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But we’re against "unilaterally" invading other countries, aren’t we?
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Obama apparently thinks this is both 'bold and fresh':
In a strikingly bold speech about terrorism scheduled for this morning, Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will call not only for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but a redeployment of troops into Afghanistan and even Pakistan — with or without the permission of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Obama will say, according to speech excerpts provided to ABC News by his campaign, "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."
Shoot, Mr. Obama, why not sit down and meet with him in your first year, or is that possibility only reserved for leaders of rogue nations?

Says ABC News:
In many ways, the speech is counterintuitive; Obama, one of the more liberal candidates in the race, is proposing a geopolitical posture that is more aggressive than that of President Bush.
You don't say. And a real possible outcome of such an action is to see Musharraf overthrown by a radical Islamic government which would have nuclear arms. That would help, wouldn't it?

The NY Sun notes Obama is prone to say on the stump:
"I know that I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington, but I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change."
I take back what I said about Obama being the John Edwards of this election cycle. Not even Edwards would make these sorts of foolish threats. "Irresponsible" doesn't even begin to cover this nonsense.
 
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Random change because you can is utterly retarded.

Obama is a freaking Corkey. He’s wearing a football helmet in home-room.

I plan on MAKING a way to get to an Obama rally here in Illinois. I swear to god I want to hear his response to this stuff in person.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Not even Edwards would make these sorts of foolish threats.
That’s a pretty shaky limb you are crawling on, McQ.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
This is simply a cheap way of "being tough." It’s like everyone prating about Darfur...everyone KNOWS we’re never going to do anything about Darfur, but we will TALK ABOUT DOING something. It’s a cheap way of showing you care and aren’t soft on terrorism.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe is right.

On the other hand, every time Obama talks about foreign policy he makes Hillary look good.

Which only really matters if Hillary can beat Obama among Democrats because if she can’t then she’s not going to be the one trying to pull the center, Obama is. Figuring that the Republican candidates must be (to shamelessly paraphrase scripture) storing these things up in their hearts, I can’t see Obama effectively putting his primary race rhetoric behind him.

We could be looking at another Kerryesque campaign season where no one is really voting *for* whoever gets the Republican nomination, they’ll all be voting *against* Obama.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
I don’t see Obama’s rhetoric playing well with Democratic primary voters or the loudest of liberal bloggers.

I believe it will be to interventionist, and populist to play to that crowd.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Please read this part of the speech and tell me where he says he’ll invade even if not given permission

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.


Saying we’ll act even if Pakistan won’t is not the same thing as saying that we’ll act if not given permission.

Here’s a hint. When judging what politicians say, rely on the words the politicians themselves say, and not how journalists interpret what they say.

http://www.barackobama.com/2007/08/01/the_war_we_need_to_win.php
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
It seems that Obama is trying to wrap himself around the strategy of "quick thrust and out" which in some ways is what Hiliary is claiming should have happened in Iraq. It’s all designed for those with a short attention span, which doesn’t work so well with an enemy suck in the 15th century.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.
Please read this part of the speech and tell me where he says he’ll invade even if not given permission
Looks to me like he’s saying we’re going to do "something" with or without Pakistan’s permission...I’ll grant it’s not "invade" but he doesn’t seem to care about other countries borders much. What a Cowboy...

And I believe that IS using and reading the candidates words, Jeff.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Looks to me like he’s saying we’re going to do "something" with or without Pakistan’s permission...I’ll grant it’s not "invade" but he doesn’t seem to care about other countries borders much. What a Cowboy...
How does acting if someone else won’t mean the same thing as acting without their permission?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
How does acting if someone else won’t mean the same thing as acting without their permission?
It means with or without their permission.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Because as a sovereign nation we expect Pakistan to act, if they won’t it’s unlikely they’ll give us the permission, Jeff....or is it your contention that when Mexico wants someone arrested, and the US won’t that the US will give Mexico the right to move in and arrst someone in the territorial confines of the US. So too, with Pakistan. Think on it, Jeff, how does Musharraf benefit from doing nothing, but allowing the US to act? He’s still the "lap dog of the Great Satan." So, I think it is clear that the Magic Negro is trying burnish his "street cred" by being tough, here.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If we get actionable inteliigence that Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Detroit, we should kill him. What’s the problem?
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Barak Obama said:
If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.
I seriously doubt that Obama knows a) what "actionable intelligence" is, or b) what a "high-value terrorist target" is. Or how to act on either, particularly in a place like Pakistan.

