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McCain Apparently Didn’t Get The Memo

February 20, 2008

Maybe I was the only one who thought it was a little strange that, in last night’s Wisconsin victory speech, John McCain said this:

“Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan?”

McCain was, of course, referring to what Barack Obama said back in August:

“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. … If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will.

Now, I’m fully aware that Mr. McCain isn’t the only one that has given Obama flak over this comment.  Heck, just about every right ring blogger and their brother has as well.  But it would appear that neither McCain nor his speechwriters caught this little tidbit in the Washington Post yesterday:

In the predawn hours of Jan. 29, a CIA Predator aircraft flew in a slow arc above the Pakistani town of Mir Ali. The drone’s operator, relying on information secretly passed to the CIA by local informants, clicked a computer mouse and sent the first of two Hellfire missiles hurtling toward a cluster of mud-brick buildings a few miles from the town center.

The missiles killed Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander and a man who had repeatedly eluded the CIA’s dragnet. It was the first successful strike against al-Qaeda’s core leadership in two years, and it involved, U.S. officials say, an unusual degree of autonomy by the CIA inside Pakistan.

Yea…I’m not quite sure how the spin machine is going to reconcile this one.  I guess the logical thing for the Straight Talk Express to do would be to condemn the confused, inexperienced leadership of George W. Bush

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21 comments

  1. He doesn’t have to worry about Musharraf anymore.


  2. in2thefray- Who are you referring to? Pakistan would still be an “ally”, no?

    Anyway, I knew this charge against Obama was crap from day 1. Also, interestingly, McCain just positioned himself as a dove on al Qaeda with this whole thing.

    And Bush scorned Obama for suggesting something that he turned around and did himself. That’s rich.

    Maybe, in the very least, an Obama presidency would put an end to this hypocrisy.


  3. Mushy is out so it is to be seen who anyone has to deal with in Pakistan and what the new dynamic will be. Obama’s comment was bothersome because it hinted at unilaterally acting on a sovereign ally. McCain dovey is folly. He is scary from his “bomb bomb Iran” silliness to his “there’s going to be more war…” stuff.Bush hasn’t attacked an ally and Predators into Pakistan to date (as well as other ops in country) are in allegiance however twisted that is with the state of Pakistan.


  4. in2tf-

    I say a dove because, in chiding Obama (and spinning his words), he’s basically saying that he won’t even put the option on the table. Picture it: al Qaeda has a camp in Pakistan, they’re planning the next 9/11, we have intelligence, Musharraf (or whoever) won’t act….McCain sits on his hands.

    Bush hasn’t attacked an ally and Predators into Pakistan to date (as well as other ops in country) are in allegiance however twisted that is with the state of Pakistan.

    Did you read the article?

    Having requested the Pakistani government’s official permission for such strikes on previous occasions, only to be put off or turned down, this time the U.S. spy agency did not seek approval. The government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was notified only as the operation was underway, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.

    Officials say the incident was a model of how Washington often scores its rare victories these days in the fight against al-Qaeda inside Pakistan’s national borders: It acts with assistance from well-paid sympathizers inside the country, but without getting the government’s formal permission beforehand.

    It is an approach that some U.S. officials say could be used more frequently this year, particularly if a power vacuum results from yesterday’s election and associated political tumult. The administration also feels an increased sense of urgency about undermining al-Qaeda before President Bush leaves office, making it less hesitant, said one official familiar with the incident.

    Now, isn’t that exactly what Obama was talking about?


  5. Chen,

    I wasn’t aware that Reuters was a right-wing blog?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0132206420070801

    Obama’s a lightweight; no practical experience whatsoever. I can hardly wait to watch a POW and Vietnam Viet debate the Harvard affirmative action lawyer.


  6. Tex- you can make the distinction between a story about flak and actual flak, right?


  7. Chen,

    Sure…I want to watch your guy unilaterally bomb Pakistan like he promised. Say Islamabad?


  8. Oh fer cryin out loud.


  9. Wouldn’t it be easier than trying a lame attempt at slang to simply admit that Obama made a really stupid statement concerning attacking Pakistan?

    Why is that impossible for a lib? To admit a fault?


  10. Did you even read the thread Tex? If you had, you’d see that I basically debunked the spin that you’re clinging to here. i.e. Obama wasn’t advocating “attacking Pakistan”.


  11. Chen,

    As usual, I think you’ve missed the much bigger picture. This was done with the help of local informants passed via the CIA with Musharraf’s approval.

    Now here is the excerpt from your man, the experienced fighting lawyer, addressing the crowd August 1, 2007 at the Woodrow Wilson Center for “International” Scholars (code word progressive):

    Obama said that as commander in chief he would remove troops from Iraq and put them “on the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

    He offered harsh words to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who has been the target of assassination attempts for his efforts to aid the United States in rooting out terrorist havens in the northwestern region of his country.

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

    So you can see no difference between moving troops onto the battlefield of a nuclear power and using a drone to assassinate two thugs using local intelligence?

