Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

The lead is Obama 'would send troops into Pakistan'. Here's the quote that would substantiate the claim:

"It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qa'eda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will." ...Mr Obama said that as commander in chief he would remove troops from Iraq and put them "on the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

So, there's a caveat of saying "if we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets," before it's OK to launch a unilateral pre-emptive strike/invasion-- it's the smarter-stick of Obama rather than the dumb-club of Bush. But this is basically a continuation of the Bush-Cheney doctrine of endorsing unilateral pre-emptive military attacks abroad, lighter perhaps, but certainly not the mentality that would pull us out of the mideast quagmire.

Here's Marc Ambinder's beltway take:

As President, Barack Obama would order attacks on terrorist camps in Pakistan even if its president, Gen. Pervais Musharraf, refused to give permission and would link American aid on Pakistan's progress in rooting out its terrorist havens.

That stance, one part of the multifacted counterrorrism strategy Obama unveils this morning, is tougher than the more considered approach of the Bush Administration, which has generally avoided antagonizing its ally in public.

...In endorsing pre-emptive, non-authorized terror raids in Pakistan, Obama is answering a threshold question about his willingness to risk international criticism in order to defend U.S. security interests.

I would agree that it it a threshold question: for those inside the beltway, like war proponants Pollock and O'Hanlon, who still think we can win in Iraq, it's a matter of showing you are not a weak Democrat; but for progressive Democrats that want a more peaceful leadership in the world shown by our next President, it fails the threshold of getting us out of picking fights in the mid-east, and discarding the Bush doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive attacks. If a unilateral pre-emptive strategy of attacking a 'target' is the doctrine, then why isn't Saudi Arabia, where Al Qaeda began and home to most of the 9/11 terrorists, also a potential target? The unilateral pre-emptive doctrine is profoundly un-american and anti-diplomatic in both its actions and ramifications.

The one thing this has done for Obama, is put him in the center, not Clinton, of the dialogue over what's going to happen next in the middle-east, and everyone is going to be reacting to his positions. For Richardson, who also didn't vote for the war, it's an opening to become the one candidate who did not vote for sending troops into Iraq and will pull completely out. For Edwards, it's an opportunity to further differentiate himself to the left of Obama. If this doesn't give the opening that Bill Richardson and John Edwards were looking for to criticize Obama directly, I don't know what does. Heck, even Clinton has the opportunity to move to the left of Obama over the issue of a the US launching a unilateral pre-emptive attack inside Pakistan. Because if Pakistan is game, why isn't Saudi Arabia as well?

Update [2007-8-1 13:8:22 by Jerome Armstrong]: I clarifiled the above mentioned "Bush doctrine" as that of a "unilateral pre-emptive attack" within another country, which Obama is clearly endorsing.

Update [2007-8-1 13:21:42 by Jerome Armstrong]: Clinton, on July 26th, Hillary against direct action, stated a non-unilateral position on Pakistan which differs from Obama's endorsement of unilateral pre-emptive attacks inside Pakistan:

WASHINGTON, July 26: US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said if America sends its troops to the tribal region, they should go with Pakistani troops and not on their own.

At a fund-raising dinner arranged for her by the National Association of Pakistani-Americans, she rejected the suggestion by some US officials and lawmakers that the United States should conduct unilateral military operations in the tribal region to destroy alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban safe havens.

Such a move, she said, would not produce the desired results and would create new problems. Only a combined effort by the Pakistani and US troops could destroy militant hideouts in the area, she added.

Update [2007-8-1 13:42:15 by Jerome Armstrong]:Obama's speech is online now, and contrary to the Obama fans that don't want to believe the MSM's quotes, his position is very clear:

The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.... If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.
Basically, a continuation of the Bush doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive attacks in the mid-east, with Obama adding Pakistan to the list.

Tags: 2008 Democratic primary (all tags)



From the speech...

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.

Beyond Pakistan, there is a core of terrorists -- probably in the tens of thousands -- who have made their choice to attack America. So the second step in my strategy will be to build our capacity and our partnerships to track down, capture or kill terrorists around the world, and to deny them the world's most dangerous weapons.

I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to America. This requires a broader set of capabilities, as outlined in the Army and Marine Corps's new counter-insurgency manual. I will ensure that our military becomes more stealth, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. We need to recruit, train, and equip our armed forces to better target terrorists, and to help foreign militaries to do the same. This must include a program to bolster our ability to speak different languages, understand different cultures, and coordinate complex missions with our civilian agencies.

by Obama08 2007-08-01 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: From the speech...

If he doesnn't think our aid to Musharif isn't already conditionally then he truly is naieve and irresponsible.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: From the speech...

Apparently not conditional enough or else they wouldn't be allowing terrorist camps to grow there.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: From the speech...

Al Qeada is calling on Muslims, ironically just in the last day, to overthrow Mussharaff.  It really isn't so simple as him not doing enough.

by bookgrl 2007-08-01 07:55AM | 0 recs
Sticky situation

Musharaff is a military dictator, but he's one of "our" military dictators in that we've been supportive of his regime and he's been cooperative to a small extent.

Though it's likely that Bin Laden and other high-level al-Qaeda members are holed up in Pakistan near the Afghan border, Musharaff has been unable to act because of the threat to his regime posed by religious extremists. His regime is also opposed by reformers, who are angry about his authoritarian abuses of power--most notably, he recently removed a court justice who was hearing charges related to the mass "disappearances" that have occurred under his regime.

It's hard to know if supporting Musharraf under the present conditions is the right thing to do. It smacks of our policy in Iran circa the overthrow of the Shah, but Pakistan is a nuclear state, and there's a very real possibility that Musharraf could be assasinated and the resulting power vacuum could lead to an even more repressive and anti-American regime.

Basically, our 20th century strategy of quasi-empire is once again coming back to kick us in the ass.

by Max Fletcher 2007-08-01 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: From the speech...

you do realize there has been multiple attempts against him since he's come into power

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: From the speech...

Yes, but they have renewed their call.

by bookgrl 2007-08-01 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: From the speech...

like i say else where i dont think that responds to my point

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:21AM | 0 recs
One Trick Pony

When your cred is based on good presentation and the single issue if being right in opposition to a war, it's grade school to undercut your sensibility by sayong "I can be an A-hole too."

Obama's proving to be soft and equivocal. He's squandered his standing. There's only 3 Dem/Indie Senators to the right of Hillary. Obama's trying to be the 4th.

It's dangerous and foolhardy. And silly, since we already do have Special Forces crossing borders.

Yesterday's poll showed Hillary was rated highest on healthcare by voters. It appears that failure and incompetence are still in vogue.

But we're not invading Pakistan. There's no oil there. This is all foolish bluster and snow.

by KevinHayden 2007-08-01 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Maybe the real reason is poll? LOL

Rasmussen daily tracking
Rasmussen daily tracking is out. I believe this is Obama's lowest number for a long time. Don't put too much stock in daily tracking though. We'll see what's going to happen for the entire week.

Hillary 42
Obama 21
Edwards 13

NBC/WSJ poll:
Clinton 43
Obama 22
Edwards 13

by areyouready 2007-08-01 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

To me the trap that Jerome's post illuminates is so obvious, yet Democrats keep falling in it. Maybe there is a reason Clinton tops the polls, she is the candidate usually most interested in looking tough as nails. It's our compulsive need to revert to tough talk on National Security to seem credible to middle America, whatever that is, so Democrats can be trusted as a Party with our nation's defense.

It seems that Republicans bait us into this trap every two years, like clock work. This year we have a chance to break free of that dynamic, but time is running out for our best chance to do so. The national Democrats who continually are least bellecose in their language are Dennis Kucinich and Wesley Clark. While some Americans might want reassuring that Dennis is up to the job of keeping America safe, Clark is a four star General for Christ's sake, which equals a "Get Out of Trap Free Card" for our Party if we could see our way to nominate HIM for President.

Clark is up for the job, but he's trying to line up the support he needs to enter the race and win. If that support is not forthcoming I fear it will our Party's loss, maybe literally. I have a current Diary up here about this, "The Case for Clark 08: Best if Used before 10/07". http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/8/1/8018/ 80075

by Tom Rinaldo 2007-08-01 09:13AM | 0 recs
curiously Clinton released a statement

a few days ago saying no unilateral ground troops in Pakistant.

Obama has out hawked Hillary

by TarHeel 2007-08-01 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: curiously Clinton released a statement

I did see that. Shrewd. Her strong image is well enough established by now that she can afford the occaisional well played dove card. No one can say that Hillary isn't a pro at politics, regardless of your opinion of what she really is in politics to accomplish.

by Tom Rinaldo 2007-08-01 09:19AM | 0 recs
A clarification

By shrewd I did not mean Obama moving to out tough Hillary. I think she is being shrewd to mix it up, softening her muscular defense imaae a little here and there, which if nothing else keeps her opponents off guard.

by Tom Rinaldo 2007-08-01 09:23AM | 0 recs
Will General Clark

have a statement on this?

I do not think he would endorse Obama's bellicose rhetoric.

by TomP 2007-08-01 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Will General Clark


But he will be at Yearly Kos, maybe he'll get asked a question about that. I'm leaving for there now myself. Over and out!

by Tom Rinaldo 2007-08-01 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Will General Clark

I will be there Friday.  Hope to meet you, Tom.

by TomP 2007-08-01 11:06AM | 0 recs
My only quibble

with Jerome's post is that Pakistan isn't in the Middle East, but that minor point doesn't change the fact that, yes, Obama seems to want to perpetaute Bush's GWOT.

by david mizner 2007-08-01 10:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Its sad when you have to threaten to kill people to get your poll numbers up.

by changehorses08 2007-08-01 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

The public is for striking terrorist camps whereever they are...

Osama Bin Laden is the must wanted man in the world, and if you have good intelligence saying he's in this specific location inside Pakistan, i just find it hard to believe that the president of the U.S will not strike those camps.

Do you really believe the public will be against striking terrorist camps that could possibly eliminate Osama bin laden, in Pakistan?..I doubt that.

The American people aren't "anti-war"...They've shown that so many time....The public is "anti-dumb-war"....The war in Iraq was a dumb war...The war on terror is a war the public wants to fight.

by JaeHood 2007-08-01 07:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I think the public is against rhetoric that makes him look more hawkish than the most hawkish adminstration ever.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Also, I'm very pro an aggressive foreign policy but this makes it seem like he's declaring Jihad on Pakistan, no pun intended.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

That's bullshit. THat's not what he said at all.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I see that some partisans on Mydd are trying to distort Obama's words in intention.

Let's see if Hillary or Edwards are dumb enough to say NO to hitting terrorist training camps in Pakistan.

Security is still a huge issue in American politics, and soccer moms agrees with Obama that we have to take on the terrorists where ever they are.

We should rage all out war against terrorist..I'm pro war once it comes to fighting terrorist and Osama bin laden.

by JaeHood 2007-08-01 08:27AM | 0 recs
Enough of Your Bumper Sticker Wars

If anyone is trying to distort things it is you. No one here has said there was anything wrong with going after the terrorists that attacked us. In fact I am fairly certain all Americans support that. But going all out against all terrorists is just a continuation of the Bush-Cheney policy. It isn't Bush-Cheney Lite. It is the Full Monty Bush-Cheney. Terrorists come in many shapes and flavors and not all of them are our enemies. This is not to say I support terrorism.

The War on Terror is a bunch of Bullshit designed to make Americans feel safer because our government is supposedly going after the folks that attacked us. It is used as an excuse to spy on American citizens, justify the torture of human beings, stifle political dissent and bully our allies into doing our will. Al Queda is a real terrorist threat that has proven they are our enemy. I fully support tracking them down and making them disappear. But you don't destabilize another country to do that. We already have one Iraq, we don't need an Iraq WITH Nukes and a populace that resents us even more than the Iraqis. Obama's plan is STUPID.

by DoIT 2007-08-01 08:44AM | 0 recs
"going all out ...

..against all terrorists" is the complete opposite of what Bush-Cheney have been doing. Haven't you been paying attention.
Saying you're fighting a War on Terror and actually doing it are two different things.

Obama is rejecting all the anti-democratic/dumb policies that Bush/Cheney have been perusing using the "War on Terror" as a front.
           Iraq Occupation

Obama has stated his policies to actually fight terrorism. They sound very good to me.

by JoeCoaster 2007-08-01 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East


I didn't say attacking terrorist is bad I'm saying declaring publically that youll take unilateral action in another foreign country is bad. Especially when that other country is Pakistan.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 09:00AM | 0 recs
This isn't about striking some camps in the open

The situation is just not as easy as happening upon some intelligence and launching a surgical strike. There's a reason why they're all holed up in that mountainous region of Pakistan: Because it allows them to hide inside giant fucking mountains.

If Obama really wants to take out Bin Laden and destroy Al Qaeda in that region, he'll have to send ground troops into those mountains. Alot of ground troops. And it'll be messy, grueling work with a low chance of success, which is part of the reason I think the Bush Administration shifted their attention to what they thought was an easier war in Iraq.

by Luigi Montanez 2007-08-01 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

How many countries does he want us to be at war with at the same time?

by del 2007-08-01 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I can name a lot of countries that actually support terrorists with arms and money unlike Pakistan,, when are we bombing them?

