On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

Obama fans have been posting that John Edwards advocates for the unilateral military adventure in Pakistan as does Obama:

"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."
Edwards lack of clarity is a disappointment, and he raises a confusing logic that is shared with Obama's 'end one war to fight another' rhetoric about going after al Qaeda. If Edwards says we need to go after "al Qaeda wherever they operate", which is basically what Obama is saying, then how is this not advocating for staying in Iraq? Because we all know that al Qaeda now has a foothold in Iraq, and they certainly will operate there once we leave. They didn't before, but they do now; and they won't be leaving.

Adding Pakistan to the list of countries that the US does unilateral military action in isn't going to solve a damn thing. The only real solution for our role in their region is to get off their oil, get out of their countries, and work with other nations to promote global accord.

The diplomatic tone of Bill Richardson seems more conducive to gaining peace in the region than does the 'a different war' rhetoric of Obama. The talk about dropping bombs and/or invading another country as a "last resort" is less bellicose than the "I will" Obama message. I've begun to believe that Richardson is gaining traction in Iowa at the expense of Obama, and this might provide a further opening.

Chris Dodd was the only Democrat who leveled onto Obama, saying "it is dangerous and irresponsible to leave even the impression the United States would needlessly and publicly provoke a nuclear power." Good for him. Who knows if it will move him beyond 1% nationally, but he's been saying all the right things.

Some complain about equating the unilateral action that Obama and others are advocating for with the Bush preemption doctrine. There's a lot of re-framing and rationalizing the Pakistan issue as one of going after Osama for 9/11 (which somehow over-rides the constitutional necessity of having congressional approval for acts of war), but even granting the "target" characterization of the unilateral act, the act of military strikes and possibly invading Pakistan is likely to make things worse:

Teresita Schaffer, a former State Department official with responsibility for the region and now director of the South Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that an overt U.S. military strike inside Pakistani territory would be a particular blow to Musharraf, who is a military leader, and could well lead to his ouster. It also would bolster leaders hostile to the United States in both the struggle for national leadership and local control of the tribal areas, she said.

"Once you have made that kind of operation, everything connected to the United States, even more than before, is believed to be the enemy," Schaffer said. "You've probably created a safe haven that works even better than before."

It's unfortunate that Bush has pushed our foreign policy toward this direction, where unilateral acts of war in other countries, with no congressional approval, have become acceptable to some Democrats. And especially in dealing with country the size and stature of Pakistan. Iowans are not too thrilled either.

Tags: 2008 presidential (all tags)

Comments

67 Comments

Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

"Teresita Schaffer, a former State Department official with responsibility for the region and now director of the South Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that an overt U.S. military strike inside Pakistani territory would be a particular blow to Musharraf, who is a military leader, and could well lead to his ouster. It also would bolster leaders hostile to the United States in both the struggle for national leadership and local control of the tribal areas, she said."

Which is why I'm betting he's not actually going to do it.

by MNPundit 2007-08-02 07:48AM | 0 recs
Edwards campaign

Edwards campaign is clueless. Instead of seizing this opportunity to get closer to Obama, he's asking all candidates to condemn Murdoch.

It's just a bizarre campaign.

by areyouready 2007-08-02 07:49AM | 0 recs
I like Edwards lack of clarity
on FOREIGN POLICY while the U.S. is engaged in multiple conflicts and wars.
He said exactly enough. Candidate Obama went too far.
by annefrank 2007-08-02 08:18AM | 0 recs
The Clintons and Murdoch are a Team

and Hillary IS the Fox News candidate. But Hillary supporters remain clueless about the danger of this alliance.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0 707/Defending_Hillary_from_the_left.html

by annefrank 2007-08-02 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clintons and Murdoch are a Team

I think Edwards was trying to put Hillary in an awkward position with the Fox thing, since Murdoch donated to her campaign and whatnot

by Max Fletcher 2007-08-02 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards campaign

Murdoch seems worthy of my condemnation.

by Max Fletcher 2007-08-02 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards campaign

Only the tiniest faction of the tiny blogsphere will care about Murdoch. It is extremely bizarre that he picks up a fight with Murdoch.

Sigh. He is also NOT ready for prime time.

by areyouready 2007-08-02 08:32AM | 0 recs
I'll be damned.