But at least he’s taking it out of his pants and demanding that Hillary show hers. And won’t he be surprised when she does and he sees the stupendous size of it.

And, as I’ve pointed out for years, if Hillary Clinton stripped down to her sports bra, got into the cockpit of an F-16, and personally strafed peasants along a roadside, 95% of the "antiwar" crowd would clutch their breasts and sigh, "Isn’t she wonderful."

Obama, a "defeat at any cost" man on Iraq, has clearly been shown some polls about what people want from a president in national security terms.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
If we get actionable inteliigence that Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Detroit, we should kill him. What’s the problem?

And if Commander Zero, is in Detroit, then Mexico should take him out too, right, David? After all the Zapatista Movement IS Commader Zero, right, OBL IS AQ, right? This is nice but it isn’t transforming the region, it’s just killing someone, now that might be ok by you, but it is just swatting flies to me.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Obama never said he would invade the country. He said he would have let go foward the targeted strike of Al-Qaeda that Bush aborted and let bin Laden go free. There is a world of difference between a targeted strike and an invasion. Furthermore, you really are being uncreative and knee-jerk in your response. This is obviously an implicit attack on the Clintons, as the Clintons refused to take out Osama by missile when they had him in their crosshairs because Sandy Berger suspected they lacked proper authorization. Playing up the invasion spin just misses the point.
 
Written By: You might want to read the article again
URL: http://
And if Commander Zero, is in Detroit, then Mexico should take him out too, right, David? After all the Zapatista Movement IS Commader Zero, right, OBL IS AQ, right?
Are you seriously suggesting that we should NOT kill the person behind an attack on American soil that killed more than 3,000 innocent people?
it’s just killing someone, now that might be ok by you, but it is just swatting flies to me
That is one fly I’d surely like to swat. And we probably would have already but for the Iraq misadventure.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
it’s just killing someone, now that might be ok by you, but it is just swatting flies to me
That is one fly I’d surely like to swat. And we probably would have already but for the Iraq misadventure.

How so...again, the forces in Afghanistan weren’t going to be much larger than the were and are...LOGISTICS.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Giving permission is acting. If Pakistan gives permission then they *have* acted. They’ve done something. An action. Giving permission.

Violating another countries sovereignty is bad if Bush is talking about doing it, but fine and dandy if it’s Obama or the sort of anti-Bush anti-war sorts who think they’re making a valid point by demanding that we go to war with Saudi or that we send troops into Pakistan?

So Clinton was, what many feel, a little bit too worried about crossing the lines of good behavior internationally. Bush was a bit more willing and has certainly acted boldly and he’s Hitler and evil and all that, but he, too, has held back out of respect to national borders.

Now Obama is saying that was wrong. If President Musharraf’s domestic challenges don’t align with the wants and needs of the USA, then screw him.

And if that is *not* what Obama meant to say in a *prepared* speech then he has a tin ear like no other.

And yes... Hillary has a bigger one.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Oliver Willis was all about "focusing" on Pakistan, too. Hmmmm.

Some points:

We are already striking targets in Pakistan, possibly without Pakistani permission, but we certainly aren’t advertising it. Plausible deniability and all.

"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."

So, even if there were women and kids there and the JAG said it would be a bad idea, Obama would do it? Let’s be clear on this. Is he going to over-rule the lawyers or not?

You know, in 1979 the Iranians HATED Carter even though he was a left-winger liked by Europeans. I suspect we will need one more episode like that to give the Left a "teachable moment" that just because you are on the Left does not mean people in Pakistan will accept your actions more than if Reagan/Bush did it.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I’d rather avoid a "teachable moment". They tend to hurt.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Bithead’s rule number three:

Democrats are always arguing for the war that isn’t being fought at the moment... even if they started the one we’re in.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Harun writes:
We are already striking targets in Pakistan, possibly without Pakistani permission, but we certainly aren’t advertising it.
That’s got high probability, but there’s no way to know for sure.