Iran, Syria, etc....

by TarHeel 2007-08-01 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

To me Edwards is looking better and better everyday. I was not even supporting him in the beginning, but he is always talking about progressive policies, but frequently gets negative press or no press at all.

by rakk12 2007-08-01 07:29AM | 0 recs
Seems dangerous

This seems like a dangerous political gambit for Obama.

Voters who want strong foreign policy will never vote for Obama. It's clear Hillary is more "hawkish" than he is.

Progressive anti war voters who do support Obama will likely be turned off by his comments.

It'll be especially interesting to see what Right wing pundits have to say about this. It seems lose lose either way.

Either they agree with Obama which further alienates his anti war consituency


The likelier scenario the Neo Cons say "Are you fucking nuts dude?" and when Neo Cons are like "maybe we should think twice about invading that country" you know you're waaaaay far to the right.

The worse outcome which I think is guaranteed regardless is that this speech along with the "Bush/Cheney lite" remark have started to make Obama seem like an out of touch sensationalist. Which is ironic because when considering these two major gaffe's he does seem naieve and irresponsible.

Oh the Irony.

PS I'm not slamming Obama but I think the average voter is definetely going to be thinking wtf is wrong this guy in the back of their heads.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Seems dangerous

You are absolutely right. It is the dumbest campaign strategy touted out by his DC losing advisors.

Extremely bizarre.

by areyouready 2007-08-01 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Seems dangerous

Isn't this speech just begging for a "Daisy Girl" Barry Goldwater-esque attack ad?

I mean Pakistan IS very unstable already and DOES have nuclear weapons

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:42AM | 0 recs
Hillary could put the nail in Obama's

campaign..  she released a statement a few days ago about no unilateral ground troops in Pakistan..

you could easily make a mushroom cloud commercial

by TarHeel 2007-08-01 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary could put the nail in Obama's

Wow, you guys seriously believe destablizing Waziristan, a small northwestern portion of Pakistan, would lead to the use of a nuclear bomb?

Maybe it would be effective for a television ad, but it would not be true.  Pakistan is unlikely to fall apart on this basis.

by Jacor 2007-08-01 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary could put the nail in Obama's

Pakistan is not anything near united. The central government can't project power into large areas of it's own country. It's in currently only in cease-fire mode with India. Kashmir continues to be one of the most dangerous powder kegs of the world.

An invasion of US ground troops should cause the tribes to revolt. Musharraf position is so unstable that he either needs to engage the foreign troops or be disposed. As India is more friendly with the US then with Pakistan...

Pakistan is far, far more instable now then Iraq ever was under Saddam. And look how that turned out.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 02:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems dangerous

I have always believed that all his money was coming from the neo-cons.  If so, then they wanted payback. To support the Bush Docterine in the climate is utter insanity.  I think Obama is getting ready to run as an Independent.  Move over Lieberman -- make room for another strange bedfellow.  

by changehorses08 2007-08-01 08:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

"Heck, even Clinton has the opportunity to move to the left of Obama over the issue of a the US launching a pre-emptive attack inside Pakistan. Because if Pakistan is game, why isn't Saudi Arabia as well?"

Damn straight.  We would have to expand the field to every country that could "harbors" terrorists, which includes Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc.  And, did I miss the memo that our "intelligence" is once again the beacon of truth?   What if we act on flawed intelligence that we only think is true?   Moving troops from Iraq into Pakistan, thereby widening a war that we should be gradually shutting down, is not the way to go.  

This type of talk will not restore confidence around the world that a Democratic president will act differently than Bush, that we are going to lean more heavily on the UN, diplomacy, get other nations to be with us, etc.  

by georgep 2007-08-01 07:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

so when should we use force?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 07:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

You're not concerned about continuing a policy of unilateral invasion?

by bookgrl 2007-08-01 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Answer the question.  Was Afghanistan in '01 a misuse of force because it was "pre-emptive"?  Is there no set of conditions under which a state sponsor should be subject to U.S. military force?  That seems to be the consequence of your characterization of Obama's views.

by msbatxnyc 2007-08-01 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

it wasn't preemptive. Al-qaeda was sponsered by the Afghan government with money and services and lack of persecution. They had a shot to hand over the terrorist wing of thier military. didnt take it.

by leewesley 2007-08-01 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

if the same conditions exist for that in Pakistan and all other tools have failed us-t hen what?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

So, then, are you ready to widen our scope to OTHER terrorist-harboring nations, such as Saudi-Arabia and Syria in addition to Pakistan?   Where does it end?   You smoke out an Al-Quaida training facility and kill 30.  Another 80 "new" Al-Quaida recruits will spring up the next day to take their place.  So, we repeat these surgical strikes into Al-Quaida training facilities until the countries are bombed into submission?

Whatever happened to the UN?   This is dangerous rhetoric that helps nobody.  

by georgep 2007-08-01 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

the point- and i think you get this, and your leader agrees with this- is that no option should knee jerk be outside of bounds depending whats happening. what you seem to want me and others to say is that certain tools are. i am not going to say that, and the irresponsible approach for american interests would be for anyone to say that.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Wait a minute.  

no option should knee jerk be outside of bounds depending whats happening

I think unilaterally invading another country should be off the table, along with the use of nuclear weapons.  Let's not kid ourselves, there's about a 1% chance that this could be done without sending a significant number of ground troops into those mountains.  A missile strike isn't going to get the job done. Even if it's only a few hundred troops, that might be enough to further destabilize Pakistan and bring to power some people we really don't want to have access to a nuclear stockpile.

by Denny Crane 2007-08-01 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

But the same conditions don't exist in Pakistan nor will they.

Let's send in Jack Bauer. a fictional character is nicely suited to fix a fictional situation.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

You are talking the politics. Let's talk the American interest and security issue. If terrorist camps are growing up there- what would you have us do?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

You can't complain about neo conservative unilateral tactics and then use tactics that are more reckless than neo conservative unilateral tactics.

I'll be fair though, I don't think Obama meant this speech to come off as hardliner as it does come off. But "lets send troops to Pakistan without their permission" is a poor choice of words.

"If Musharff won't act we will" reeks of "you're either with us or against us"

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

You didn't answer my question.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

1. Get Musharff's permission. Work with the Pakistan Army. They've begun to increase attacks on terrorists on their border. Musharf is acting already.

2. Use covert ops if necessary

3. Use drones and airstrikes.

4. Don't threaten to invade Pakistan like Obama because

A. If Musharf does act based on a public threat then he becomes weak and unable to help the US and/or gets overthrown

B. He very likely might give us the bird and then the US WILL have to invade Pakistan and fight the army and the terrorist.

C. Open invasion of another Muslism country...mmm increase terrorist recruitment and terrorist access to nuclear weapons.

D. Pakistan instablity = GREATLY INCREASED liklihood of India/Pakistan war. Both have nuclear weapons.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Actually, you agree with the Senator.  Read his speech.

by Obama08 2007-08-01 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I've explained why its different in my other post.

Question though. If you agree with this speech things  do you still believe that Clinton is more Hawkish than Obama?

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I think that's a false frame. Hawkish to me means excessive use of force- of the stick- without just cause or reasoning or process. I don't see saying military action is a possible choice or saying I may meet with dictators without preconditions as a bad thing per se. THey are just saying,d epending on the circumstance, I may or may not use these tools.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

How does what you just wrote differ from what Obama said in the speech posted above by Obama8?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

How does what you just wrote differ from what Obama said in the speech posted above by Obama8?

I'm not threatening Pakistan while running for office. See my 2nd post #4. Subpoint A-D

by world dictator 2007-08-01 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

So- let me get this straight. By him saying one of the options is to go in to take out the terrorist cells that are there, if the intelligence is good, and other options have failed, he is threatening Pakistan. Again, I don't see the logic.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

What criteria do we use for other options have failed?

by world dictator 2007-08-01 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

That's a good question. You may have wanted to have started with questions rather than denouncing the idea in general. The honest answer is that we are dealing with hypotheticals. It willd epend on teh situation on teh ground in 2009 when whoever is in office, and it will depend on time framing. The problem with Bush was that he usurped normal questions of force and turned them on their head- like using the term defene when he was actually acting offensively.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I think we agree, finding a good criteria is the problem because it does usually depend on a case by case basis.

Which is why I think its troubling politically, both as far as his campaign and as far as his foreign policy if elected, that he's using such strong rhetoric.

As I said before I don't think he meant it to come off as strong as it does but rhetoric is very important in politics and especially in foreign policy.

Remember the effect of the phrase Axis of Evil?

by world dictator 2007-08-01 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I agree- and that does seems to be a big problem for him and lends to the idea that he is still too green for the office he will be taking if he becomes President.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

No, he is not saying it as "one of the options."  He is stating "if he won't, we will."  

by georgep 2007-08-01 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

after saying what the other options were before hand- maybe I misunderstanding the text of the speech but it doesn't read like he's saying this is the option I will take first.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 09:52AM | 0 recs
Of course that is a threat.

Obama does not present this series of options ... he simply says if we have the intelligence, and Pakistan does not act on it, we will.

And he said this in a prepared address, so there is no question of being a response to a debate question interpreted one way by one group of people and another way by another group of people. It was a deliberate choice to say, "if they don't act, we will".

Perhaps he has decided that Iowa is a lost cause, and has decided to run to the right of Hillary on this issue, hoping to pick up independent voters in New Hampshire, where anyone is free to declare their party on the day of the primary.

by BruceMcF 2007-08-01 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

let me add it's not either the stick or the carrot. it's both. the threat of military force along with using real dimplomacy versus what passes for it in the last 7 years is exactly what any American president should have in his tool chest to accomplish our goals.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

If you actually use the treat of force you're not using any real diplomacy. You're just badly disguising your bulling. It's exactly the same sort of diplomacy we had last 7 years.

Lesson 1 in diplomacy, threating with force makes diplomacy impossible. Your negotiation just became a round of bullying. Either they'll do what you want and hate you, or call your bluff and don't do what you want and hate you all the same.

You don't use the stick and the carrot in diplomacy, you use the stick and carrot to motivate your lessers, you use it to motivate the dumb beast you own. I'll punish you if you don't do what I want, and I'll reward you when you do what I want.

That's not diplomacy, that's not a sane policy. That is Bush-Cheney. and not the light version.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 03:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Well, Pakistan has the bomb. There is already a ton of pressure on Musharraf, he has had a number of coup attempts. I think its much smarter to work with someone to destroy camps and have a long term allie, than to risk an Islamicist coup. The American name can't be anywhere near his actions in the Pakistani perception or were done. After all the groups trying to overthrow him are in direct contact with Al-Qaeda. Remember what happened when Bush said we would support the pro-democracy rebels in Iran recently? Well suddenly they no legitimacy because everyone assumed they were funded by the imperialists. You really want al-zawahiri with the bomb?

by leewesley 2007-08-01 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

If none of the other approaches work- then what?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

They will. But i just finished the entire speach and I want to be clear that I'm arguing against something he didn't propose.

by leewesley 2007-08-01 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I am very hawish. I have no problem with a surgical strike if the intelligence is very very reliable. However, as a reponsible president, you have to weigh pros and cons on balance. It's dumb for any sensible president to make a promise, to answer to such a sensitive and hypothetical question, you don't rule anything in or out. You don't go on a TV to declare your intention to your ally who has nuclear weapons in that region.

This is beyond stupidity from a policy angle.

by areyouready 2007-08-01 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

did you read Obama08 post of the entire speech above before writing this? If his post is correct, then this seems like many of you misunderstand the point- or maybe I do, but right now I see a lot of knee jerk reaction based on politics rather than substance. I could be wrong, but I would like someone to explain to me how this is substantively different from what Obama is saying.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I read the speech, or at least the relevant portions of it cited above, and I agree with areyouready on this one.  I think any U.S. president would consider taking action within Pakistan to get Osama Bin Laden without Musharraf's permission.  However, it totally depends on context.  If a single small bomb or sharpshooter could take him out with a 95% chance of success and zero collateral damage, any president would authorize it in a second.  If it would take hundreds of U.S. troops in a two-week campaign with  hundreds of non-combatants dying and a 25% chance of success, the a U.S. president would probably think twice about it.  It totally depends on context.

I don't see anything to be gained by publicly announcing one's intentions on this matter ahead of time, unless one is seeking to pressure Musharraf on the issue.  My guess is that quiet diplomacy would have more impact on Musharraf, who probably would like to support us but feels politically constrained by his domestic opposition, then bold threats against his sovereignty.

So while I have no problem with the content of Obama's position (in theory at least--how it plays out in practice depends on the context as stated above), I do have a problem with him issuing a policy statement on this matter.

by markjay 2007-08-01 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

thats true- this is probably bad politics

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

clearly he (or she) didn't

by rapcetera 2007-08-01 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

yeah, you really need to actually read it. Its just not that controversial. You, me and the senator (and im sure the senator from new york) are all in agreement.

by leewesley 2007-08-01 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East


I believe the american people would want us to take out osama bin laden if we get the chance and not have to ask other governments permission. we went into afghanistan in response to 9/11 and hunted for Bin Laden. He is holed up in the mountains on the border of Pakistan and Ahghanistan.

This is far different in invading Iraq IN WHICH THEIR IS NO LINK TO 9/11.

by BDM 2007-08-01 08:36AM | 0 recs
How do nuclear bombs in Islamicist hands ...