I am damn suprised that Hillary managed to out manuever  Obama and Edwards on foreign policy by pre emptively moving to the left of the two of them...while accepting a commonly held hawkish belief

HA...this is priceless...really...just priceless

by world dictator 2007-08-02 07:50AM | 0 recs
Argument against staying in Iraq

Obama had a clear argument for why al Qaeda isn't a sufficient reason to stay in Iraq:

[W]e must recognize that al Qaeda is not the primary source of violence in Iraq, and has little support -- not from Shia and Kurds who al Qaeda has targeted, or Sunni tribes hostile to foreigners. On the contrary, al Qaeda's appeal within Iraq is enhanced by our troop presence.

Ending the war will help isolate al Qaeda and give Iraqis the incentive and opportunity to take them out. It will also allow us to direct badly needed resources to Afghanistan.

by psericks 2007-08-02 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Argument against staying in Iraq

"Ending the war will help isolate al Qaeda and give Iraqis the incentive and opportunity to take them out. It will also allow us to direct badly needed resources to Afghanistan."

I don't get that.  Al Qaeda has provisionally allied with Sunnis to fight the Shia majority.  Why would a U.S. withdrawal sever that alliance?  What am I missing?

by justinh 2007-08-02 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Argument against staying in Iraq

Probably that al-Qaeda in Iraq is basing its success off of fighting the infidel American invaders and that when Iraqis are forced to run things, they will no longer be useful to that end or as widely supported.

Plus, all three of the major candidates, and I believe every candidate outside of Richardson and Kucinich, actually does advocate leaving forces in the region capable of launching attacks against any remnants of al-Qaeda activity.

by Max Fletcher 2007-08-02 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Argument against staying in Iraq
Al Qaeda has been on the outs with the Sunni insurgency for a while now.  
Any foreseeable regime in Iraq after our withdrawal (up to and including an Iranian-backed Shiite regime) would hardly be a safe haven for al Qaeda, as McCain and Giuliani like to suggest, quite the opposite.  
Obama's argument is that our presence only exacerbates the situation.
by psericks 2007-08-02 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

Hey if the newly elected President of the United States knows that Osama Bin Laden is in Pakistan, and where in particular he is, we got to take him out whatever way is necessary. End of story.

If a democratic president did not do that it would be the end of the democratic party.

by lafinur 2007-08-02 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

If a democratic president destablized a country allowing extremist to aqcuire nuclear weapons that would be the end of the democratic party and a lot of lives

by world dictator 2007-08-02 07:56AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

You raise hypotheticals. I speak in actuals.

Destabilize Pakistan? News fash! Its already destabilized. it is ALWAYS unstable and Musharraf will go soon so get used to it. Look at Pakistan's history of dictators. They all end up having to go and he will be no different. We are not married to the guy and he does not exclusively represent our interests. Once he goes there will be others - from the military or the "democratic" leadership both sectors of which represent the people who run the country and have the money- and we will buy them off the same way we have been buying off their leaders since their independence.

But to present these hypotheticals "Obama will destabilize Pakistan- Musharraf will be overthrown- Extremists will get nukes- We will be nuked" is silly. You have no basis for gleaning all these conclusions from what I wrote.

If we know Osama is hiding somewhere we take him out. If the pakistanis dont' like it tough luck. I don't like the way they have done nothing to find the guy either.

by lafinur 2007-08-02 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

You are host of this site. I will, therefore, try to do this as nicely as possible.

First, please stop calling everyone who disagrees with you an "Obama partisan." It's simply false. I support Edwards. Big Tent Democrat supports Dodd. There are many who support candidates other than Obama. We disagree with you because we think you are wrong on this issue.

Second, you still have not answered the question that I keep asking you: Is there any circumstance in which you can envision that diplomatic efforts have failed, where you would think unilateral action would be necessary? Your answer seems no. That's the point in which we disagree. In a perfect world, that answer would be yes for me too, but I don't believe in principle above reality.

Third, for that matter, answer the question others asked about whether you see a difference between Afghanistan and what Obama and other Democrats, including Edwards and Clinton, are advocating. If so, what is that difference. Let's assume for argument sake, since this is fact specific, that we didn't have the world behind us, then what should we have done after 9/11 with Al Qaeda?

Fourth, calling someone "confused" just because you don't agree with them isn't an answer. It's an assertion masquerading as one.

by bruh21 2007-08-02 07:55AM | 0 recs
Obama partisans

Speaking as an Obama partisan, I think that over the course of the last couple of months there has grown to be a certain reflexive action to anything that Jerome writes about that candidate among his supporters. It doesn't stem from a high level of critical thinking or objective reasoning, but neither have many of Jerome's posts regarding Obama.