There are many ways to handle terrorist encampments in their mountain retreats, one of which is to leave them alone with purpose.

Even bin Laden can be left alone with purpose.

Ninety percent or more of the war on terror cannot be known. I would even venture that from our perspective we know less about what our side is doing than we know about what the terrorist side is doing.

So, in that regard, Obama is just flapping his jaws for a campaign effect, but still can’t avoid saying dumb things. I’m not sure who his handlers are, but they’re not serving him well.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
They are plotting to strike again.



This is another line we rarely hear from the Left.

In fact, this whole speech would be diagnosed by Greenwald/Mona as "hypermasculine" if it came from anyone but a Dem.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
it’s just killing someone, now that might be ok by you, but it is just swatting flies to me
That is one fly I’d surely like to swat. And we probably would have already but for the Iraq misadventure.
How so...again, the forces in Afghanistan weren’t going to be much larger than the were and are...LOGISTICS.
Upon what do you base this? Four years down another road, my guess is we’d be in a much different (i.e., better) place.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
"Saying we’ll act even if Pakistan won’t is not the same thing as saying that we’ll act if not given permission."

If Obama won’t act without Pakistan’s permission, what makes his position different from the current one? Are you saying that Bush has permission to strike in Pakistan but isn’t doing so?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
How so...again, the forces in Afghanistan weren’t going to be much larger than the were and are...LOGISTICS.
Upon what do you base this? Four years down another road, my guess is we’d be in a much different (i.e., better) place.
Uh because there are fewer than 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, now, and that in 2001 we could support about a brigade’s worth in-country (5,000 troops) and in Iraq there are 150,000-180,000 troops...so take the kilo’s per man per day and then increase the transit distance for those kilograms to be transported and you discover that the troops in Iraq were NEVER going to Afghanistan, because we simply can not sustain them. That when you get to the nut’n bolts of military operations is Iraq NOT a "distraction" from Afghanistan.

Should you wonder it is at least 45 kilgrams per man per day to support the troops, and then factor in that Afghanistan is land-locked with few friendly nations around to allow free transit of supplies to the troops and you begin to see the difficulties. We don’t get to sail the supplies to Kuwayt, which happily allows the US to maintain a large logistics footprint/infrastructure in-country and then drive the few hundred kilometres to Baghdad, but instead must rail or fly the supplies from the ’Stans, which have a lower tolerance for a US/Western footprint and then fly the supplies to Afghanistan, or simply fly supplies to Afghanistan, over Pakistan, which allows little ground transit for Western forces.

This is called the REALITY of geography and logistics. It won’t change if or when Hillary or Obama is in office, there won’t be any more troops sustainable in Afghanistan now, than there are today.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Obama’s statement has been morphed from "if we have actionable intelligence" about al qaeda leadership and Musharraf won’t act, we will." to "invade Pakistan."

Tell me: If President Bush knew where Bin Laden and top al qaeda leadership was holed up, and we asked Pakistan to take them out, and Musharraf refused, that Bush should say "oh well, I could get Bin Laden and top al qaeda leaders with a strategic strike in Pakistan, but Musharraf doesn’t want me to so I won’t."

If so, fine. But I suspect that kind of position wouldn’t play well with the pro-war crowd or the GOP.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Uh because there are fewer than 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, now, and that in 2001 we could support about a brigade’s worth in-country (5,000 troops) and in Iraq there are 150,000-180,000 troops...so take the kilo’s per man per day and then increase the transit distance for those kilograms to be transported and you discover that the troops in Iraq were NEVER going to Afghanistan, because we simply can not sustain them. That when you get to the nut’n bolts of military operations is Iraq NOT a "distraction" from Afghanistan.

Should you wonder it is at least 45 kilgrams per man per day to support the troops, and then factor in that Afghanistan is land-locked with few friendly nations around to allow free transit of supplies to the troops and you begin to see the difficulties. We don’t get to sail the supplies to Kuwayt, which happily allows the US to maintain a large logistics footprint/infrastructure in-country and then drive the few hundred kilometres to Baghdad, but instead must rail or fly the supplies from the ’Stans, which have a lower tolerance for a US/Western footprint and then fly the supplies to Afghanistan, or simply fly supplies to Afghanistan, over Pakistan, which allows little ground transit for Western forces.