... strike you as good news for US national security?

The Bush regime has been trying to float an invasion of Iran over trying to develop the capability at some time years in the future ... but if we hand Pakistan over to an Islamicist government with a unilateral "military intervention" ... and an Islamicist government that takes over in that circumstance is likely to have a solid helping of hard-liners ... they inherit that capability, together with an existing stockpile of nuclear weapons.

by BruceMcF 2007-08-01 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: How do nuclear bombs in Islamicist hands ...

And a cease fire with hated enemy who has nuclear bombs as well.

Invading Pakistan is totally unlike tap-dancing in a minefield...

It's more like staging the world competition of marching bands and showtime revue in a minefield...

with nuclear mines.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 03:31PM | 0 recs
What Im concerned with

The question is not "whether or not to hunt out al Qaeda" as some wish to debate it.

The question is whether a candidate should tie himself to a policy of giving sovereign nations ultimatums about complying with US demands lest the US act unilaterally to engage within their borders.

I may support the policy if it becomes necessary when Obama is President and the moment is before us.

But to commit to such a policy now is problematic politically.

by BWasikIUgrad 2007-08-01 07:42AM | 0 recs
Very problematic

and it makes things a lot more difficult for Musharrif

by okamichan13 2007-08-01 07:56AM | 0 recs

Exactly right

by markjay 2007-08-01 08:42AM | 0 recs
... sovereign nations with nuclear weapons.

That is a very big risk to be taking just to try to get a bump in the polls from the reflexive "bomb the suckers!" crowd.

by BruceMcF 2007-08-01 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I dislike the approach of Obama on this.  I disagree with this war-like rhetoric.  He is trying to out-hawk Hillary.  No thanks.

If Edwards had said this, many Obama supporters would be all over him with criticism.

by TomP 2007-08-01 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Obama has been prepping for this speech for months.  We were (or should have been) aware of this by now.

His first mention of taking the fight to Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan was back in November.  He has simply chosen to bring it to the forefront now.

He has not done so without thinking long and hard about it.  He has tested the waters, seeing what others think of his ideas.

His stance was part of why I emailed him asking him to run for President.  No other candidate seems to care that Al-Qaeda runs amok in Afghanistan.  No one else wants to send reinforcements.

Democrats are too busy preening and looking anti-war.  Republicans are too busy shouting the mantra, "Stay in Iraq, Stay the Course!"

It's about time someone like Obama came along.

by Jacor 2007-08-01 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

You want unilateral action in Pakistan?
are you sure?

It's a country that is not only on the brink of civil war, but on the brink of, possibly nuclear, war with the second most populous country in the world.

And you want to invade it? seeing how bad things are in afganistan while the complete NATO was there, and how Iraq was completely utterly messed up?

Seriously?  This is not me being sarcastic or trying to be funny or flippant but I just can't believe that... Are you serious?

by Ernst 2007-08-01 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Obama appears to be owned and operated by the neo-cons.  Watch him run as an Independent just like Lieberman did.  He has assured the neo-cons that he would continue the insanity.  I guess the neo-cons understood this was not a time to get a Republican elected so they just might have co-opted a Dem.

by changehorses08 2007-08-01 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I had to edit some grammar (not surprisingly) while the post was going up...

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-08-01 07:43AM | 0 recs
Obama is telling it like it is

Don't all progressives want to get the terrorists that did this to us on 9/11? Shouldn't every progressive candidate be stressing that we need to return to this effort and away from Bush's failed Iraq strategy?

I was doing a quick search---it doesn't seem to me Edwards, Clinton, etc have put out such a comprehensive approach. I really think this is the one to follow...is Clinton really going to make the argument that we shouldn't go after OBL?

by mdub12 2007-08-01 07:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is telling it like it is

This is a ridiculous straw-man argument, and I'm not buying it. The issue isn't whether or not progressives want to capture bin Laden.  The question is do we threaten other countries with military action to get our way.  This is the same bull that Republicans have been using for the past 6 years to get their way.  Anyone who doesn't agree is helping the terrorists.  Your argument is exactly the same; if you don't agree with Obama, you must not want to catch bin Laden.

by Denny Crane 2007-08-01 11:19AM | 0 recs
Of course we would like to ...

... and that is the point of the Obama speech ... to get us to think with our hearts, and turn our heads off for a while.

I don't think, however, that he will succeed in getting people to turn their heads off for the more than half year required to win the nomination.

This is fricking Pakistan he is talking about pushing over into the ranks of countries destabilized and ripe for Islamicist take-over ... a member of the nuclear club.

by BruceMcF 2007-08-01 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is telling it like it is

It's more of a question do we want to president of the USA to go after Osama Bin Laden in a way that would possible cause a nuclear war killing untold millions and possible destroying the world society and economy with them?

Our action don't exist in a vacuum. Invading a nuclear country that is perpetually on the brink of war with another nuclear country is not the way we bring that mass murderer to justice.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I really thought that we were a reality based community here, that we didn't simply read MSM reports and accept them at face value.  Obama did not say that he will invade Pakistan, he talks more about the aid to Pakistan and how he wants to work with them.  Yes, if we have actionable intelligence (aka we know exactly where they are) we will use a strategic strike against them.  When he talks about troops he talks about specifically about troops covert and lethal.

I suggest that all of you have a look at the speech before you go on about how hawkish Obama is being.  It is the right speech, it strikes exactly the right tone.  It speaks of stopping nuclear proliferation, it talks about increasing aid, it talks about filling the void which terrorists currently fill.  Read the speech and stop tearing the Senator down on a poorly written MSM story.  You are all above that.

by Obama08 2007-08-01 07:46AM | 0 recs
Is there any doubt it is military action?

He did not say that he would invade ... he said he would order unilateral "action" if the government of Pakistan said no.

Is there doubt it is military action he is talking about? Does anybody seriously believe he means to freeze the credit card accounts of the Al-Qaeda leadership, or slap a punitive duty on their imports?

What is the point of aiming for the hawk vote with this language unless he is talking about a military strike ... in rough mountainous terrain riddled with caves as well, so we are not talking about an air strike alone.

by BruceMcF 2007-08-01 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I feel like you guys refuse to actually read/listen to the speech and istead rely on what the MSM released about it this morning. That's sad.

by ctnewbie18 2007-08-01 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I wonder if anyone here actually read the entire speech? Here you go: http://www.barackobama.com/2007/08/01/th e_war_we_need_to_win.php

Gosh, folks cherry pick info to suit their needs but that sounds familiar doesn't it? ;^)

by shanay4363 2007-08-01 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I read the speech...ok but not terribly original...but there was nothing in it that mitigates what he said was an option...using the military to attack terrorists in Pakistani territory without their permission...

It was politically dumb to include it in his speech, and if he means it just plain dumb...

Compare to Hillary's position on this topic

"At a fund-raising dinner arranged for her by the National Association of Pakistani-Americans, she rejected the suggestion by some US officials and lawmakers that the United States should conduct unilateral military operations in the tribal region to destroy alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban safe havens.

Such a move, she said, would not produce the desired results and would create new problems. Only a combined effort by the Pakistani and US troops could destroy militant hideouts in the area, she added.

Ms Clinton said that in January she visited Pakistan and discussed the US-led war against terrorism with President Gen Pervez Musharraf. She said she agreed with the Pakistani leader that the two countries needed to work together to defeat extremists because this war could not be won without such cooperation.

She also emphasised the need for combining military tactics with an economic strategy to address the root causes that bred extremist ideologies."


by SaveElmer 2007-08-01 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East


by BDM 2007-08-01 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

If word got out that the U.S. conducted military operations inside Pakistan it would touch off demonstrations that could easily topple the government...

Plus, the chances that air strikes in the Pakistani mountains could get bin Laden are remote...would take a land force...

Christ, even George Bush realizes how stupid this is...

by SaveElmer 2007-08-01 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I read the speech.  The whole speech. I agree with much of what he said.  But I don't agree with what he said about unilateral military action.

by Denny Crane 2007-08-01 11:21AM | 0 recs
Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

Who says Dems don't want to go after Bin Laden, wherever he is? The comments here just point out how far removed the blogosphere is from the Dem base. The thesis of Obama and most Dems is the same. The Iraq invasion is a diversion from attacking Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is in Western Pakistan. Attack their sanctuaries and get Bin Laden. Nothing radical about that.

by cmpnwtr 2007-08-01 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

If obama says he is going into pakistan with troops without the consent of Musharraf , thats a continuation of the pre emptive doctrine of Bush/Cheney I don't think dem primary voters are there .

by lori 2007-08-01 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

So you didn't support going into Afghanistan in '01?  

by msbatxnyc 2007-08-01 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

It's also nice to know to in the Afghani invasion we went in with every ally we had, fully supported by the UN.

O, and that the Afghanistan government lent material and political support to Osama and the pakistani government didn't but is actually opposed to him. I'd say you're confusion the situations.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

They would support it if actionable intelligence showed his location. They would not want a repeat of Tora Bora.

by BDM 2007-08-01 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

Plus, it's not exactly preemptive.  It's more like 6 years belated.

by Fran for Dean 2007-08-01 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

 Al-Quaida is in Pakistan, but also in Saudi-Arabia and Syria.  Are we going to strike all of these countries because they harbor Al-Quaida?  

by georgep 2007-08-01 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

No but we will go after the leader of Al Queda who launched 9/11. I believe the american people will support that action. They supported us going into Afghanistan to destroy the taliban and get Osama Bin Laden.

by BDM 2007-08-01 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

Where he is supposed to have been seen last is a heavily mountanous region.  They won't have tents for all to see and bomb.  So, if we are going to go "after" Al-Quaida there it would have to be with heavy ground engagement, air strikes make no sense.    No, AT THIS POINT the American people have no appetite for a broadening of this conflict, a "finishing off" of the war.  

I am surprised at you, BDM.  You are now talking completely different from the "total pullout" chatter you always engage in.   I guess defending Obama's reckless veiled threats (at Musharraf) makes for strange contortions of those who claim to be completely anti-war and have stated previously that ALL (every single one) troops need to be removed from the region, like has been the case for yourself.  

by georgep 2007-08-01 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems won't go after Bin Laden??

I still have quite the stomach for going after OBL and Ayman al-Zawahiri, after about 5 years of Pakistan's half-hearted attempts.  Of course we should try to work with Pakistan, but an aggressive, open stance on the matter is precisely the leverage needed to force Musharraf's hand on the matter.  Pakistan could provide the bulk of the ground troops, which we would supplement with special forces and air power.

If we get out of Iraq, kill the leadership of Al-Qaeda, and begin planning an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, that's pretty much the end of the War on Terror.  Terrorists may try to attack us again, but if we improve our domestic security(in a non-orwellian manner), we don't need to feel obligated to let them dictate our foreign policy from that point forward.

by megaplayboy 2007-08-02 03:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Who is giving him this advice? It sounds more hawkish than Bush I & II. One day he tacks to the left to catch Edwards populist speech against Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, then the next day he goes to the right of Bush, threatening Pakistan with our army.

He is getting bad advice.

by mrobinsong 2007-08-01 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

You got that right.  He sounds like a punch drunk fighter or a very desperate candidate.  As a candidate you should never discuss specific Foreign Policy moves.  What must the rest of the world think of that speech?  They do pay attention to everything that is said in this country.

by changehorses08 2007-08-01 11:42PM | 0 recs
Just doesn't surprise me

if you read his take on foreign policy:

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070701fa essay86401-p0/barack-obama/renewing-amer ican-leadership.html

"As commander in chief, I would also use our armed forces wisely. When we send our men and women into harm's way, I will clearly define the mission, seek out the advice of our military commanders, objectively evaluate intelligence, and ensure that our troops have the resources and the support they need. I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened."

Jerome a' Paris seems to be clairvoyant here:

I'm sorry - Obama's foreign policy creeps me out
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/5/31/ 8023/76395

"The US needs a bigger, better army - to use it

His whole text is about the use of military tools. He criticizes Bush for focusing too much on military solutions, but that's all he discusses. How to make the US military bigger, stronger, more effective, and how to use it all around the world."

Or maybe its just a gaffe and taken out of context. Given the above, I don't think so. Either way its stupid and scary

by okamichan13 2007-08-01 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Someone needs to say - Richardson would know - that we need to return to international law, not to mention our own constitution. Obama, you're breaking my heart.

by mrobinsong 2007-08-01 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Richardson's experience may suddenly become very relevant.

by bookgrl 2007-08-01 08:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I just read Richardson's speech on Pakistan/Afghanistan?Iraq(of course not really covered by the press from a few days ago).  It was pretty impressive.

by bookgrl 2007-08-01 08:35AM | 0 recs
Why the saber rattling?

Al Qeada has just called on Muslims to overthrow Mussharaff because they see him as too close to Bush.  I'm sorry but this specticle to appear tough is the same old politics.

by bookgrl 2007-08-01 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the saber rattling?

they have been trying to overthrow him since before bush

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the saber rattling?

But they had a cease fire until recently.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the saber rattling?

not sure how that matters to my point that they were hostile

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the saber rattling?


by BDM 2007-08-01 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the saber rattling?

so did bush in when he talked about invading Iraq.

It might be popular with the press, but it sure as BLEEP is extremely bad policy

by Ernst 2007-08-01 04:02PM | 0 recs
Jerome, I STRONGLY disagree with you here...

Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are unfinished business.  They attacked us and killed over 3,000 people, remember!  It's not a pre-emptive attack - it's bringing to justice people that attacked us, which is something that Bush hasn't done.  An attack against those who attacked us on 9/11 is fundamentally different from a pre-emptive attack on any other country, and should be thought of differently.

I have real disagreements with Obama on foreign policy (I actually think the Army should be smaller, and not bigger), but I think he's right here on the merits.  He's also being honest with the public on how he intends on dealing with foreign policy threats, which is admirable and should be commended, not condemned.

by econlibVA 2007-08-01 08:05AM | 0 recs
He's right about Al-Quaida BUT

its completely irresponsible to basically publicly threaten the leader of an allied nation on this before you're even in that situation.

Its Bolton diplomacy and undermines an ally as well.

Really really bad move.

by okamichan13 2007-08-01 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: He's right about Al-Quaida BUT

I disagree - I think our relationship with Pakistan right now is pretty unhealthy and needs to be shaken up.  Pakistan is playing both sides right now and that can't continue.  Besides, you can't talk about Bin Laden without talking about Pakistan.  Either you say nothing and let the public status quo stay the same or you say that there are going to be some changes.  I think I support Obama's approach.

by econlibVA 2007-08-01 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: He's right about Al-Quaida BUT

I think you have captured Obama's opinion here, he thinks we need to shake up our relationship with Pakistan. That fits his transformational opinion of himself and his American exceptionalist take on foreign policy.  I disagree with you and him, I do not think we should shake up our relationship with a nuclear armed Muslim ally who is in a complicated and dangerous fight with Al Queda and militant Islam. I think shaking things up, and even calling for a shake-up as a major candidate for President, is irresponsible and naive.

by souvarine 2007-08-01 08:56AM | 0 recs
His policy is internally contradictory ...

... one plank of his policy is a unilateral action, over the objections of a sovereign nation, and three other planks are developing partnerships, engaging the world to dry up support for terrorists, and restoring our values.

The first plank undermines each of the three that follow.

by BruceMcF 2007-08-01 12:24PM | 0 recs
For Obama, It Depends On The Week

Two weeks ago, Obama was for precondtions.

Last week, he was for kumbaya-ing with Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela with no precondtions.

This week, he's for attacking/invading a Middle East ally preemptively.

Obama needs to decide on a foreign policy and get back with us.

by BigBoyBlue 2007-08-01 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: For Obama, It Depends On The Week


by lori 2007-08-01 08:12AM | 0 recs

Do you both actually believe this?


by Vermonter 2007-08-01 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: For Obama, It Depends On The Week


by BDM 2007-08-01 08:48AM | 0 recs
Re: For Obama, It Depends On The Week

Should he go after Osama? yes.

Should he destabilize a allied nuclear power whose currently in a military stand-off with another nuclear power while going after Osama? No, that would be bad. real bad, really really bad. stupid in fact. really really...

by Ernst 2007-08-01 04:10PM | 0 recs
Re: For Obama, It Depends On The Week

Thank you, Ernst!  ;)

by BigBoyBlue 2007-08-01 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Jerome's comments seem to endorse a complete isolationist foreign policy. I'm baffled at how he can equate Pakistan with Saudi; one currently has a large area of the country that is a "no-go zone" for the government where Al Queda is operating training camps, while the other is hunting and killing members of Al Queda on a daily basis. The fact is, Saudi Arabia is fighting along side us, so to speak, while Pakistan has turned its back on its trial regions.

Further, Obama's hardly advocating a "pre-emptive strike" as Jerome concludes. Al Queda already has attacked us repeatidly; fighters are crossing the border into Afghanistan to attack NATO, US & Afgan troops. Moving against these camps is hardly "pre-emptive"; its a no brainer. A pacifist foreign policy isn't going to make Al Queda go away, no matter how much Jerome wants it to.  

by bjschmid 2007-08-01 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Iraq did not attack us, but Osama Bin Laden did. Pakistan is allowing him to hold up on the border. We are not talking about invading Pakistan but of taking a surgical military strike to take him out if we have actionable intelligence.

by BDM 2007-08-01 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

A surgical military strike isn't possible in Pakistan, that's the problem. Obama already acknowledge that when he said that F16 wouldn't do the job.

Another problem is that Pakistan is allowing him to hold up on the border. But that the central government doesn't have the power at the border to disallow him.

It's a tribal society. if the central government will go after him, they'll lose all control over that region as the tribes will revolt. However if allow American troops to unilaterally operate there the tribes will revolt as well.

So they're faced with likely civil war if they themselves go after Osama,
and there faced with likely civil war if they don't go after the US if we go after Osama.
and I don't have to tell you what would happen if they do go after the US when the US is operating within Pakistan.

The central government is already working as hard as they can to hold the country together. And Obama just said he's going to Bleep them over some more.

Not a good start for a new foreign policy.

Now we can put this all aside and look how likely it is that we'll be able to catch Osama. The region he's in larger then many a country, it's friendly to him and hostile to us. We don't speak the language, and they wouldn't tell us anything if we did. We've have no intel where he is. we don't even know if he's still alive.

We'd be hunted both by the tribal militias and al-Qa'eda. While getting no help from the official army. perhaps we'll even hunted by them.

Now this could all change if we got some solid intel. But as we've got nothing now. It'll take years to build up anything. During which the guy may drop dead, or move to another country. Bottom line. Obama just worried (and bleeped of) the Pakistan Government for a nice piece of rhetoric.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 05:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

No, I am not an isolationist, sorry if you were confused; I am very much against unilateral pre-emptive attacks.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-08-01 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

so you were against clinton doing so in 1990s?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

You need to define "pre-emptive attack" because your use of the concept here seems unconventional. The only military efforts suggested by Obama would be directed at those who have attacked the U.S. and who demonstrate an organized commitment to deliver more of the same.

It's just plain dishonest to equate that with regime change in Iraq or the Bush doctrine. More to the point, however, I don't think you can call it pre-emptive. And, even if we concede that label for such military effort, it would still be justified by any just war theory out there (whatever you want to call it, we're talking about incapacitating those planning to harm us).

Of course, whether it's prudent will depend on circumstances that are not before us for analysis. Naturally, all military action should be a last resort and should be carefully planned and executed. Nothing Obama says, however, should suggest the contrary. For all your professed partisan committment, you sure are quick to frame a fellow democrat uncharitably.

by DPW 2007-08-01 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I have said for many months I think Clinton is by far the most progressive/liberal of the top of the field. She has a much longer track record on the left than Edwards and many of Obama's positions (i.e. tort reform, preemptive war, "bipartisanship") are further to the right than any other Democrat who is running. The continuing gap in the polls  between Clinton and Obama indicates voters are comfortable with the direction Clinton would take in leading this country but are not nearly as comfortable with Obama whose positions are at times the same as the GOP.

by robliberal 2007-08-01 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Then you agreed with nthe Bush administrations action at Tora Bora when we had Bin Laden cornered?

What will Clinton do in a similar situation? Will she advocate with drawing Us troops from Ahghanistan? is that her position?

by BDM 2007-08-01 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Most important, she actually knows what she is talking about on diplomacy.

I had very high hopes for Obama on this subject, but frankly...

by Ernst 2007-08-01 05:04PM | 0 recs
It certainly is

and we sure do need one for a change.

by okamichan13 2007-08-01 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

OK thanks for the suggestion - I went there and read the speech. Kennedy could have given it and all the Democratic liberal hawks who got us into Vietnam.

The lesson of Vietnam was - no empire building, no invading countries on whatever pretext, no selling fear to make war. Return to international law, our treaties, our agreements with allies and foes. Work with Interpol to catch criminals and terrorists.

Close our hundreds of bases around the world in over a hundred countries. Stop building empire, stop being the bully of the world and the soft touch for dictators, stop supplying the world with weapons, and start building diplomatic relations. Start representing the people here as if this is a democracy. Stop peddling fear here and around the world. Stop threatening countries with invasion with forces large or small. Respect borders and governments.

Read the Constitution which says that our signed treaties are as law, then obey the law and honor our treaties. Return to the Constitution that gives war powers only to congress.

Vow each day to defend the Constitution.

by mrobinsong 2007-08-01 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

yes and no- its possilbe to have one not entirely focused on it but you can't have one that doesn't include it.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

true- its the option of last resort- not first and last.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 08:23AM | 0 recs
Compare with Richardson's release dated 7/27

called "A Grand Strategy on Terrorism"

on page 3 of an 8 page release is this( all italicized words from original):

"A critical first step is to enhance our commitment--military, political and economic --to Afghanistan. To defeat the resurgent Taliban will require a significant increase in NATO forces along the Afghanistan- Pakistan border-- and that will require American leadership.

When our allies have seen that we have finally gotten our priorities straight-- that we have revived our committment to going after the Al Qaeda leadership where it is -- only then will they provide enough troops and equipment to overwhelm the enemy.

We urgently must redirect our military effort away from Iraq(where Al Qaeda leadership is not located) and toward the Afghanistan- Pakistan border( where they ARE located).

It is also critical that we engage Muslim countries in this effort:to the extent that the troops rooting out Al Qaeda and the Taliban are Muslims, the Jihadists cannot portray the effort to defeat them as one of"the West against Islam" The US should therefore should encourage our  Muslim and Arab partners especially Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, to offer troops to help stabilize Afghanistan.

NATO should create a contact group, led by a senior NATO diplomat, to engage all of Afghanistan's neighbors on border stabilization, especially along the 1500  mile long Pakistan border. This group should include Iran and India.

He then says going on to page 4 after calling for a "Marshall Plan for Afghanistan" that:

These efforts also must extend into akistan.The border regions are poverty- stricken breeding grounds for Jihadism. We need to read the riot act to Dick Cheney's pal, President Musharraf. We have provided him with $10 Billion mostly military aid. Future aid must be linked to a real breakdown on terrorists-including Arabs, Afghans, and Kashmiris.

Musharraf also doesn't seem to care much for democracy. We need to insist that Pakistan have free elections this year.

I'd say Richardson has a lot to work worth based on his 7/27 press release versus Obama's speech today.

by merbex 2007-08-01 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Compare with Richardson's release dated 7/27

I just read that speech, and I thought it was brilliant.  Of course the media didn't talk about it at all.  Of course, Richardson is a diplomat, but he sounds so seasoned and ready in this speech.

by bookgrl 2007-08-01 08:38AM | 0 recs
Way more advanced than Obama's speech from


The contrast is startling.

Especially pages 3-5( I was handed the release by his press secretary at his event in Nashua)so I don't know if the pages will print out the same as the copy I have. But the pertinent part concerns Pakistan.

by merbex 2007-08-01 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Compare with Richardson's release dated 7/27

I've got some questions about his domestic policies, but on the diplomatic subject I rate him very highly. Almost along side Hillary. :)

by Ernst 2007-08-01 05:07PM | 0 recs
This Is Very Disturbing

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. -- Obama

This is very disturbing to me. First of all, it's none of our business if Pakistan is "democratic" or not. WE are not all that "democratic," and we know that.

Secondly, if we are at all sane, we cannot do anything about Pakistan or any other place in the Middle East. Maybe we could have done something prior to when we shot our big wad in Iraq, but with the baseless Iraq Invasion, that bus left the station. We simply no longer have that political capital.

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

If Barack Obama really believes he could have the international and popular US. support to do such a thing after the fiasco in Iraq, he must be, at a minimum, beyond naive. The more he says, the more I think he might be far from capable of picking up all the pieces that Bush has dropped. There really is a real world beyond that campaign trail, and Obama had better take note of it very soon.

by blues 2007-08-01 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Very Disturbing

He has and he will.

Do you think he did this without weighing world opinion?

Have you considered that NATO forces are fighting alongside American troops in Afghanistan?

Have you thought about how many Americans are frustrated that Bin Laden and Al-Zarqawi are still free to distribute videos and audio tapes?

From liberals to conservatives I have spoken with, there is a consensus that the job should have been finished against Al-Qaeda, even if they disagree on Iraq.

Obama has thought of these questions and has come up with a viable answer.  That is why we need Obama for president.

by Jacor 2007-08-01 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Very Disturbing

I can tell you that both the world's opinion and our  NATO allies will find this speech very troubling indeed.

This speech is crafted purely for domestic consumption. And most people outside the US will recognize that he's running for president and is speaking for a domestic crowd, not an international one. But don't go on about how much they'll like it or how much Obama thought about them.

Another unilateral president would be met with pure panic by the rest of the world.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Very Disturbing

It is our business what their government is like if we are propping it up.

by awgupta 2007-08-01 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Very Disturbing

To Jacor:

Maybe the job should have been done, but we have blown it and basically don't have the capital (in all senses) to do any more in the Middle East.

To awgupta:

If we are propping their government up, then we could always stop doing so. That gives us no right whatsoever to invade them.

by blues 2007-08-01 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I think the question has to be "Is this a major national security speech or not?". If it is, why is it? Has he differentiated himself from Hillary and Edwards in this speech? Is yes, how? If not, why is this a major speech?

by rakk12 2007-08-01 08:30AM | 0 recs
Yes, support for a unilateral strike ...

... within Pakistan does distinguish him from what Senators Clinton and Edwards have said.