I often tend to agree with Jerome about Obama not emphasizing the Democratic brand heavily enough and drawing a contrast between the two parties, but usually he will be totally skewering Obama on a certain point and ignoring the other candidates who are doing the same exact thing (like he did with the email post, for example).

This is one such occasion: he is taking a position that seems to be a no-brainer--going after terrorist targets that present a threat to the United States--and trying to twist it as a major gaffe or something that distinguished Obama from the other candidates (though he backed off of that, likely after reading Big Tent Democrat's diaries).

by Max Fletcher 2007-08-02 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama partisans

Another example of this occurred when Jerome laid into Obama for agreeing to meet with Castro, Chavez, etc. He was basically tossing out beltway talking points to declare that Obama had committed a horrendous political gaffe, and didn't follow up when it turned out that a large majority of Democrats actually agreed with his position.

by Max Fletcher 2007-08-02 08:18AM | 0 recs
How could we not do it?

If there are high-level al-Qaeda targets meeting just miles away from an American troop presence and are looking to perpetrate more terrorist attacks across the world, how do we not take them out? If Musharraf can't do it, we definitely should.

You're really bending over backwards to find a way to criticize Obama here, Jerome.

By the way, it seems everyone quoted as being "unhappy" in the Iowans article you linked to is identified as already being a supporter of another candidate.

by Max Fletcher 2007-08-02 07:56AM | 0 recs
Couple of things

1. Please stop the "and/or invading another country" stuff. Both guys were likely talking about surgical strikes (or maybe even covert ops) to take out high value targets such as Osama bin Laden.

2. Leaving Iraq is not contradictory to pursuing al-Qaeda because both Obama and Edwards have said iirc that they would leave a small number of forces there to conduct anti-terrorist operations, similar operations to what they'd like to conduct in Pakistan, which is to say very much short of an invasion or occupation.

3. That said, I don't find thinly veiled threats against (nominal) US allies helpful either, and it would be best imo if our candidates exercised a little more subtlety when talking about potentially breaking international law.

by End game 2007-08-02 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

This story on the heels of yesterday's "Is Bush/Clinton fatigue Overblown?"  

Are the leaders of the blogosphere trying to make the progressive community comfortable with a Hillary fait-accompli?  I don't see much on the main pages endorsing or criticizing  a Democratic candidate, and I have blogged about the need of the netroots to coalesce behind a candidate and push with all of its might.  So, it's Hillary now, is it?  I am prepared to support Hillary if she is our nominee - but that support is limited to pulling the lever for her in the general election and biting my tongue from February to November of 2008.  My feet won't hit the pavement for her once, though, and it'll be the first time I've sat out an election (as an active campaigner) since I became old enough to vote in 1996.

But since the netroots has yet to coalesce behind a candidate, let me say a word in defense of Obama and Edwards on the Pakistan issue.  War is justified on the basis if self-defense.  I don't think anyone would doubt that Osama bin Laden attacked us and poses an imminent danger to the US.  Many on the left (including me) feel that the invasion of Afghanistan was justified after the leaders of Afghanistan harbored bin Laden and refused to yield him up to justice after he attacked us.  Now Pakistan is doing the same thing.  Afghanistan and Pakistan are not Iraq.  We would have the justification to mount military action in both countries to apprehend bin Laden.  Let's check Hillary's voting record.  Did she authorize the use of force to track down Al-Quaeda?  Yes.  And that authorization was the basis of our military action in Afghanistan.  That authorization also provides the basis to cross the mountains into Wasiristan and the Pashtun areas to get bin Laden in Pakistan.

I find it utterly hypocritical that the same hawks who support Hillary because of her aggressive foreign policy stance are now lambasting Obama and Edwards for an underlying policy that Clinton voted for and most definitely supports.  Obama and Edwards are showing the national security chops that the Hillary people claim are needed to win the general election.  So, I can only assume that the Hillary partisans are celebrating Obama and Edward's bad press while secretly agreeing with their underlying positions.  Not very sporting.  I would defend Hillary if I agreed with her even though I do not support her candidacy.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

I agree with what you said, except this:

I am prepared to support Hillary if she is our nominee - but that support is limited to pulling the lever for her in the general election and biting my tongue from February to November of 2008.  My feet won't hit the pavement for her once, though, and it'll be the first time I've sat out an election (as an active campaigner) since I became old enough to vote in 1996.