This is called the REALITY of geography and logistics. It won’t change if or when Hillary or Obama is in office, there won’t be any more troops sustainable in Afghanistan now, than there are today.
I bow to your far superior knowledge of military operations, but it is simply unbelievable that Iraq is not a distraction from the hunt for Osama and AQ in "the ’Stans." No difference with four years to work and with the amount of resources we’ve squandered in Iraq? Money, soldiers, political capital. No difference? Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Iraq was (and, unfortunately, still is) a major distraction in the fight against Islamofascism.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
David is correct — use economic logic. You have a limited number of resources, and if Iraq costs a trillion dollars and means the deployment of large numbers of troops and the use of military supplies, then those can’t be used elsewhere. Invading Iraq almost certainly will be remembered in history as a strategic error. But it need not be a fatal error.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
but it is simply unbelievable that Iraq is not a distraction from the hunt for Osama and AQ in "the ’Stans." No difference with four years to work and with the amount of resources we’ve squandered in Iraq? Money, soldiers, political capital. No difference? Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Iraq was (and, unfortunately, still is) a major distraction in the fight against Islamofascism.

Ah we’re at the point where the facts don’t matter...You BELIEVE it to be so, so it MUST be so. Iraq MUST have been a distraction, though you can’t really say why, exactly. So now it’s a matter of belief, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohamet was His Prophet" or "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. " Troops, no not a problem you say...money, well the money has been appropriated every year in a supplemental for both Iraq AND Afghanistan...Political capital, well if we lose in Iraq I imagine that Musharraf will be LESS inclinded to support us as we will be the weaker horse...
David is correct — use economic logic. You have a limited number of resources, and if Iraq costs a trillion dollars and means the deployment of large numbers of troops and the use of military supplies, then those can’t be used elsewhere. Invading Iraq almost certainly will be remembered in history as a strategic error. But it need not be a fatal error.

Except, Doc it ain’t cost a TRILLION dollars, since last years budget was 2.6 TRILLION, I don’t think that the war has cost us 40% of one year’s budget. In ten years the wars in BOTH Afghnistan and Iraq will cost less than 1 Trillion USD. And the wars have been fairly fully funded via the supplemental budget, and we haven’t had to rob Peter to pay Paul in terms of troops, again, because the theatre wasn’t going to sustain 180,000 US troops, Doc.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Looking at how the "right" is using Obama’s quote (apparently often without listing all of it), this looks like a concerted effort to make it appear Obama said something he didn’t. Drudge says "Commander Obama: Troops to Pakistan," and reports are that talk radio is claiming that Obama wants to invade Pakistan without thinking of the logistics.

Yet again, all he claimed is that he would act unilaterally if he had actionable intelligence that high value al qaeda targets were there. So again, if President Bush had actionable intelligence that Bin Laden and top al qaeda leaders were at a location, should he refuse to order a surgical strike at that location? I’m almost certain he would not, permission or no permission, he would strike. Obama’s position is probably no different than that of President Bush’s position.

Yet Bush would never say it, and Obama does. And while the effort to purposefully mis-state what Obama claims is being pushed by those more concerned with attacking Democrats than the truth, if Obama is elected, it sends a pretty strong message to Musharraf: if our national interest dictates, we won’t stop from decapitating al qaeda. Apparently, though, many on the right who attack Obama would prefer that we get a Pakistani dictator’s permission before trying to decapitate al qaeda, even if we have actionable intelligence.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joe: No one said it was a trillion a year! At least a trillion is estimates of likely costs, it’s certainly over $500 billion now. I didn’t specify that and it does say sound like a I said a trillion was already spent, I apologize.

NATO commanders in Afghanistan have been concerned about the lack of available troops, especially if the Taliban strengthen more. If we weren’t in Iraq, that wouldn’t be a problem. Again, economic logic. Unless we have unlimited resources, things used for X aren’t available for other uses.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
David is correct
Not!
use economic logic.
Here’s some logic for you. The Law of Diminishing Returns. If we put 500 men on finding bin Laden, and they can’t do anymore good than 5000, then the 4500 could better be put to use somewhere else.