He seems to be going for the anti-Iraq-war warmonger vote.

by BruceMcF 2007-08-01 12:27PM | 0 recs
Jerome, in case you don't know,

Pakistan aids and abets terrorism. Along with Afghanistan is has had been one of the primary breeding grounds for terrorists.

My support for Obama has only increased because of his stance on surgically taking out terrorist training camps, while advocating against all of wars, and calling for a two-state solution for the Israel/Palestine stand off.

I have no idea why you dislike Obama so much, Jerome. I like both of you guys, and unless you go about to nit pick with the intention of showing him up, his foreign policy views (only one caveat: he does need to explain why the size of the troops needs to be increase) make excellent sense.

Obama gets it, and is willing to show his independence on this.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-08-01 08:32AM | 0 recs
Obama/Clark or Obama/Richardson

would make excellent pairings. Only better ticket better than these is the Gore/Obama ticket.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-08-01 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Jerome, in case you don't know,

If he is just advocating tactical air strikes how is this different from the position of Hillary or Edwards? I thought from the way it was characterised as a "major speech" that he was taking a different position. If he is not advocating a different position, then why is this news?

by rakk12 2007-08-01 08:44AM | 0 recs
It depends on the strength of evidence

if we know clearly that on some mountain in Pakistan AL Quedo is training the next generation of terrorists, and the satellite technology has probably progressed far enough to precisely pin point this, then warnings should be issued to Pakistan, and support offered to help Pakistan dismantle the the training operation.

After two warnings, a surgical strike would be justified.

If Turkey has proof of terrorist training going on in Northern Iraq aimed at Turkey as the target, they maybe justified.

It all depends on evidence.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-08-01 08:51AM | 0 recs

"while advocating against all of wars"

should be:

"while advocating against all out wars"

by NuevoLiberal 2007-08-01 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Jerome, in case you don't know,

If Osama Bin Laden is cornered like at Tora Bora AND WE WAIT TO GET PERMISSION WHICH WE DID AND HE WAS ALLOWED TO ESCAPE, then I say we get him with a surgical strike.

by BDM 2007-08-01 08:57AM | 0 recs
NL, in case you didn't know ...

... a Pakistan with an Islamicist government would be a much greater aid and comfort to terrorists than the current one.

Risking putting the atom bomb directly into the hands of an Islamicist government seems more than a little reckless to me.

by BruceMcF 2007-08-01 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Jerome, in case you don't know,

Most terrorist are saudi.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I'm not an Obama supporter but I have no problem with calling for targeted strikes against Al-Quaeda camps in the border region of Pakistan.  To pass up such an opportunity would be foolish.  He did not call for an invasion of Pakistan but any kind of well-informed action against terrorist camps is the right of the U.S. given our nature as target of their planning.

by Thaddeus 2007-08-01 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Striking at the right moment may well be justified.  Threatening Musharraf in the abstract about the issue does not appear to be justified.

by markjay 2007-08-01 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

where does he threaten him at- please cut and paste the section that does that

by bruh21 2007-08-01 09:02AM | 0 recs
Man, why bother...

Ths blog is in shambles.  Just Jerome grinding his axe against Obama yet again and his fellow haters peddling their nonsense, with the occasional poll story thrown in by poor Mssrs Beeton and Singer to break up the pointless perpetual flame war.

To read a skillful debunking of all of the Marc Ambinder imitations going on in this comment section, please read the geekesque diary on dkos.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/1/1 05141/5711

by msbatxnyc 2007-08-01 08:43AM | 0 recs
This Is Not About Jerome

This is a major error on the part of someone in the Obama camp, plus a mistake for the candidate himself. I have avoided being too rough with Obama lately, but this is too much. No, we cannot just invade another Middle East nation after Iraq. To think we have that option is gravely mistaken. Certainly for Obama to be talking like this in the midst of his campaign is way off. We have to factor in the fact that the whole world knows that our ruling elite sees itself as in an actual crusade against the Muslim world. William F. Buckley stages a big boat cruise for conservatives every year, and last year the majority of the neocon passengers spent their time berating the Muslims. Even Buckley retreated to his cabin in horror.

by blues 2007-08-01 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Not About Jerome

Many Obama supporters here would rather attack the messenger than deal with the case that Obama is endorsing the Bush doctrine of unilateral preemptive attacks.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-08-01 09:23AM | 0 recs
Lets be honest Jerome...

you are purposely conflating Bushing doctrine of preemptive war (for regime change) with Obama's statement that the US has the right of unilateral action against Bin Laden.

Sorry if we see through your, rather weak, spin job.

by JoeCoaster 2007-08-01 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Not About Jerome

Unilateral preemptive attacks?

I thought Obama's entire purpose in his speech was that his goal as president was to decrease terrorists, not increase their numbers.

I'm sure I'm not the only American who thinks that if we have actionable intelligence, we should act on it. This is vastly different from the Iraq war. Do most myDD commenters feel Afghanistan was a mistake?

Do you, Jerome?

I'm a little shocked that if we knew where a mass murderer was, we'd not try to get him. That's not what you're saying, is it?

by rwiedower 2007-08-01 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Not About Jerome

I dont endorse unilateral military action. I differ strongly with Obama and the Neocons on this issue.  Afghanistan was not unilateral.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-08-01 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Not About Jerome

Please distinguish the scenario Obama proposed from Afghanistan.  I understand that Afghanistan was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  I also get that in some sense, the Taliban's own internal security force was more complicit (at least as far as we know, there's plenty of bad things to say about Pakistan's military and intelligence outfits, see also Daniel Pearl).  But in terms of a security threat to the U.S. which has essentially nothing to do with whether or not the Taliban worked with Al Qaeda internally, what distinguishes it?  I know it's apprently extremely difficult for you to put aside your biases and take Obama's hypothetical on its own terms, but if you want to have any credibility with your readers on these questions you should try to address them more accurately.    

by msbatxnyc 2007-08-01 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: This Is Not About Jerome

The complete support of NATO, the blessing of the UN?

And yes the Taliban's own internal security force was more complicit. And yes it was for more so then the Pakistan's military and intelligence outfits.

And lack of a possible nuclear war.

need more?

by Ernst 2007-08-01 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I am still basically an Edwards supporter, though for me the difference between JE and Obama is getting smaller all the time.  With that in mind, let me emphasize that I completely agree with Obama's position.


First, I disagree that this is a "pre-emptive" strike.  They attacked us 5.5 years ago.  Second, there is no reason to believe they still want to attack us.  

Could it cause problems for Mushareff?  Yea, but I dont see why it should weaken his hold on the military, which is what is keeping him in power?

Is it possible that our intelligence will be wrong?  Yes, sure.  So, you have to consider how strong the intelligence sourcing is before you act and even then you make mistakes.  But if there is good intel that shows there is a group of terrorists, then hell ya, attack.

So, as some people are saying, why not attack Saudi?  The difference is that no one is yet suggesting that there are camps or identifiable groups of terrorists that can be targeted.  If our intel shows some, then yes we should attack there to.

Man, to some of you people I wonder why not just nominate  Kucinich and be done with it.

by Andy Katz 2007-08-01 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

why not attack Saudi?  The difference is that no one is yet suggesting that there are camps or identifiable groups of terrorists that can be targeted.  If our intel shows some, then yes we should attack there to.

Nice, that fits right in with the neo-con thinking.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-08-01 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

are you saying even under a democratic president, or at least one not as crazy as Bush, we shouldn't use intel to make decisions

by bruh21 2007-08-01 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

That intel saying that a terrorist cell exists somewhere in the world does not mean we should unilaterally bomb it to the stoneage.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 09:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

your post is over the top

by bruh21 2007-08-01 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Please explain to me how "neo-con thinking" has anything to do with the notion of surgical strikes against identified terrorist camps.

You might recall that we knew Zarqawi was in northern Iraq prior to the invasion and we could have tried to take him out.  But the neo-cons shot that idea down because it would have interfered with their grand and glorious plan to take out Saddam's regime and install a democracy.

The neo-cons want to use our military as an instrument of sweeping change throughout the Middle East.  The idea of surgical strikes, of focusing on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11, is anathema to them.

by Steve M 2007-08-01 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Congratulations!  Your reply is both snide and wrong.  The neo-cons have been critical of the idea of fighting terrorists through air power.  To thenm, that is "pre-911" thinking.  That's why they favor regime change, which is the real Bush doctrine.  Hey, if you're going to be sarcastic in your reply, try to at least be right about what you say.

by Andy Katz 2007-08-01 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East(MARC Ambidor)

In spite of everything, Dems know they need to (a) act tough (b) talk tough) and (b) be tough on terror -- AT&B is the watchword. The press still writes about counterterrorism as if it is a trademark Republican wedge issue and seems collectively surprised when Democrats offer aggressive proposals that go against the grain. Voters themselves give Democrats more breathing room, but Dem consultants remain very worried about how the Republicans have mastered the symbolism and language of terror politics.

Judging by the early returns -- "Obama As Jack Bauer?" (NBC) -- "Bold" (ABC) -- the press is receiving Obama's speech exactly as the campaign intended. Aides point reporters to the Pakistan lines. Why? They're the toughest, most provocative parts. They are harder than one might expect from Obama; they certainly do not reinforce the stereotype that he's all platitudes and indecivisve. They stand out.

by BDM 2007-08-01 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

You don't strike camps (euphemism) you bomb people in places so that some of them die.

If you send bombers into another country's territory it is an invasion of that country which is an illegal act of war. That's what it is here within our borders and everywhere. This, according to treaties our country designed and signed and were ratified by the senate and thus are law according to our constitution.

We should be a nation of laws.

by mrobinsong 2007-08-01 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I agree with most of what you have said, Andy.  Going into the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is not a pre-emptive strike.  We began this war in October 2001 and would just simply be escalating it again.  
And we cannot attack Saudi Arabia because a) our oil interests are too great and b) like Andy has said, there are no camps of Al Qaeda there.  Sorry folks, that may make a double standard, but double standards should be applied when there are two completely separate things.

Also, I don't think the legacy of the Iraq War is to never consider launching the first strike but rather it is to make sure you do your homework and pre-war and post-war planning.  There are obvious scenarios where pre-emptive strikes could be necessary, and therefore I believe that all options should be at least on the table though down the page on the to-do list.

by freepursuits 2007-08-01 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

Most of the comments in this diary make the authors sound like they wouldn't have invaded Afghanistan, either.

I don't see anything wrong with using the military to accomplish limited and achievable objectives, like nailing the mass murderer of 3,000 Americans if we get a shot at him.  That's a big if.  But what's being proposed here bears literally no resemblance to the invasion of Iraq.

I have absolutely no problem with what Obama said.  Does that make me, a guy who wants to see an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, into "Bush Lite"?  Okay, so be it.

by Steve M 2007-08-01 09:08AM | 0 recs
Ridiculous hyperbole...

First of all, Musharraf had a lengthy truce with Salafi militants in Waziristan.  If there's actionable intel on high level targets and the Pakistani gov't doesn't respond to our stick and carrots, why shouldn't there be limited, measured operations against the targets?

One of the silly things that DC pundits like to tell  each other on teevee is that Musharraf is in serious danger of being overthrown by Islamist militants that have massive public support in Pakistan.  But that couldn't be further from the truth.  From the very beginning, Pakistani Islamism's pillar of support was inside of unelected institutions - the military and intelligence services, and has been fostered by military dictatorships.  

As recently as the last Parliamentary elections, this was the case; Perv allied with the Islamist coalition, the MMA, against his secular opposiion - Bhutto's PPP and Sharif's PML.  And despite his electoral fraud against the secular opposition, the MMA only got 11% of the vote.  If we had a Parliamentary form of gov't, that might be the same portion of the vote the MMA's equivalent represented by hardcore Christian Coalition types might get.  That doesn't mean Fred Phelps is on the verge of taking over the country.

Right now, the fundamental threat to Musharraf's rule is not among Islamists, but secular democrats.  Musharraf tried to hijack a Judiciary that was looking to his "disappearances" by deposing Chief Justice Chaudhry (who is no friend to Islamists).  In response, a massive popular movement organized protests, forcing the Judiciary to reinstate him.  Musharraf aquiesced.  In all likelyhood, by the time a new President is sworn in, he or she would be dealing with a democratically elected PM of Pakistan (most likely Benazir Bhutto).

Skepticism of military force is chic in lefty blogistan, and most of the time it's warranted.  This isn't particularly one of these times.

I have to say that I'm glad that Obama is saying this:
"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."

It's a really, really important point (particularly the last sentence).  I'm glad Richardson agrees.  This should be the litmus test, not what Jerome is focusing on.

by Ramo 2007-08-01 09:17AM | 0 recs
Forgot to make a point about the MMA's 11%

Not only did Musharraf perpetrate serious fraud against the PPP and PML, this was the very height of their popularity.  The MMA's popularity has declined signiicantly since then.  For instance, after trying to implement their agenda in the NWFP, they were booted out of office in the provincial elections of 2005.

by Ramo 2007-08-01 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Ridiculous hyperbole...

You're really pushing your credibility here.

There have been several attempts on his life. And you're acting like a tribal country is similar as a modern nation state as elections go. As for your democratically chosen pm, Benazir Bhutto is hardly without problems himself. and the elections will be hardly legitimate. Come on. be honest. Most of the country at least the parts were talking about don't even have that veneer of democracy.

by Ernst 2007-08-01 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Ridiculous hyperbole...