Hillary is not at the top of my list of favorite candidates, and probably not in the top 3 or 4, but if it's the summer/fall of 2008, I'm in Chicago or Minneapolis, and Wisconsin is looking like it's going to come down to who has bigger turnout, Hillary Clinton or Giuliani/Thompson/Romney, you can be damn sure I'm going to be in Wisconsin knocking on doors making sure we don't have another Republican in office. Hillary may not be an ideal candidate from a lot of perspectives, but she is far better on almost any major issue (health care, taxes, Iraq, Iran) than anyone the Republicans will be nominating and this election is too important to sit out (cliche, I know, but it's the truth).

by Max Fletcher 2007-08-02 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

I respect your principles.  God bless you.

I cannot get over my disagreements with Clinton enough to campaign for her.  I can only muster the strength to show up to the polls.  After knowing what her first two terms were like, anything more would make me feel dirty.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

Just because someone supports the idea of pre emptive doctrine does not mean that one supports the idea of pre emption everywhere around the world and in all case.

But of course if we use your logic the same critism could be leveled back at you and Obama/Edwards supporters. Those who critisize the underlying ideological positions behind attacking Iraq are now using them to justify their stance on attacking another country.

I'm still curious why the most hawkish adminstration in US history is unwilling to attack Pakistan if its such an easy solution.

by world dictator 2007-08-02 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

That's the thing, there are no ideological assumptions involved with going after bin Laden in Pakistan.  It's quite simple and honest actually - we should take out an imminent threat to the United States that is sure to try to attack us again.  If bin Laden is left at large, he will attempt to attack the United States.  I'm not basing that on conjecture or ideology.  I'm basing that on two prior attacks by the same man.  By cotrast, Iraq's "threat" to the US was purely conjectural and attenuated.  There simply wasn't adequate provocation to attack Iraq.  How is that inconsistent with the positions that Obama and Edwards are taking?  

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

Well first,

You're just flat out wrong. Unilateralism is obviously an underlying ideology included. Hence the "if they won't we will" rhetoric. I don't know what you call taking military action in another country but its just a synonm for unilateralism.

Second this is just the same wide eyed gross oversimplification  that got the Bush adminstraton in trouble. The "you're either with us or against us" mentality that lead to the problems we have now.

You can't just invade an ally country because you want to or because they haven't done enough. These aren't airstrikes were talking about. This is mountainy desert terrian which would require a shit load of troops going into an ally's country without their permission.

I can't believe that someone would be opposed to invading a country to rid the world of a dictator who oppresses his people but be for invading a country who is an ally and killing terrorists.

by world dictator 2007-08-02 08:59AM | 0 recs
Selective Amnesia

The US should not be the guarantor of the lives and political rights of every person in the world.  Only neo-cons think that the US has the right to police the world, removing governments because we arrogantly perceive it to be the best interests of other people.  Those who favor such a policy are the real ideologues and the real menaces to the peace of the world.

You forget that Mushareff is a dictator.  You forget that Mushareff came to power through a coup.  You forget this because you suffer from the same selective amnesia that has plagued American foreign policy for decades:  If you are an "ally" of the US, you can be as harsh and repressive a dicatator as you want (Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, Mubarek, the Saud family).  If we need your land or your resources, we can attack you and justify it in the name of human rights or stopping you from brutalizing your people.  Utter hypocrisy.

We have the right to attack countries that have attack us.  We have the right to go after Osama bin Laden no matter where he is.  You don't mind shielding a dictator like Mushareff?  Where's your human rights argument now?  Selective amnesia again, I guess.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

A country that harbours the terrorist mastermind who are has directly attacked us on two occasions has forfeited its right to be an ally of the US.

"Dictator who represses his people" is for "his people" to worry about and is not adequate justification for a US attack.  Now, if you want to embargo a dictatorship that brutalizes its people, I would be all for it.  But, I don't see you refusing to buy Chinese products any time soon.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

I continue to move closer to Edwards as the primary goes on, but I need to join the chorus disagreeing with Jerome regarding this point on Obama. I think the largest problem appears to be the conflation of missile strikes or quick-op teams, with an invasion.

It also, IMO, gives far too much credit to Pakistan as an ally. Pervez is taking a very risk-avoidant posture towards al-Qaeda in his country, although I think in the Bush environment he has little choice. A less stupid President would not be inciting the fear that pushes Musharraf towards the extremists, at least towards not upsetting them.

by torridjoe 2007-08-02 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

Missle strikes and covert ops into any country is a breach of sovereignty, and under international law can be considered a act of war. The affected country, and only the affected country, can choose to view such acts in the manner that best suits them.