Like Baghdad, changing the rules the Islamists have worked under since the ’70’s.

Taking their world out from under them.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Ah we’re at the point where the facts don’t matter...You BELIEVE it to be so, so it MUST be so. Iraq MUST have been a distraction, though you can’t really say why, exactly.
One-half trillion dollars. More than 3,000 dead soldiers. Ten times that number wounded. World opinion, which was uniformly with us after 9/11, now resolutely against us. The country itself, which was about as unified as it could get after 9/11, now on the verge of a Vietnam-like schism. Yes, I’d say it’s been distracting. Call it a hunch.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Uh Joe, are you really under the impression that supplemental budget requests get paid for out of some other pool of tax revenues than the regular budget process? Supplementals are used to hide the true cost of the war by not including it in the ussual budgeting process but those dollars still come out of your pocket and my pocket and especially our childrens’ pockets.

Also, are you really suggesting that the US armed forces can’t put 180,000 troops into Afghanistan if they wanted to? Because I guarantee there is a plan on a shelf in the pentagon somewhere to do exactly that.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
CIA has wanted to invade Pakistan for years. All their spies want this, so he’s buying into CIA policy and employees.
 
Written By: FESD
URL: http://
One-half trillion dollars. More than 3,000 dead soldiers. Ten times that number wounded.
And a hunt for OBl and a war on the Pushtu tribes that supoort him would have been cheaper in lives and money?

World opinion, which was uniformly with us after 9/11, now resolutely against us.

1) Gordon Brown 2) Sarkozy 3) Merkel....the anti-Americans lost ground didn’t they? And the fact that everyone loved us on 9/12 means nothing...everyone losves Anne Frank, too, but they don’t like Anne Frank’s successors DOING something to prevent the next Shoah, do they? Everyone loves the pitiable victim, but that was always going to fade once the US decided to go to war with anyone. Note Galloways and Chomsky and others ont he War in Afghnistan, and please note that only the US, Britain, and ANZUS are actulally FIGHTING in Afghanistan, everyone else is busy jockeying for positions in the rather safe North, far away from the fighting. Yes, they loved us, but they don’t want to help us that much.
The country itself, which was about as unified as it could get after 9/11, now on the verge of a Vietnam-like schism. Yes, I’d say it’s been distracting. Call it a hunch.
Really unified, "Not in My name" and ANSWER and Code Pink opposed the War in Afghanistan, too. The Taliban simply collapsed too quickly for the calls of "quagmire" and "graveyard of Empires" to take much hold, but already they were there. And Vietnam, yes, yes I see it...the marches of the hundreds of thousands in the streets...uh no I don’t...I see a bunch of old hippies leading some young hippie wannabees around, but no, no Vietnam-like schism.

Oh and Doc, I didn’t say a TRILLION a year, I said, it wasn’t a TRILLION doolars, ever...and that it would take about 10 years to APPROACH a trillion, you claim it’s cost a trillion. I just disputed it.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Galloways and Chomsky . . . "Not in My name" and ANSWER and Code Pink
That’s why I said "as unified as it could get." By reaching for these examples, you’ve made my point.
And Vietnam, yes, yes I see it...the marches of the hundreds of thousands in the streets...uh no I don’t...I see a bunch of old hippies leading some young hippie wannabees around, but no, no Vietnam-like schism.
That’s where we are headed come September. Just watch. Do you really think this would be good for the country?
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Uh Joe, are you really under the impression that supplemental budget requests get paid for out of some other pool of tax revenues than the regular budget process? Supplementals are used to hide the true cost of the war by not including it in the ussual budgeting process but those dollars still come out of your pocket and my pocket and especially our childrens’ pockets.