I'm pushing my credibility?

First of all an, assassination (much less an assassination attempt) is not a coup d'etat.   An anarcho-socialist killed William McKinley, that didn't usher in a new era of anarchism in the US.

Pakistan is not a "tribal country."  Some less populated areas are, but describing Islamabad or Karachi as a tribal society is about as absurd as you get.  

And I never said Bhutto is perfect, but she's a damn sight better than the crooks and thugs currently in power.

Yes, since Pakistan is currently a military dictatorship, democracy is a bit limited.  Dictatorships are funny that way.

Yet another utterly absurd post from you...

by Ramo 2007-08-01 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Ridiculous hyperbole...

Look you know what, you actually do know a lot about this stuff, but your actual understanding of it seems just sub par.

No much how you twist and turn you won't be able to make Pakistan's behavior akin to that of a modern nation state.

You're comparing the death of a president with the assassination of a military dictator. That should tell you something. You're arguing backwards. You want a desired outcome and you're searching for arguments to support that. Just because the tribals are limited to the rural areas instead the big cities doesn't mean you can ignore them. especially as our interests will be in the rural areas.

And first you totally ignore the impact of the military dictatorship by claiming Obama will negotiate with a democratically elected PM and when I call you on it you act all indignant. You can't have it both ways sparky. Bhutto will have zero authority over anything security related. So stop pretending it'll matter for Obama's positions whether she'll get elected or not.

by Ernst 2007-08-04 05:43PM | 0 recs

So if Obama supporterssuddenly support attacking terrorists camps regardless of the situation does this mean that they also support unilateral strikes into Iran?

I mean they are supply support to AQI in Iraq as well as other insurgents.

by world dictator 2007-08-01 09:19AM | 0 recs

There's no evidence that Iran has supplied AQ in Iraq.  That's a right wing fantasy.  There is evidence that they're supporting the Shia militias - the Badr Brigade and the Mahdi Army, but they are of a radically different nature from the few thousand Salafi Jihadists running around in the Pakistani NWFP.  First of all, they - particularly the Mahdi Army - has a large popular basis and is a movement more than an organization.  Secondly, they pose no fundamental threat to us; they're not going to follow us around after we leave Iraq (the same is not true of the Salafi Jihadists).  Comparing the two is beyond ridiculous.

by Ramo 2007-08-01 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Bullshit.

So its okay if Iranians help Kill US soilders in Iraq as long as they use Shia militias and not AQI?

by world dictator 2007-08-02 05:55AM | 0 recs
It's not "ok." (whatever that means)

Although Shia militias aren't doing all that much killing of US troops at the moment.  But vastly different responses are warranted since the situations aren't at all comparable.  At all.

n.b. The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan is only nominally under Pakistani control, and we would not take military action against Islamabad.  The Shia militias are almost exclusively operating in territory we control.  And so on and so forth.

by Ramo 2007-08-02 06:21AM | 0 recs
Re: It's not "ok." (whatever that means)

Attacking pakistan would rally extremists who live throughout the country and overthrow the government. Just because you attack only one part of the country doesnt mean the entire country is unaffected

by world dictator 2007-08-02 06:48AM | 0 recs
Re: It's not "ok." (whatever that means)
That's unrealistic fear paraded about by those who don't know anything about Pakistan.  It's in no danger of being overthrown by Islamists.  See my post above or my dkos diary:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/1/1 4111/86013
by Ramo 2007-08-02 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: It's not "ok." (whatever that means)

Because every intelligence offical around the world is wrong and you a blogger on daily kos is right.

I guess the most hawkish adminstration in history doesn't want to attack pakistan just because huh... please

by world dictator 2007-08-02 07:16AM | 0 recs
Re: It's not "ok." (whatever that means)

The Admin has attacked militants in Pakistan.  It has conducted air strikes in Waziristan.  Musharraf even lodged formal complaints.  Incidentally, there hasn't been an Islamist coup.  Imagine that...

And the intelligence services got it wrong before.  Argument from authority doesn't work when the authority isn't reliable.  If you want to disagree with me, then make a coherent argument.  

And I'm sure you've met "every intelligence official in the world" and asked them about it.  What a bunch of horse crap.

by Ramo 2007-08-02 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Bullshit.

Iran is sustaining the insurgency against British and American forces in Iraq by supplying terrorists with weapons and cash, senior military figures have claimed.

Military sources have disclosed that there is "very, very strong intelligence" that elements inside Iran have continued to fund and support the gun-running. There is still no "concrete evidence", in part, it is claimed, because Iranian weapons are designed to be untraceable.

Lt Col Simon Browne, the commanding officer of 2 Bn The Royal Anglians, who finished their tour of Iraq this week, said: "I'm sure there is outside influence here and it is from Iran.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jht ml;jsessionid=XIOEAMQMLNE1XQFIQMGSFF4AVC BQWIV0?xml=/news/2006/11/11/wirq11.xml

Iran is seeking to take control of Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda terror network by encouraging it to promote officials known to be friendly to Teheran, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

According to recent reports received by Western intelligence agencies, the Iranians are training senior al-Qa'eda operatives in Teheran to take over the organisation when bin Laden is no longer leader.

by world dictator 2007-08-02 06:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Bullshit.

Yes, anonymous government leaks in a right wing rag (the Daily Telegraph).  The same ones that were telling us that Saddam and OBL were intimately tied.  Totally ridiculous.

by Ramo 2007-08-02 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Bullshit.

Nu huh is not a counter argument

by world dictator 2007-08-02 07:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Bullshit.

Anonymous sources in a rumor-mongering right wing paper don't constitute an argument in the first place.

by Ramo 2007-08-02 07:54AM | 0 recs
It Is Illegal

It simply is illegal, according to long-standing international law, to attack people in another nation that you think might be terrorists. It might be convenient if that were not so, but it is so. If you invade other nations for any reason, that simply negates any policy of non-proliferation. If we invade too many Islamic nations, we risk a general war with all Muslims. We are not all-powerful. The can make us pay huge prices for attacking them. If we want to go without food or energy (or pay 10x more for it), or even start WW III, then no problem.

I am not enthusiastic about having more military adventures. We lost the war in Iraq, and we cannot afford another war. China will not pay for any more of them.

by blues 2007-08-01 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: It Is Illegal

So we should just forget about bin laden?  Do you really think that should be the position of the democratic nominee?

by davey jones 2007-08-01 09:50AM | 0 recs
sounds like sweet reason

In his Nobel acceptance speech, General Marshall said that military power was "too narrow a basis on which to build a dependable, long-enduring peace." As the Marshall Plan demonstrated, the military is only a means to an end; it is only one instrument of our power. It must work alongside--and reinforce--America's moral leadership.

By framing this as a "war," we have walked right into the trap that terrorists have set--that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war against Islam.

The "war" metaphor has also failed because it exaggerates the role of only one instrument of American power--the military. This has occurred in part because the military is so effective at what it does. Yet if you think all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

There's an emerging consensus inside the armed forces that we must move beyond the idea of a war on terror.
We must be clear about when it is appropriate for a commander-in-chief to use force. As president, I will only use offensive force after all other options including diplomacy have been exhausted, and after we have made efforts to bring as many countries as possible to our side. However, there are times when force is justified: to protect our vital national interests... to respond to acts of aggression by other nations and non-state actors... to protect treaty allies and alliance commitments... to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons... and to prevent or stop genocide.

http://johnedwards.com/news/speeches/200 70523-cfr/

by mrobinsong 2007-08-01 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: sounds like sweet reason

It's clear that Obama didn't lift his speech today from John Edwards.

by DoIT 2007-08-01 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

The answer is yes depending on the circumstances. It seems whats going on here is people want simple answers rather than complicated ones. There should be no abolutely nots in this discussion- yet who is creating one?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Hillary has come in with another Bush-Cheney light proposal.  This is exactly there policy in Pakistan.  What results have they gotten?  What results will she get?  Terrorism is a police not a military problem.  By Robert Pape's numbers there have been 300 terrorists attacks as part of 19 different terrorists campaign in the last 20 years - it is a mistake to generalize terrorists as some large evil other.  They are a small band of criminals who ought to hunted down wherever they are.  

by CardBoard 2007-08-01 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

A "police" action without permission is called an invasion.  You need military for that.  Oh, and unlike other countries we have invaded recently, Pakistan actually has nukes.

by jsamuel 2007-08-01 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

troops can be used in a police action.

by CardBoard 2007-08-01 10:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

he is ok putting in troops if they will not do their job as allies... do you have a problem with this?  with us attacking our real enemies?  Because Sen. Clinton, as of 2002, is perfectly fine with attacking a contrived Saddam Hussain.  Obama, unlike Clinton, has not advocated for a war yet a police action with no occupation.

by CardBoard 2007-08-01 10:20AM | 0 recs
The Big Difference

Between Obama's policy and the Bush Doctrine is that Obama would endorse unilateral strikes against terrorists who are targeting the United States.  That's far different than removing the rgime of a state and occupying a country.  

by madorskytapir 2007-08-01 09:54AM | 0 recs
attacking Al Qaeda is not pre-emptive

Really, Jerome, please to try to think.

by John DE 2007-08-01 09:56AM | 0 recs
Well, you called that one, Jerome.

Hillary was to his left last night.

And she is right on this one. I have not seen a comment from Edwards, but I would be very surprised if he agreed with Obama's rash statements.

by TomP 2007-08-01 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, you called that one, Jerome.

NBC's Lauren Appelbaum reports that Edwards, on the other hand, agreed with Obama, though admitted he didn't watch the speech or see a transcript.

"My belief is that we have a responsibility to find bin Laden and al Qaeda wherever they operate," Edwards said on camera. "I think we need to maximize pressure on Musharraf and the Pakistani government. If they can't do the job, then we have to do it."

by megaplayboy 2007-08-02 04:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

key element of what he says is this:

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

by bruh21 2007-08-01 09:57AM | 0 recs
Bush had actionable intelligence

Return the power to declare war Congress.

by mrobinsong 2007-08-01 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

if so - they are idiots. The use of military force is a blunt instrument that causes as much damage to your goals as it creates. Sometimes its the only choice, but as I said- its the last choice.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 10:02AM | 0 recs
Is this a problem?

Obama wants to get out of Iraq and get back to fighting Bin Laden around the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. And he would like Musharraf's help, but he's ready to go after the terrorists even without his help.

It's not like he's talking about overthrowing Pakistan's government. Comparing this plan to Bush invading Iraq is very intellectually dishonest and beneath MyDD.

by Kal 2007-08-01 10:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Is this a problem?

Same Bush mentality that thinks you can throw down in another country and there will be no consequences in that country.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-08-01 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Is this a problem?

Let me ask the question again- do you envision any situation in which unilateral action like this becomes necessary, and if so, how does it differ from what Obama has said?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Is this a problem?

"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."

Not only does he understand the consequences of possible action in the mountains on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, but he also understands  how to prevent the need for such action and truly root out terrorists in the region. Obama clearly understands the consequences of ill-advised military action as evidenced by his   "we have to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in" statement in reference to redeploying troops from Iraq.

by ctnewbie18 2007-08-01 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Is this a problem?

Please, point out where Obama is advocating overthrowing Musharraf's government. It's not like we're going to be rolling into Islamabad or Karachi to install our own government. Tactical strikes and troops on the ground around the Afghanistan/Pakistan border are a far cry from overthrowing a government.

Heck, you could interpret Obama's remarks as being a continuation of the (then successful) Bush Afghanistan policy of late '01.

Saying that Obama is the same as Bush because Obama wants to hunt Al Qaeda is dishonest on many levels.

And I'm not some Obama Radical. Obama isn't even my number one choice (That's Gore, followed by Edwards).

Your post, IMHO, is a knee-jerk reaction without giving any serious thought to Obama's words or policy proposal. Lumping him in with Bush is not doing you and this site any good.

by Kal 2007-08-01 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Is this a problem?

They don't want to discuss consequences. They have Obama blinders on and everything looks rosy to them. Sending troops into Pakistan would have enormous disastrous consequences. Bombing Pakistan unilaterally would completely destabilize what little government they have. It would invite rebellion and would place nukes in the hands of our enemies. Pakistan is already unstable enough. We don't need any of our Presidential candidates using blustery language to threaten our allies militarily. Obama's plan is just plain stupid. And it would lead to an expansive war that we would be unable to contain. It would make the Iraq debacle seem like we had just been playing Cowboys and Indians.

by DoIT 2007-08-01 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Is this a problem?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oliver-wil lis/barack-obama-vows-to-kill_b_58765.ht ml

By the way, it's not like we'd be bombing Islamabad.  Any bombing done would almost certainly be very limited in scope, since we're basically talking about taking out a couple of camps and probably two high-profile targets.  The operation could actually be done with the cooperation of Pakistan.  All they'd have to do is permit a time and scope limited operation in Western Pakistan, with the narrow goal of decapitating the AQ leadership and destroying a few training camps.

And the list of things we could do short of this is considerable.  If Pakistan won't do what is necessary to remove a terrorist organization from their territory, we will have to do whatever is possible to make it happen.  Or else, somewhere and someday, we'll get hit again.