The reality is that whether you call it an invasion or surgical strike or covert ops, they are all the same. In the hypothetical case set up by Obama, he would choose one or more of the above if he believed Musharraf refused to act (regardless of why since he acknowledged that Musharraf has "challenged" internally). He set up the hypothetical and called out Pakistan several times in his very public speech.

Edwards may agree with Obama, but actually we don't know that.  What we do know is that he didn't make such a public challenge to Pakistan and Musharraf but answered a reporter's question. He also indicated that he would favor some action if Pakistan could not act.  It is a small distinction but in the world of international politics and diplomacy, such small distinctions do matter.

That said, if Edwards agrees with Obama, then I have a difference of opinion with both. It doesn't change my support for Edwards though because there is so much more with which I agree.

by edgery 2007-08-02 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

All this entire issue shows is that what Clinton said in debate #2 was absolutely correct:

"There is really not much difference between my position and my colleagues'"

SHE has not had to "blurry the lines" between herself and the others, because that has been done by Obama and Edwards.  And only because there are indeed none of these lines apparent.  

by georgep 2007-08-02 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

"There is really not much difference between my position and my colleagues'"

On this issue I don't see that as a plus at all. I am an adamant Hillary supporter but her getting in line with Obama on this issue is making even me question the wisdom of supporting her. It is a serious turning point and I haven't made up my mind. I'm not known as someone to mince words. And if Hillary does not separate herself from Obama on this issue I will more than likely drop my support of her.

by DoIT 2007-08-02 09:59AM | 0 recs
Thank you, Jerome

This has been a good week for you (and Bowers). You've established yourself (again) as a bold progressive willing to counter conventional blather, as opposed to the front-pagers poseurs at Kos, who've been shamefully silent.

I've been amazed at the number of progressives willing to accept the hawkish posturing and war-mongering of the top-tier contenders. As I've said a hundred times in the last couple of days, there is a good reason that Musharraf doesn't go into the north and clean house, because he knows it would imflame the country and possibly lead to a coup that would hand nukes over to Islamic militants. So what Bahawk and Edwards and Clinton are saying is, if you don't destablize your country and empower militants, then we're going to disregard international law (and good sense) and do it for you. It's disgraceful if they actually mean it, and disgraceful if they don't.

There are so many things wrong with this approach; I don't have time to sort through all of them. What I hate most perhaps is Dems' advancing the myth that military force is almost magically effective. Hell, to listen to the comments by BaHawk's supporters is to think that military force is somehow cathartic. And that anything is justified as long as it has the goal of getting Bin Laden, forget how many innocents are killed, forget international law. I've got news for you, folks: things would probably get worse, not better, even if we got extremely lucky and killed Bin Laden himself. It's easy for Dems to knock Bush for failing to get Bin Laden; it's much harder to tell the truth and admit that we could knock off all of the AQ leadership and still not be safe.

Sorry, but some problems like the presence of Islamic militants in northwest Pakistan (and all over the world) don't have easy answers, least of all military ones. This problem was hundreds of years in the making--it's a product of deep cultural and political forces--and it's going to years to unmake. It would be nice if a presidential candidate had the balls to tell this simple truth, rather than ape Republicans and pretend to be tough.

Go check out the Islamic press. Let me give you a clue: people in the Muslim world are not happy that Great not-Bush Hope is threatening military action against a Muslim country. So much for BaHawk's diplomacy!

It's been amazing to see the rationalizations coming from BaHawk's supporters, the claims that 9-11 gives the United States the right to bomb civilians in another country. Let me ask those of you who like Obama because he opposed the war in Iraq, the illegal and immoral war: do Iraqis now have the right to send missiles toward DC so long as they're aimed at people in the Bush adminstration? By your logic they do.

I understand that no top-tier contender is going to fully share my views on national security, that any candidate is going to support imperialism and American exceptionalism. But I'm sickened to see that so few "progressive" bloggers are willing to stand up against this dangerous grandstanding. Of course, if and when BaHawk's views are fulfilled to their logical conclusion, if and when he orders military strikes that destabilize Pakistan and empower militants and inflame the Muslim world, oh, well then, every "progressive" blogger will be there to denounce him and blast anyone who doesn't.  

by david mizner 2007-08-02 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Thank you, Jerome

I disagree with a lot of what you said regarding hawk positions on issues but I gave you a 3 because at least you're fucking be consistent. You can't say unilateralism is bad and the use unilateral action when it suits your political purposes. Hypocrisy.

by world dictator 2007-08-02 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Thank you, Jerome

Self-defense does not require multi-national consent.  Read the UN Charter.  A country may unilaterally retaliate to defend itself.  But the only justification for unilateral action is self-defense.  This argument has nothing to do with Iraq since there was no element of eslf-defense involved in that situation.  