What I am suggesting Retief is that currently this war is being fought and paid for properly. Vietnam was fought WITHOUT supplementals, the forces paid for the War out of their hides! That moneys that might ahve gone to support NATO went to support the War, and hence, "The Lost Decade" that NATO lamented. Today the money for operations in OIF and Afghnistan is paid for APART from the moneys that support the regular O&M and Acquisitions of DoD. And yes it makes a BIG difference.
Also, are you really suggesting that the US armed forces can’t put 180,000 troops into Afghanistan if they wanted to? Because I guarantee there is a plan on a shelf in the pentagon somewhere to do exactly that.
Why yes I am....call it 50 kilo’s per man per day...180,000=9,000 metric tons per day of supply....transported over 500 kilomtres of road....will only require the use of 4144 HEMTT’s if used optimally for 16 hours per day. Yes, Retief it is IMPOSSIBLE to put 180,00 troops into Afghanistan witht he current geo-politcal/Geographic/Logistic infrastructure, but if we were willing to toady with Putin and all the ’stans and Pakistan and spend years and billions in the region we COULD send that many troops, one day. Or as Robin Williams said, "Reality, what a Concept?"
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
That’s where we are headed come September. Just watch. Do you really think this would be good for the country?

Unless Petraeus comes back with a good report, what if the Surge is working? Oh that’s right it can’t be working, because it MUSTN’T work....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Unless Petraeus comes back with a good report, what if the Surge is working? Oh that’s right it can’t be working, because it MUSTN’T work....
Let’s get this straight. The (alleged) purpose of the surge was to give time to the Iraqi government for poltiical compromise. Therefore, there are two parts to the September report. The first is Petraeus’ military assessment. The other is Crocker’s political reconcilation assessment. Regardless of Petraeus’ report there will little to no political progresss. So the surge is not "working." But Bush will insist on continuing, regardless, . . . And all hell will break loose in this country.

You heard it here first.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Tell me: If President Bush knew where Bin Laden and top al qaeda leadership was holed up, and we asked Pakistan to take them out, and Musharraf refused, that Bush should say "oh well, I could get Bin Laden and top al qaeda leaders with a strategic strike in Pakistan, but Musharraf doesn’t want me to so I won’t."


Yes.

Or apparently that’s what he did. Read the article... "Obama’s mention of an "al Qaeda leadership meeting" refers to a classified military operation planned in early 2005 to kill al Qaeda leaders including Osama bin Laden’s top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri in Pakistan’s tribal regions. First reported in The New York Times earlier this month, the mission was "aborted at the last minute after top Bush administration officials decided it was too risky and could jeopardize relations with Pakistan, according to intelligence and military officials.""
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
So Bush seriously considered it and decided not to in 2005. I suspect once in office, Obama would have to undergo the same kind of decision making process (and it might come up for Bush again). It certainly doesn’t seem to warrant the derision he’s getting from the right.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You know many folks think "Actionable intelligence" and "direct action" are some how a 13 digit grid coordinate with an exact GMT time attached to it..."Osama bin Laden will be at GF123458098761a from 01.30 Zulu until 18.35 Zulu" and then all the POTUS has to do is dispatch a B-2 with a load of JDAM’S to the little mud hut, far away from any potential collateral damage and *BAFOOLAH* no more OBL!

Instead it’s much more likely to be a village or a hut, and a time frame, "Osama will be in Mudhutville Pakistan, sometime beginning about dawn of 4 August until about 5 August. He will be meeting with the tribal leaders of the region." And then people, possibly lots of people will have to be deployed to ID the Target and to somehow direct the attack or to make the attack itself, and to provide cover for the assault and all the fuel way stations along the way...Obama may think, and many may like to believe that war is some kind of exact and pin-point business, but it generally isn’t.

Rumsfeld argued against the last supposed operation because it involved HUNDREDS of SOCom personnel, being deployed into Pakistan...not some drone firing A Hellfire ATGM into a hut or Toyota Land Cruiser.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Jeff, Scott Erb, and anyone else who is defending Obama by saying that he never mentioned sending in "troops" and never said the word "invade", please get real.

Would you accept such semantics from the current administration if Bush ordered an airstrike on a sovereign nation - an ally, mind you? And if the Pakistanis hanged Bush in effigy and burnt American flags in the streets, would you back him up? Or would you say he arrogantly blundered his way into more trouble and spawned a new generation of anti-American terrorists?