    Then I guess you won’t bitch a bit when we move troops to the Iranian battle field?


  12. Chen,

    Obama’s follow up comments criticizing the Dims on August 7th:

    “I find it amusing,” said Obama, “that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism.”

    Spin it anyway you want Chen but moving troops into a country without their consent would be considered an act of war.

    Doesn’t sound to me like Pakistan or India was too crazy about that idea. Admit it; your man screwed up. He wasn’t just catching from McCain. He was being criticized from every side for his stupid comment.

    Doesn’t sound to me like your man Obama can admit a mistake anymore than his lame excuse for his wife’s egregious comment about being ashamed of America for all her adult life. Isn’t that what you guys have hated Bush for – not admitting mistakes?


  13. CZ,

    No, the point of the War on Terror is to hunt down terrorists wherever they might be … except Pakistan.

    Pakistan initially agreed to let us pursue Taliban forces into their territory. Musharraf changed his mind.

    Obama thinks that we should hold him to the agreement. Actually, that’s to his credit.

    If setting a date for surrender in Iraq is foolish, it’s sheer stupidity to say that Usama (remember him?) is safe as long as he hides in the right caves … and then say that it’s because the nation harboring him is an ally.


  14. Tex,

    honest question here…but could harboring known terrorists be considered an act of war?


  15. Sliquid,

    honest question here…but could harboring known terrorists be considered an act of war?

    I have read your question a few times and am not sure I am understanding? Are you asking should harboring terrorists be considered an act of war?

    Well, to be honest, I’m not sure I could answer that question simply without having more information. For instance, Argentina, Columbia and Mexico are harboring known terrorists – not Al-Qaida; least I hope they’re not.

    My problem with Obama’s statement which I don’t necessarily disagree with (at least is some sense) is I too think we ought to be going to get them. It’s the wording of the statement I have a problem.

    Musharraf is supposedly an ally (yeah, I know with friends like that, who needs enemies) who has assisted with the war on terror. I know many of the Pakistani troops have been killed in the attempt to fight Al-Qaida. If we circumvent Musharraf’s authority and announce “we are putting troops in the battlefield”, I do think we could destabilize the region – which includes not one but two nuclear powers.


  16. Sliquid-

    honest question here…but could harboring known terrorists be considered an act of war?

    Well, that matches up pretty well with Bush’s “those who harbor” rhetoric.

    Tex-

    Ya know, you probably deserved a “magic uprights” emblem there for changing your argument midstream. You’ve gone from suggesting that Obama was advocating attacking/bombing Pakistan to “putting troops on the right battlefield”.

    I see very little difference between firing a hellfire missle from a drone and using special ops forces to take down a high value target. Both actions are surgical and take place on Pakistani soil. In any case, it takes a pretty intellectually dishonest stretch to suggest that Obama’s position was some sort of invasion or attack on Pakistan.

    OT

    I’m sorry to announce that the Chamber is now being blocked by my work’s filtering system, which means that I can’t access the site from my work computer. While this is probably a good thing in the big picture (as far as my productivity is concerned), there will probably be a few of you out there who may wonder why I’m not responding as quickly. That’s why. During the day, I’ll usually find a few minutes to check in and see if there is a comment held in moderation or whatever. When business is really slow, I might be able to post a thread. Well…no more. So I’m just going to take this opportunity to remind you guys that comments that contain 2+ links automatically sit in moderation until I release them. If you have a couple of links to post and you want them to show up quickly, just post them in seperate comments.

    I recently bought myself a new laptop to replace my ancient desktop (that was running Windows 98, if you can believe it), so it’s possible that I could use it to check in on my lunch break or whatnot. Now I’m rockin with Vista, and I can have it with me at all times if I want to. So…we’ll see. Anyway, I just thought I’d let you guys know.


  17. Chen,

    Ya know, you probably deserved a “magic uprights” emblem there for changing your argument midstream. You’ve gone from suggesting that Obama was advocating attacking/bombing Pakistan to “putting troops on the right battlefield”.

    Do you have the Oscar Meyer sign for baloney to tag next to your above post? It’s take intellectual dishonesty to suggest troops/right battlefield means a surgical strike. That means not Iraq. Troops don’t equate to drones. Get it? Words have meaning – that’s what your boy stated verbatim.

    Chen, you and yours parse like Slick Willie. I kept waiting for the response, “it depends on what the meaning of is, is…”


  18. Well, I don’t know. It seems like most people argree that if the point of the GWOT is to “bring to justice” AQ, then Afghanistan/Pakistan might be a logical place to do that. (Note also that the border between the two has literally been blurring. It’s moved quite far west over the past few years.)

    What’s not as obvious is that killing high value targets in Pakistan does any good one way or the other. This dude’s blog (former Army Ranger and now studying at the Kennedy School) is pretty awesome. It clarifies/obscures in a good way quite a lot:

    http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/


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