Unfortunately, you think that because Saddam Hussein was a dictator who repressed his people it justified invading Iraq.  Oh how long and freightening the list of invasion-worthy countries would be if your worldview prevailed.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 09:33AM | 0 recs
So Iran

could attack the United States, right? Or at least assasinate Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney?

by david mizner 2007-08-02 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: So Iran

When did joe lieberman or dick cheney attack Iran?  Sure, they are hostile and bellicose towards Iran, but their bellicosity hardly means that the US will attack Iran.  If the US does attack Iran, it is well-settled international law that Iran may retaliate in self-defense.  That may include stiking our leaders, and the thought of either Cheney or Lieberman bearing this risk personally hardly brings a tear to my eye.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 09:43AM | 0 recs
Okay, then

So Iraqis would be justified in bombing the White House, correct?

by david mizner 2007-08-02 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay, then

This line of conversation is approaching idiocy.  Actually, it was already there two comments ago.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay, then

But I do have to compliemt you though.  Your ability to reduce complex arguments to Fox News simplicity is rather astounding.  Sorry Bill, I won't be manoeuvred into pushing an idea to the most absurd extreme imagineable.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

bruh21 says we should be nice about it, but I don't see why.  When my offline friends are doing stupid things that I believe hurt their own interests and stymie their goals I try to give it to them straight.  Like most everyone here, probably, I admire Jerome a great deal.  He's a true visionary and will be remembered, I think, as one of the most important figures in this new digital age of U.S. politics.  I doubt his ego is so delicate that he can't take the heat.  He's off to a conference where thousands of people will have paid lots of money for the privilege of (among other things) telling him as much to his face.  Two years ago, I paid for the privilege at Democracy for Texas and did tell him this to his face, and I thanked him profusely and I meant it.

But yesterday this blog was wanker-central in the most basic sense of the term.  It was an utter circle-jerk. A complete waste of time, with people arguing past each other, misrepresenting the facts, taking sound bites out of context and achieving basically nothing in terms of an exchange of ideas.  A display worthy of Crossfire or Hardball.  Obviously, given the reaction of other candidates, Jerome and others twisted Obama's position to be something it wasn't.  Now he's back-peddling and trying to paint this a some kind of party-wide problem that should be open for wider discussion, or an opening for Richardson and Dodd, despite the fact that he never actually drew any meaningful distinction between Obama's scenario and Afghanistan.  Obama was attempting to get the 2005 Al Qaeda meeting on the media radar and instead he gets accused of nuking Pakistan.  I will freely admit that, taken out of the context of the previous four points, the quote sounds bad.  I will also admit that Obama needs to work with his speech writers to minimize these opportunities to paint him as green.  But aren't the blogs supposed to take the Dem's side when the media does that to them?  Aren't we supposed to stick up for our guy and point out that the Ambinders of the world are bypassing the substance of the issue to get back to the same old process frame that "Obama's green and makes mistakes"?    

Instead, Jerome still persists in equating Obama's comments with Bush.  Sigh.  Maybe Jerome should just run himself as the anti-Obama candidate, literally, and just take the exact opposite view that Obama does through out the campaign without bothering to fully examine the issue or sort out the consequences.  That or he could vote for Gravel.  I mean, really, where did this hate come from?  Was it when Obama said he wasn't surprised by anything on the blogs anymore?  I disagreed with him then, but Jerome and the other haters here seem to want to make that accusation a reality after all.  It's been nothing but pointless flame wars around here for weeks now.  As soon as I saw geekesque's diary on dkos I already knew what I was in for here.

Look, it's your blog, Jerome, and so obviously you can do whatever you want with it.  If you want to try to tear down Obama at every turn, then fine.  I'll read something else.  Frankly, I've already started to spend a lot less time reading this site.  It's just depressing to me that, this time last year, I was addicted to mydd.  I vividly remember reading about George Allen and Macaca here first.  The google bomb campaign, the Lamont analysis.  Matt and Chris were obviously a big part of it, but so were Jerome and Jonathan Singer and all the other posters.  How can this resource, with all of these smart people, spend so much time on something so pointless?  This is really the most constructive use of our time?

by msbatxnyc 2007-08-02 08:43AM | 0 recs
Congressional Approval?

Jerome, why are you bringing up that congressional approval is needed for President Obama to attack Al Qaeda? While that is true, the President already has been granted such authorization:

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

   (1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

   (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

Obama needs no further authorization to send covert ops or surgical air strikes into the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region.

