
Editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net

International Editor of

Pakistan is one well-aimed bullet away from a nuclear armed islamic dictatorship. One random Tuesday we are going to wake up with no plan to deal with this, and not enough army left to implement improvisations.

As directed here, make your political leanings clearer in the future. Only warning.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

India.

"Greater is an army of sheep led by a lion, than an army of lions led by a sheep" - Defoe

... to deal with such a change in Pakistan exactly how? At which meeting of the NSC did you recieve this wisdom?

John
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Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course

the same way he knows it will happen on a Tuesday. He plucked it out of thin air.

Nonetheless, there is certainly a risk that this could happen. And while I hope there is a plan, all the planning in the world will not make that an easy problem to solve. Err, or rather a cost free problem to solve. The solution might well be fairly simple to implement. It could be done with a single button. But if we have to take that route the whole world will be very different the day after.

Quentin Langley
Editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net

International Editor of

It's called fight to win the GWOT. It's the American leftists that don't want to deal with it.

The only difference being is that Obama seems to personally be the one to order the trigger being pulled.

If we take military action against Pakistan, especially with a President with the resolve of the typical Democrat, we end up deposing Musharraf and have a failed Islamic state creep into the power vacuum the moment said invertebrate thinks too many of our boys are being killed by the angry mobs over there. In other words, we're left with an Iranian-style state, complete with pre-assembled nuclear arsenal. That's one playset I'd rather not collect all the pieces of, thank you very much.

So Obama's military strategy consists of abandoning one country, subjecting 25 million people to enslavement under a Islamist regime, so he can destabilize another country and subject another 160 million people to Islamic rule. I thought we were fighting the "War ON Terror", not the "War FOR Terror".

"I don't understand why the same newspaper commentators who bemoan the terrible education given to poor people are always so eager to have those poor people get out and vote." - P.J. O'Rourke

Make my leanings clear? Is there a special card I need to order? I support Ron Paul. Is that clear enough?

" in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abe Lincoln

I wasn't going to toss him for being a Ron Paul supporter. Pretending to be a Ron Paul supporter, sure. Happy to do that.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

they take the time to sign up, then pi%$ it away so quickly.

" in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abe Lincoln

Sparky, I'm a moderator, which means that I can look up your account information. The results of that Duke case really sucked for you, didn't they? All that wiki editing, right down the drain...

Ron Paul. (Shaking head) What will these crazy kids think of, next...

(Walks off, chuckling)

Moe

PS: That translates to "Blam," by the way.

[That also means that no, I didn't believe him, either.]

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

I'm nowhere near important enough to merit a Wikipedia reference otherwise, and am unlikely to be any time soon. ;)

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

That is indeed funny reading. Thanks for keeping your eyes on the RS entry out there. I'm sure some interesting stuff shows up in there.


...when they see me they'll say, "There goes Loren Wallace,
the greatest thing to ever climb into a race car."

Democrats attempting to seem tough and by god they would seem that way if they didn't keep saying "we need to redeploy the troops from Iraq" why you could almost surmise that anywhere in the world that our troops are not under President Bush might be a great place to start a war.

The AP created the notion that he said he would invade Pakistan. He never said that, so all this bluster is based on a false premise. If George Bush said what Obama said today, you would embrace it in a second as talking tough on terrorism...

This is what he actually said about Pakistan:
As President, I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.

I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.

And Pakistan needs more than F-16s to combat extremism. As the Pakistani government increases investment in secular education to counter radical madrasas, my Administration will increase America’s commitment. We must help Pakistan invest in the provinces along the Afghan border, so that the extremists’ program of hate is met with one of hope. And we must not turn a blind eye to elections that are neither free nor fair – our goal is not simply an ally in Pakistan, it is a democratic ally.

Like, say, to Senator Obama's speech, now that it's up. And, yeah, the AP quoted him perfectly accurately. Just not worshipfully.

Now, if you'll excuse me, the new Turtledove just arrived in the mail.

Moe

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

Where is the quote in the speech? There isn't one. Just interpretation of what he meant as reported by the AP. Not really the point though. If Dubya said this, you'd call him tough. Not trying to convert, just get the facts straight.

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

The only interpretation I make of that is that he would use military force to attack in Pakistani territory if he didn't think Musharraf didn't act quick enough.

He's threatening to invade an allied country.

Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

Direct hit lead. Words do have meanings, despite the fact that Clinton needed the definition of what "is" means.

"The only way to negotiate with your enemy, is with your knee on his chest and your knife at his throat." - Anon.