I'm pretty sure that if the situation is truly so volatile that unilateral action would lead to the collapse of the Pakistani government, we wouldn't take unilateral action.  But to rule out unilateral action in dealing with bin Laden, as Bush seems to have done(curiously, given his attitude elsewhere in the world), is a grave mistake, and I fear we will pay the price for the current administration's inaction on the one meaningful threat to the safety of our citizens.

by megaplayboy 2007-08-02 04:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

I have a problem with absolutes. That's why I find  the outrage here bothersome. I mean- is he serious that he can envision no circumstance in which unilateral action like this maybe necessary?

by bruh21 2007-08-01 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mid-East

i assuming a process that would be more involved - and to some degree it seems indicated by what obama actually said. people seem to leap to the last step as if that's the only thing he speech mentions.

by bruh21 2007-08-01 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

"Basically, a continuation of the Bush doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive attacks in the mid-east, with Obama adding Pakistan to the list."

Wow... What in depth analysis! What insight! What clarity of thought! What analysis!

It's becoming apparent that some of the front-pagers clearly aren't putting in the same amount of work before putting up diaries. I'd love to see someone else do a diary actually analyzing the 5 parts of Obama's plan and giving a more informed, unbiased opinion.

by ctnewbie18 2007-08-01 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

If people ever get past Obama's statements on Pakistan and look at the rest of the speech, you'll notice many simimlarities between it and one given by Mark Warner last September regarding the homefront (http://www.forwardtogetherpac.com/conten ts/show/279).

I wish Warner were in the race, but it's nice to see some of his policies being adopted by Obama. Also, the bit about bipartisanship also sounds a bit Obama -ish, although I'd argue that Obama is more concerned about building broad support for liberal policies (reagan-of-the-left) and Warner is more focused on pragmatism. I'm not sure which approach is better...

by ctnewbie18 2007-08-01 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

So, attacking Osama Bin Laden, who is responsible for 9/11, is considered a "pre-emptive attack"? I wouldn't think so.

by Greg The Wisconsin Democrat 2007-08-01 10:53AM | 0 recs

And if countries refuse to allow us to go after Bin Laden, we just have to shrug and say, "Oh well!"

by Kal 2007-08-01 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Lets be honest Jerome...

If there were groups in the U.S. plotting terrorist attacks on Cuba, and if the U.S. were aware of this activity and unwilling to confront it or cooperative with Cuba's efforts to suppress it, then, yes, Cuba would might be justified in stiking (other circumstances would matter too, of course, but that only further illustrates the problem with all these simple-minded reactions to Obama's speech).

However, your example is nothing like this, I presume.

Next analogy.

by DPW 2007-08-01 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Thank God!!!

Someone has finally decided to grow the balls enough to not let Bin Laden and Al-Zarqawi hide in Pakistan and release an endless stream of propaganda videos!

Someone has finally decided to end the existence of the recruitment wing of Al-Qaeda, which has succesfully grown groups in Iraq and across the world!

Someone has finally decided to take the threat seriously!  Thank God!

by Jacor 2007-08-01 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Lets be honest Jerome...

Actually, the fact that they are actively plotting (or showing other indications of an imminent threat) is the most important consideration there is. Nothing justifies otherwise inappropriate behavior more than the defense of self or others. If the motivation for attacking is based solely on past wrongful acts, however, then we're just talking about punishment. The justification of punishment involves some very unique considerations (both prudential and moral) that do not apply to defensive actions. I'm not inclined to articulate an entire theory of punishment here (suffice it to say that I'm not a retributivist, though), but I will note that punishment normally only follows some kind of trial. Here, we're talking about killing without any kind of process. Also, jurisdiction and sovereignty are far more relevant to the authority to punish than the permissibility of defensive acts (according to my view of political morality; I'm not making a legal argument).

But, regarding your Cuba example, I don't know the details and, so, can't really give a specific response. I'm genuinely curious as to what you mean by "continue to work to overthrow the Castro regime." What specifically do we imagine they are doing? Is it a violent overthrow? (they usually are, but I thought I'd ask) Is there any serious chance that it will occur or is it idle talk (which might be protected speech in this country--this is relevant to what the US should allow). It's cool if you don't feel like going into it, but it sounds interesting. I happen to hate how our country has handled Cuba, so it interests me.

by DPW 2007-08-01 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

I apologize if anyone has already made the point I'm going to make, but i'm not going to read through all 200+ comments to find out.

In his speech, which i read in full, he says IF we have actionable intelligence, and IF Musharraf refuses to act, he would authorize military action. I don't think that's unreasonable. But isn't nice how everyone just ignores those caveats and goes right into the yellow journalism mode and screams out "Obama wants to invade Pakistan"?

Obama is basically saying, Pakistan doesn't get to veto whether or not America is gonna protect itself. And would anyone REALLY be against sending special forces into pakistan(with or without Musharraf's assent) to KILL OSAMA BIN LADEN? Is someone really gonna say Pakistan gets to decide whether or not we bring OBL to justice?


And i would argue, if there is actionable intelligence, and if Musharraf wont act on it. Then the CIC not only has a right, but a responsibility to protect his citizens and his country. I know, this is the same argument GW used to get us into Iraq. The difference? OBAMA IS NOT GEORGE W BUSH!

Obama is an adult. GWB is a adolescent with severe delusions.

by freaktown 2007-08-01 12:37PM | 0 recs
Operative words: invade without permission

Check out international treaties our country designed, signed and ratified after WW II. You cannot invade another country. Cannot bomb.

How about this? The Canadian government threatens to send bombers and troops to invade our country because they fear terrorists that are living here might sneak across the border and blow up something. Canadians say they have actionable intelligence.

It's illegal! do you want another Bush?

by mrobinsong 2007-08-01 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Operative words: invade without permission

I disagree with you on this.  It is a long-standing tenet of international law that countries may take action to defend themselves, even if that means violating the territorial sovereignty of another.  See Article 51 of the UN Charter on the inherent right of self-defense.  If you don't think going after Osama bin Laden is self-defense, then I guess we can agree to disagree, but I frankly find that a difficult position to defend.

by rar38 2007-08-01 09:55PM | 0 recs
Operative words: invade without permission

Check out international treaties our country designed, signed and ratified after WW II. You cannot invade another country. Cannot bomb.

How about this? The Canadian government threatens to send bombers and troops to invade our country because they fear terrorists that are living here might sneak across the border and blow up something. Canadians say they have actionable intelligence.

It's illegal! do you want another Bush?

by mrobinsong 2007-08-01 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

I do not agree that Obama is proposing a continuation of the Bush/Cheney unilateral militarism. He is PRECISELY on point in describing what is happening today in northwest Pakistan. That being the Al quaeda murderers of 3000 american civilians and there partners in crime, the Taliban are not only living easy {with the protection and assistance of Pakistani intelligence services]they are regrouping to carry out another attack on us. It simply  is not true that Pakistan is innocent and fully sovereign with respect to the Taliban and Al quaeda. Whether or not it is acted upon, I want my president {whoever that might be} to say exactly what Obama stated today.

by whippoorwill 2007-08-01 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

This isn't as clear cut as you would make it, Jerome. While I have some questions about Obama's statement, and I would like to see him asked those questions, I don't think Obama is necessarily endorsing pre-emptive war and ongoing GWOT madness.

IF Obama's administration is clear about identifying high-level Al-Qaeda operating at a specific location, and IF Musharraf refuses to do anything to apprehend outlaws so named by international criminal bodies, then America might be able to make a case to the international community that this action is justified.

Sovereignty isn't so absolute that a state should be able to simply ignore the international community if there's proof that the Al Qaeda leadership is living comfortably within its borders. Does that warrant an incursion into Pakistan? This has to be decided in a case-by-case way, but possibly, given the right circumstances.

But both the evidence and the rules of engagement would have to be crystal-clear, and extremely strict. The following conditions would have to be in place: First, we are going after bin Laden, Zawahiri or their immediate right-hand men (one of the top 5 Al Qaeda people). Second, we have shown Musharraf rock-solid intelligence locating these people, yet Musharraf refuses to apprehend them. Third, we will avoid any engagement that would hit a Pakistani civilian zone (no airstrikes in the middle of some town or urban warfare in the streets of Peshawar). Fourth, we have already consulted with various international bodies, such as the UN and the Arab League, and they agree. And finally, we will use an airstrike only as a last resort, after making an attempt to capture Osama and his lieutenants ALIVE.

That's a laundry list of (I think) sensible conditions that no politician is going to list when trying to sound tough on terrorism.

The one point I suspect I disagree with Obama on: If our point is to put an end to the ill-conceived "War on Terror," then we should avoid making martyrs out of our biggest enemies whenever possible. We should capture bin Laden and let him rot in a prison for the rest of his life. Give him as little satisfaction as possible.

I'm pretty confident that Obama understands most of these cautionary ideas. We still have plenty of time to size up the candidates, so we'll see what happens.  

by dzhessi 2007-08-01 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Obama lost my vote on this one.  Pakistan? Just what the F*&^ did they ever do to you that you want to blown them up and colonize them ala George Bush's Iraq?

Dont be mistaken, I'm still NOT voting for Hillary. When are Dean and Gore entering the race?

by AnthonyMason2k6 2007-08-01 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

At no point does OBAMA say he wants to -to make up a new verb- "iraq" Pakistan. He's saying Al Qaeda is hiding in Pakistan and if Musharraf won't deal with them, he will.

Are you really AGAINST bring Osama Bin Laden to justice? Because that's what Obama is talkign about here. He's not talking about invading or democratizing or committing us to a never-ending quagmire. He's just saying the people who murdered 3000 americans are hiding in the Pakistani Mountains, and we're gonna find them. With Musharraf's help would be nice, but he's not going to let Musharraf PROTECT them any longer.

by freaktown 2007-08-01 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

read july 25 senate CFR statement  

Here you will see how torn Barack was during the last week.

He had Hillarys niave statement and he also had to deal with the REAL TRUTH

That lead him to  SAY THE RIGHT THING

and that wasn't good for POLLS

But it is Good for the world.

by DANIELLECLARKE 2007-08-01 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

What laughable bullshit Armstrong. Obama did NOT call for invading and occupying Pakistan. But he's not going to shovel $12 billion a year to the Pakistani military like Bush so Musharraf can protect al Qaeda.

Obama's all for taking them out if we have actionable intel just as Hillary was forced to admit she was today when questioned about it. Any candidate who doesn't back such common sense goals and tactics will quickly be relegated to Kucinich/Gravel status.

by markg8 2007-08-01 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

All the spin notwithstanding this position of Obama's is consistent with his own long-standing comments on the Iraq war and terrorism generally.  If you accept the rationale of the conflict between al-Qaeda and the US, which has much evidence to support it whether you accept the GWOT frame or not, the idea that the US would use military force in the one theatre where these enemies are currently and clearly operating is a reasonable proposition.

Frankly I think Senator Obama has staked out a very cogent argument which exposes the flaws in the policies of the Bush administration as well as weaknesses in the positions of other candidates.  Say what you will about Senator Obama there is rarely a position taken by him which is not founded on very convincing logic.

One of the significant points which I haven't seen discussed here much is the complete and utter failure of the Waziristan accord recently.  It is reasonable to doubt the intentions of Musharraf in this regard.  I wonder how many of us are aware of the historic involvement and influence of the Pakistani ISI in the rise of the Taliban and the machinations of other anti-US Islamic groups, both politically and in their terrorist activities.  Google the ISI, if you dare, and check it out.  It is not always clear whose side Pakistan is on, at least at different levels within their leadership and institutions.

If you accept that al-Qaeda is using these localities to operate from, and there seems to be no dissenting opinions on this point, why would you dispute his position?  In fact, don't you wonder why this hasn't been US policy since 2001?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-08-01 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Finally, someone with reason comes along. Thank You, very well said. Obama remains consistent. This policy speech is not some sort of new schpiel on Obama's part, It's just that many on this board (Georgegep, areyouready and co) simply were unaware of his positions. They really need to go read up on Obama's long-standing positions before opining....

by rapcetera 2007-08-01 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Obama is the man!

What people don't seem to realize is that Pakistan is a 'disaster waiting to happen' and needs to be addressed soon and urgently too. If attempts at Mushraf's life is by the extremists successful and the sympathizers of Osama and Taliban take over, there is big trouble for the US interests in the region.

Sometimes I feel partisan politics has totally eaten up sense of reasoning of most Americans.

by TheDonald 2007-08-01 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

With this sleazy smear on Obama, it is clear that Mr. Armstrong has tipped his hand, and this blog should change it's name from MyDD.com to MyHillaryClinton.com.

I doubt Mr. Armstrong seriously supports surrender to Bin Laden and al Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan. After all 3000 people were murdered by that group, and Mr. Bush let them get away at Tora Bora. John Kerry made repeated note of that fact in 2004. Does anyone doubt that President Kerry would have attacked the tribal zones of Pakistan in order to get Bin Laden or others, that are plotting to attack again? The war in Iraq was a distraction from the real war we should have finished in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Do you seem to forget that the Taliban were a creation of Pakistan's ISI intelligence service? Do you forget that Pakistan was running a global nuclear black market?

It's amazing that Mr. Armstrong would support surrender to such threats.