The rest of your post is the typical Obama bashing you've been doing the past couple of days. Anyone who doesn't want to go after the organization responsible for 9/11 is very far out of the mainstream and should not be advising any Presidential contender, with the exception of those who opposed the war in Afghanistan.

Obama is entirely correct in wanting to attack Bin Laden and his organization. And I would wager that a majority of Democrats--and Americans--agree.

by Kal 2007-08-02 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Congressional Approval?

It is unlikely that the 2002 authorization still will be in effect in January 2009.

by horizonr 2007-08-02 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Congressional Approval?

As far as I know, it doesn't have a sunset clause. And the Democrats in congress would be complete idiots to repeal the unanimous legislation that authorized the war against Al Qaeda.

I could be wrong, though.

by Kal 2007-08-02 09:38AM | 0 recs
Misinformation

It's unfortunate that Bush has pushed our foreign policy toward this direction, where unilateral
acts of war in other countries, with no congressional approval, have become acceptable to
some Democrats. And especially in dealing with country the size and stature of Pakistan.

Jerome --

Obama said in his speech that "America is at war with terrorists who killed on our soil." To characterize his
speech as calling for an "act of war" -- a frame that reinforces the "invade Pakistan" ledes being spouted by
reporters who couldn't be bothered to actually read the speech -- is sensational, gratuitous, and wrong.

But leave that aside for now. Although Obama signals in the speech that he would be willing, given a very
specific set of circumstances, to go into Pakistan unilaterally, at no point in the speech do I see him
pledging to do that "with no congressional approval."

If you can show otherwise, please do. If not, you really need to remove this very slippery insinuation
from your diary.

by horizonr 2007-08-02 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

I love all the hawks who have suddenly showed up on Mydd once their candidate says something hawkish.

by world dictator 2007-08-02 09:08AM | 0 recs
What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

With the exception of Barbara Lee, ever member of Congress supported going after Al Qaeda, where ever they may be, in response to 9/11. You'd have to be to the left of Dennis Kucinich to not agree with what Obama said.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it sure isn't the position of most Democrats or most Americans.

by Kal 2007-08-02 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

Then why are all these mydd hawks advocating withdrawl from Iraq considering AQI is there for sure?

by world dictator 2007-08-02 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

Cuz they don't buy the Bulls**t that Bush is feeding us about how AQI is the same as AQ.

by bjschmid 2007-08-02 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

Because that claim is bullshit. The Bush adminstration is grossly overselling the case for AQI. However AQI does want to attack the US and left alone to grow could attack the US or US targets.

by world dictator 2007-08-02 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

That's why we attack Al Qaeda's main base of operations, their leadership, and their Taliban allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

You're making a wonderful case in support of Obama's remarks.

by Kal 2007-08-02 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

Al Qaeda in Iraq =/ Bin Laden's Group.

If Bin Laden actually does have men inside Iraq, they are a huge minority with other problems on their hands. Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a far greater threat to us than the groups fighting amongst themselves in Iraq.

Besides, Obama's plan for Iraq leaves behind a small number of US forces to fight the REAL Al Qaeda.

by Kal 2007-08-02 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

So we should wait for people who want to kill us, to kill Americans before we take action? Uhh okay...

by world dictator 2007-08-02 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

I'm not sure I'm following you.

If you're saying that we should attack Bin Laden's group before they can attack us again, then you agree with Obama.

If you're saying that we should eliminate anyone who has bad thoughts about America, then you're talking about mass genocide around the globe and a foreign policy to the right of Hitler.

...I'm going to assume you meant the former, and agree with Obama's position.

by Kal 2007-08-02 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

Wow

5th grade logic?

Either you think we should commit genocide or you agree with Obama? Uhh yeah. Not even worth more commentary on my part.

by world dictator 2007-08-02 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

So we should wait for people who want to kill us, to kill Americans before we take action?

I know! Talk about rashly jumping to conclusions about a person's position!

In all seriousness, I have no idea what you're advocating when it comes to foreign policy and attacking Al Qaeda. Are you saying we should stay in Iraq at our current levels? Invade any nation with a radical Muslim population? Attack Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Iran...well, the entire Middle East?

I don't get what your policy would be, or what your problem with Obama's attack Bin Laden policy is.

by Kal 2007-08-02 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: What's hawkish about protecting ourselves?