Didn't Bush lob a few missiles (I don't think it was air dropped bombs) over the Pakistan border a year or so ago on some actionable intelligence? We missed, but it sorta proves the point that you can ACT without invading...

I also presume we had people on the ground gathering that intel but they were probably covert. Why not a small special forces team at some point to backup an air strike? Heck, we might even be able to get unofficial permission to do so depending on the target.

I believe "only interpretation" is missing a lot of possibilities.

But I don't try to argue with the faithful.

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We are all heroes, you and Boo and I. Hamsters and rangers everywhere, rejoice!

Obama's suggestion is that he would launch such attacks even if Musharraf said NO (or especially if he said no given the "won't act" statement). Again it's a military attack on allied soil. He'd better be REAL sure the return is worth an attack on Pakistan done over the leader's objections.

Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

Obama's comments were along the line that US military aid to Pakistan should be conditional on Pakistan providing assistance in capturing terrorists. Further, Obama said he would act if Pakistan wouldn't. There is a huge gap between being unwilling to devote resources to act and denying the US the right to act, especially considering that the modus operandi has been a tacit willingness to let the US operate within Pakistan.
Considering that the US targets also happen to be the same people who most want Musharraf out of power the return is not much to worry about.
Thomas: I couldn't find "boots on the ground" in the text of the speech that was linked. Where are you getting that from?

The AP article characterized what he was saying as meaning a "troop invasion". You have used "surgical strike" several times and said it's "obvious" that's what he was talking about. Can you point to the place where he makes this as obvious as you claim it is?

I read his full statement on Pakistan and his description of the state of affairs and it was clear to me that he was talking about an unwillingness to act instead of opposition to US action. It may also be my lack of military experience but high-profile targets implies a small number of individuals where it is more important to strike as fast as possible rather than sending in a large force. The characterization made by the AP is what it is, a characterization. It gets some headlines and some more ad revenue and sacrifices accuracy. Look through the speech and you will not find "troop invasion" anywhere.
Again, I think that it really comes down to a matter of reading the text of the speech through the eyes of its intended audience. If you read it with the goal of finding things to take issue with, as you should if you are a conservative or one of his political opponents, you will find things to take issue with.
PS I'm aware of the criticism of this speech by Dodd and Biden. They're out of the running for Pres and trying to apply for the role of a centrist VP while sucking up to Hillary.

Like you say, it could mean different things to different people. We obviously have our personal biases, but the AP certainly isn't part of the VRWC conspiracy.

Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.
So is he going to set some firm benchmarks of how many camps they need to close in what timeframe, how many terrorists they need to capture by when, etc.? These kinds of nebulous statements sound great but they are usually completely worthless in such a dynamic situation as this.

If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.
What does that mean? Is he going to set a timetable under which Musharraf needs to act? Who defines "actionable" and the various other parameters? Perhaps you can tell us how this differs from Obama saying he can choose to act unilaterally. To me it's ludicrous to claim that's not what he's saying, since "actionable" intelligence may involve only a matter of minutes during which that window is open and you need to go right away and he won't have time for consultation and other luxuries.

"But over time, it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You are either with us or you are against us in the fight against terror."
Was Bush wrong to say this?

As far as parsing goes how about the words "won't act". The straight forward way to parse this would be as "will not take action". This is considerably different from"stating that "Pakistan will not permit the US to take action and would consider such action to be a violation of sovereignty and declaration of war and even considering such an action destabilizes the relations between our countries."

I don't really follow your points on the nebulousness of his statements. Isn't he just saying Pakistan can't be inactive? He's speaking in the context of a primary campaign not holding a direct dialogue with Musharraf.
As far as being willing to act if a window of only a few minutes was available, I would agree that Obama is saying that if the opportunity arose he would act unilaterally. Would you fault him for doing so if it meant taking out Al-Quaeda leadership?

The spectacle of President Obama sending our troops to play hide and go seek versus a hostile populace in unfamiliar territory without logistical support...sounds like Redcoats vs. Patriots c. 1775 - except this time we'd be the Redcoats and Al Qaida's leader's could tell their forces "don't fire 'till you see the eyes of the whites".

But of course an Obama-led debacle - and our subsequent quick exit from further combat - would still be Bush's fault.

Is this guy really a serious nominee for President?

And Rightly So!

You heard his new campaign slogan right? "Vote for Obama...He's twice the man that Hillary is."

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

which could also destabilize an entire region.

lesterblog.blogspot.com

Funny, when I saw that map, my thought was that anyone should notice that it's Iran literally at the center of things, not Pakistan.

Hooray!

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

 
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