But, it's also disingenuous. So, let's study Mr. Armstrong's real motives for smearing and lying about Obama:

Mr. Armstrong was all set to be on the Mark Warner gravy train. Mark Warner showed up to Tom Harkin's steak fry in Iowa when Obama was the speaker. Everyone fell in love with Obama there, and ignored Gov. Warner. This, and the fact that DLC corporate style candidate Warner couldn't raise any money, led him to give up his presidential campaign, and thus Mr. Armstrong lost out on the gravy.

Ah, but what could put Mark Warner back in play? Naturally pro-corporate DLC war hawk, and Iraq War supporter and former member of the board of Walmart, Hillary Clinton would very likely look to Mark Warner as a V.P. candidate. She knows she has go southern, and why not a corporate guy with an A rating from the NRA to have at her side? Thus, Armstrong has calculated how to get back in the game, by joining the VP campaign staff of Warner with team Hillary. (Of course it's tough competition because DLC ex-chair Vilsack is humping Hillary's leg to be VP. And who knows, Hillary could go with her real soul mate, and law school BFF, Joe Lieberman as her running mate.)

This perfectly explains the radical right wing smears Mr. Armstrong as unleashed on Obama.

It's laughable to suggest Obama wants to continue the Bush-Hillary war in the middle east. After all Hillary is in the pocket of AIPAC, which wants nothing more that total genocide of Arab peoples. So, bloodlust in the middle east is Hillary's desire, not Obama's.

Obama was simply talking about doing the right thing -- having a policy to go after those that actually attacked us on 9/11 and not having a war for oil and neo-con bloodlust, which is what Hillary voted for.

And I say all of this is a John Edwards supporter.

And thankfully if democrats are stupid enough to nominate the Clinton mafia back into to have more Nafta and GATT deals that sell out our workers, people who want to have clean hands on election day can vote for someone else, be it Nader, or another Nader type.

Because Mr. Armstrong is proof that the Democratic party is as corrupt and bought when it comes to the war in Iraq as the GOP.

If they aren't why haven't they cut off funding? Oh, that 60 votes lie again, right? Pelosi and Reid don't even have to bring up Bush's money bills for a vote. The funding can just run out. But, oh know, we can't cut off funding for more genocide and Halliburton.

Well, anyway, I wash my hands of MyHillaryClinton.com.  This blog is deleted from my reading list.

Liars like Mr. Armstrong should be in jail.

by LoganGawain 2007-08-01 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

read july 25 senate CFR statement  

Here you will see how torn Barack was during the last week.

He had Hillarys niave statement and he also had to deal with the REAL TRUTH

That lead him to  SAY THE RIGHT THING

and that wasn't good for POLLS

But it is Good for the world.

by DANIELLECLARKE 2007-08-01 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan
Where in his speech did Obama use the word "invade" or the word "invasion"
If we put the same energy of placing special forces...SEALS etc into Pak as we are now doing in Iran....
by DenverD 2007-08-01 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan
Where in his speech did Obama use the word "invade" or the word "invasion"
If we put the same energy of placing special forces...SEALS etc into Pak as we are now doing in Iran....
by DenverD 2007-08-01 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

DenverD is right.  This is entirely different from Iraq. Obama is not advocating the overthrow of Musharaf but rather the willingness to send in troops to root out terrorist camps in the hills of Pakistan.  The territory in question is on the border and not near the civilized portions of Pakistan.  Armstrong is clearly on an anti-Obama tirade.  

by Lawdawg 2007-08-01 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Let me get this straight -- do we talk to these countries leaders before we bomb them?  Last week Obama wanted to talk to world leaders regardless of whether they were dictators or not without conditions.  Now he wants to be part of the Bush Doctrine -- bomb first and ask questions later. Obama -- you are not ready for Prime Time.  You want to be President so badly but you haven't a clue what it means.  I will take age and experience over youth and exuberance any day.

by changehorses08 2007-08-01 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Let me get this straight -- do we talk to these countries leaders before we bomb them?  Last week Obama wanted to talk to world leaders regardless of whether they were dictators or not without conditions.  Now he wants to be part of the Bush Doctrine -- bomb first and ask questions later. Obama -- you are not ready for Prime Time.  You want to be President so badly but you haven't a clue what it means.  I will take age and experience over youth and exuberance any day.

by changehorses08 2007-08-01 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Sounds to me like all the fat cats who put up money for Obama wanted payback.  They wanted him to prove that he would carry on the policies of G W Bush.  Will the cost him the nomination--probably.  Will he run as an Independent--you betcha.  It would be very hard to elect a Republican in this climate so I think this mob co-opted a Dem. Obama I liked you better when you were hopeful.  Now you're just hopeless.

by changehorses08 2007-08-01 08:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Obama will not run a third party campaign.

by robliberal 2007-08-01 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

I hope you're right--Boy do I hope you're right.

by changehorses08 2007-08-01 11:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

       I couldn't agree more with Obama.  He is absolutely right
that we must begin withdrawing from Iraq, where our
troops are caught in the middle of a civil war, and significantly
increase our presence in Afghanistan.  Bin Laden and Al Qaeda
are our true enemies and the Great Danger, and we must
act accordingly.  No doubt, as we started shifting our troops
and made our intentions very clear, we would gain support
from other countries who feared and wanted Al Qaeda destroyed.  And we should make it very clear to Pakistan - we
would very much appreciate their help, but if it is not forthcoming, we will invade the western portion of Pakistan
and do the job ourselves(and perhaps with the aid of other nations).  This is a matter of greatest national security, and
Bin Laden and Al Qaeda should be no safer in Pakistan then they
were in Afghanistan.
     And Obama's speech also shows why Republicans are so weak and vulnerable on matters of national security.  On their  
watch, they permit the attacks on 9/11/01, invade Afghanistan
with far too few troops and let Bin Laden and most of Al Qaeda
escape.  Then they launch a completely unjustified and illegal
invasion of Iraq, and totally screw up the occupation and lose
the support of the Iraqi people.  Bush has failed to secure Iraq,
failed in the rebuilding, and created seemingly unlimited
bloodshed.  All at the cost of hundreds of billions and eventually
trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of US casualties(not to
mention millions of Iraqi casualties).  And meanwhile the man
and the organization which launched those horrendous 9/11/01
attacks have regrouped and are stronger than ever!  Bush has
done a "heckuva job".
      Republicans talk a good game and swagger a lot, and they are terrific warmongers, but they have no idea what they are doing in military matters and foreign policy, and Obama has just
exposed their gaping weaknesses.
by cynical yet hopeful 2007-08-02 12:18AM | 0 recs
Just For the Record

This is how the story appeared on Al Jazeera.  It is an insightful read and I had not previously seen the comments by Tariq Azeem, Pakistan's Minister of State for Information (emphasis added):

Obama warns Pakistan over al-Qaeda

Barack Obama, the US presidential candidate, has said he would be prepared to attack al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan without Islamabad's approval.

The Democratic senator's agressive tone in his first major foreign policy speech followed a criticism last week from his main rival, Hillary Clinton, that his judgment on foreign policy was naive.

Obama's stance comes amid claims by US officials that Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, has been unable to control a resurgent al-Qaeda and Taliban in areas of northwest Pakistan.

Tariq Azeem, Pakistan's minister of state for information, called the comments "sheer ignorance."

'Actionable intelligence'

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and president Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said on Wednesday.

"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."

US sources have also spoken of concerns new recruits could be being trained there for attacks against the US.

Azeem said: "Such statements are being made out of sheer ignorance. They are not fully apprised about the ground realities and not aware of the efforts by Pakistan."

Islamabad has bristled against a string of similar threats in recent weeks by the administration of George Bush, the US president, whose top counter-terrorism official in July refused to rule out US strikes in Pakistan.

Azeem said: "We have said before that we will not allow anyone to infringe our sovereignty.

"If there is any actionable intelligence they should tell us and only our forces will take action on it and they are quite capable of it."

Washington failures

The minister suggested that Obama's comments were prompted by Washington's inability to curb the ongoing Taliban campaigns in neighbouring Afghanistan, where US-led forces toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001.

"This seems to be a reaction to their own failure in Afghanistan to control the US casualties and instead of addressing the situation there, they are finding scapegoats and damaging their own cause," Azeem said.

Tasnim Aslam, a spokeswoman for Pakistan's foreign ministry, told AFP she would not comment as Obama was not president, but added: "These are serious matters and should not be used for point-scoring.

"Political candidates and commentators should show responsibility."

'Obama naive'

The Illinois Democrat is trying to convince Americans he has the foreign policy heft to be president after Clinton questioned his readiness to be commander-in-chief.

Clinton last week labelled Obama naive for saying he would be willing to meet the leaders of Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea and Venezuela without preconditions in his first year in office.

A poll by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News said Clinton has widened her lead over Obama, going up to 43 per cent in July from 39 per cent in June.

Obama tallied 22 per cent, down from 25 per cent in June.

Those polled cited Clinton's experience and competence highest among her positive attributes.

Obama said he would make hundreds of millions of dollars in US military aid to Pakistan conditional on Pakistan making substantial progress in closing down training camps, evicting foreign fighters and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks on Afghanistan.

The White House said Pakistan was working hard to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and Washington was doing what it could in support.

"At the same time, we recognise the sovereignty of the Pakistani government and realise that they're putting on a serious push... They're taking the fight to al-Qaeda," spokesman Tony Snow said.

Al Jazeera 1 August 2007 Source: Agencies

Apologies for the posting of a complete article but somehow I wonder if your readers would have otherwise been exposed to this point of view.  As the Foreign Minister of Pakistan remarked the other day in respect of the US nuclear deal with India, 'with friends like this who needs enemies?'

Who is kidding who about Pakistan?  And why was Obama mistaken to point this out?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-08-02 03:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

If we learned one thing out of Iraq (which the Russians learned in Afghanistan) is to never commit non-Muslims ground troops in a muslim country. Of course no one likes foreign occupational troops very much, but for us to act unilateraly in Pakistan would be a disaster.

I'm no fan of the Pakistani government and they have dragged their heels in going after Al-Qaeda. But I don't think its because they are secret buddies of Osama like many in Saudi Arabia are. The nation is very precariously balanced and for us to go in and just start bombing targets as Obama suggests is probably the best way to cause the country to collape into anarchy.  Just plain stupid talk from someone who should know better.

by alexmhogan 2007-08-02 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Preemptive?  That is simply ridiculous.  There is nothing even remotely "preemptive" about going into a country to hunt down the leader of the gang who blew up the World Trade Center and killed 3,000 citizens.  That is called "retaliation" or "retribution" or "punishment".

I am a longtime die hard congenital democrat.  I am a county Dem committee member.  I and many of my friends have always thought that Bush's war in Iraq was the worst foreign policy disaster in our history, but chasing Bin Laden into Pakistan was something that should have happened as soon as he went there.  If we had gone in "hot pursuit" not only would we be entirely justified in doing it, but all of the Pakistani tribal leaders would have entirely understood it because IT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY WOULD DO THEMSELVES.  

It is still not too late to do it.  Obama has it right.  We should go after the guy who attacked us.  There is no need to defend such an action because it defends itself, even with the inhabitants of the region we go into.  Anyone who cant see this is out of touch with the reality of most people's views of crime and punishment.

Steve Kyle

by sck5 2007-08-02 05:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan
Seriously, I remember now why I don't go to places like this or Kos anymore.  Most of you people who are slamming Obama CLEARLY haven't actually read or listened to his speech.  There are real grounds for not agreeing with what he says, but most of you morons should be embarrassed for what you've written here as you're obviously writing about someone else's mischaracterization (sp?) of what Obama actually said.
by Jotham Stavely 2007-08-02 05:52AM | 0 recs
Teleprompter Expertise

If Richard Clark wrote a speech for me, I could stand infront of a tele-prompter and read it, too!

Unfortunately for Obama, the debates illustrated that he's as clueless about how to respond to a terrorist attack as he is about Presidential diplomacy.

by BigBoyBlue 2007-08-02 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan
Obama gave a well thought out, clear and concise speech. He is right on target. Of course we should be going after the bad guys who hit us on 9-11, and not be in the middle of a sectarian conflict in Iraq. Sounds like common sense to me. And he didn't say he'd invade Pakistan, he said he'd attack the Taliban. Those hills may be legally part of Pakistan, but one can hardly call it invading Pakistan to strike a small terrorist training camp in a region beyond the control of any state government.
And he understands the importance of non-military action, winning hearts and minds.
This is clearly a guy who "gets it" and uses his head. Too bad he wasn't in charge on 9-11. But, thankfully, it looks like he will be our next president, and I look forward to it.
by Sensible Centrist 2007-08-02 10:46AM | 0 recs
Mideast: Pakistan?

Since when has Pakistan been a part of the Middle East?

by LiberalFromPA 2007-08-03 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

Obama advanced a racist argument for attacks on Iran and Pakistan and this really looks silly to me. Making a comparison between the "Islamic world" and the Soviet Union, he argued that the religious outlook of Iranians and Pakistanis made them less prone to compromise and reason and more warlike. But I don't think this is the main idea. They are humans though, and they want peace in their lives as well.
______________ _

Ada / online stock trading

by timada 2008-02-26 01:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and the Mideast: Pakistan

I can see here stock trading programs strategy and let me tell you why: the troops seem to be shifting the interest area to dominate as power circles create around that area which it is clearly full of oil. Al-Queda is just a pretext to be there and the truth is that Americans die to make big oil corporations rich.

by tiberiu 2008-02-26 06:56AM | 0 recs


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