You seem to be the one who has a problem with logic.  You are in favor of fighting Al Quaeda in Iraq because Al Quaeda in Iraq would attack the US.  But you are not in favor of attacking bin Laden, who has attacked us twice and promises to again, in Pakistan.

I don't see the logic of your position whether it is fifth grade logic or higher math.  You don't seem to have any consistency in your foreign policy at all despite the fact that you accuse others of being inconsistent on a regular basis.  Are you just not able to process the comments that people are making?  Or are you so highly partisan in favor of Hillary that you would take any chance to attack Obama or Edwards no matter how inconsistent it is with your previous statements.  I am DEFINITELY assuming the latter.

by Lassallean 2007-08-02 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

You're reading so much into this, it is somewhat sad.  Also, Clinton agreed too, failed to post her quotes though, eh?  

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-08-02 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

See this is where the spin comes. If Obama is just calling for US airstrikes in Pakistan, newsflash...thats already current US policy. The Bush adminstration has already launched countless airstrikes using drones and other unmanned aircrafts. (These attacks were critisized by many on this site btw.)

What Obama is advocating is reshaping the Pakistan as a battlefield and redeploying US troops to Pakistan.

Thats where the candidates differ. Obama supports this and Clinton, and Edwards I believe, do not support this.

by world dictator 2007-08-02 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

I read Obama's speech. I don't see where he says he will invade Pakistan unilaterally. You are assuming this.

He says that if Musharaff doesn't take care of Osama bin Laden we will. What's wrong with that? bin Laden is the enemy. We must get rid of him. And Musharaff supposedly is our ally.

If you read the rest of the speech you can see that Obama is not for unilateralism but for working together with other countries.

by PaulSiegel 2007-08-02 09:17AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

I'm really dissapointed to read this post by Jerome, especially with his comment that the only way things will get better is to "get off their oil, get out of their countries, and work with other nations to promote global accord."
This analysis shows a serious lack of understanding of radical islamist movements and their goals.

I also think that Jerome is incorrect in his take on Iraq. "Al Queda" in Iraq is not the same as "Al Queda", no matter how much Bush continues to insist they are. Al Queda in Iraq is not a serious threat to the United States, with the exception of the brave men and women on the front lines in Iraq now. Iraq may be the one country where Jerome's ideal policy of "getting out of their country" would actually help us in this fight.

I'm not sure who I will vote for in the primary, I'm in the middle between Edwards and Obama, but if I will not vote for any candidate expressing the same type of foreign policy perspective as Jerome does here.  

by bjschmid 2007-08-02 09:21AM | 0 recs
wow

now you think Congress has not authorized going after Al Qaeda's leadership?  Amazing.

by John DE 2007-08-02 09:33AM | 0 recs
Debate Performance VS. Teleprompters

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 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

I am disappointed in the responses by Edwards and Hillary concerning this dangerous foreign policy stance. We need to start respecting international law and regain the respect Bush lost for us. We do not need a continuation of the Bush/Obama Doctrine.

by DoIT 2007-08-02 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

Incredible.  Most people think that Obama is way too deliberate in the debates to makes sure he does not state something wrong.  But now we are finding him to talk off the cuff and his comments seem VERY open to interpretation, in need of constant "clarification."  

In the instantanous Youtube era politicians really need to think before they speak, every WORD has meaning.   That way you don't have to say "Let me scratch that."  

THINK before talking.  

by georgep 2007-08-02 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

The "debate" about Obama's speech yesterday has been disheartening to say the least. Stupid AP misrepresents the speech in an early release as being about going to war with Pakistan or "invading" Pakistan and bloggers go crazy--acting as if the MSM is to be believed, responding apparently before reading the speech. How many of those blogging and commenting against Obama's speech opposed Clinton's bombings or cruise missile attacks in Afghanistan and--where was it? Sudan? Somalia? Isn't that just the sort of thing Obama was threatening? I opposed those. How many opposed the invasion of Afghanistan? or Gulf War I? I did. But then I'm an almost-pacifist. And I believe the reality is that any candidate who agreed with me has no chance of winning. Obama's views seem as close to a nonchauvinistic, moral, but realistic approach that a majority of Americans might be able to live with as I'm likely to find in a national politician. And I can't believe that any one who still claims to think that Obama was proposing a ground invasion of Pakistan in arguing in good faith.

by skeptica 2007-08-02 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: On US Missles and Military in Pakistan

I can't believe that any one who still claims to think that Obama was
proposing a ground invasion of Pakistan in arguing in good faith.

They are not.

by horizonr 2007-08-02 02:37PM | 0 recs

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