Answer me if you like, but I know exactly how that would have gone over with you, and I’m just being a snarky prick about it.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
with the current geo-politcal/Geographic/Logistic infrastructure
Precisely. If operating within that structure is a higher priority than finishing off Al Qaeda, than we’re stuck as you suggest. If not, than we don’t have to operate within your constraint. It is all a matter of priorities.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
As Erb has noted, it seems Bush was faced with the same dilemma. Bush chose to handle it differently than Obama says he will. Now, what puzzles me here is what exactly you lefties are crying about now.

Are you guys incensed we are taking Obama at his word? It seems some of you are arguing that Obama was misunderstood or misquoted. Others argue that Obama is simply saying he would have acted differently than Bush.

So WTF are you crying about? Do you not want this discussed even though your candidate put it out there? Why are Obamas opponents on the right being criticized for kicking around a serious campaign issue? It can’t be that we are misunderstanding Obama, remember?

You can’t have it both ways, telling us we’re misquoting your candidate but he would have bombed Osama, is all he’s saying. That’s what we heard.

You guys just don’t want this kind of issue discussed at all. It exposes what your real problem with this war is: A Republican is C-I-C. If Obama wants to do a rash, impolitic thing, why, that’s just leadership!

Right?

 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
with the current geo-politcal/Geographic/Logistic infrastructure
Precisely. If operating within that structure is a higher priority than finishing off Al Qaeda, than we’re stuck as you suggest. If not, than we don’t have to operate within your constraint. It is all a matter of priorities.
Of course not retief...just reference the Lend-Lease supply that went thru Iran in the Second World War....You obviously have no clue about what it would take to make a viable supply route into the region. Surf the ’Web for some info on the supplies thru Persia/Iran and then get back to me. It took YEARS to establish, just a hint.

Further it would require tilting very much to Russia/Pakistan’s postion on a host of issues to allow road/rail access into the region and THEN a major infrastructure program to create the logistics infrastructure necessary. But other than that, you’re dead bang on, it’s only a matter of will and priorities.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Boris Erb writes:
So Bush seriously considered it and decided not to in 2005. I suspect once in office, Obama would have to undergo the same kind of decision making process (and it might come up for Bush again). It certainly doesn’t seem to warrant the derision he’s getting from the right.
Obama, Boris, is as dumb as a toad. He’s roughly as dumb as Sam Brownback on the other side, except that Brownback at least has values.

But whatever derision Obama gets from the right is nothing compared to what he’ll be getting from the Clinton machine if it thinks he is seriously gaining on Hillary.

As to his "I’ll go into Pakistan" statement, he doesn’t even have a clue as to what he’s talking about. He’s doing some national security counter-pandering to the pandering he’s done to the "antiwar" nutjob base on Iraq. The best that can be said about his statement is that he doesn’t mean any of it.

He’s a confused, shallow man with and apparent crew of confused, shallow handlers.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
NotDavebo comments ironically about the Democrats dumb blonde candidate:
He’s too dovish. He’s to hawkish. He’s too pigmented.
Apparently, for many American blacks, he’s not pigmented enough, nor culturally "black" enough.

Look for Hillary, when the moment is right (as they say in the Cialis commercial), to split the difference and take Harold Ford Jr. as her running mate.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
You don’t say. And a real possible outcome of such an action is to see Musharraf overthrown by a radical Islamic government which would have nuclear arms. That would help, wouldn’t it?
Don’t follow the logic: destroying Islamist terrorist bases = Islamist terrorists overthrowing the government. In most counter insurgency operations it is an aim to destroy the insurgent bases.
"Irresponsible" doesn’t even begin to cover this nonsense.
Be interested to hear the responsible sense of leaving Islamic terrorists to reside peacefully in Pakistan. It has been policy to allow terrorists bases in Pakistan for the past year and right now Pakistan is experiencing an upsurge in acts of political violence including the high profile seizure of the Red Mosque. Seems that doing nothing has failled to work.

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Irresponsible: Destroying Islamic terrorists bases makes an Islamic terrorist regime taking over Pakistan a "real possibility".

Responsible: Allowing Islamic terrorists to have secure bases is a sensible policy to prevent Pakistan being taken over by an Islamic terrorist regime.

Hmmm.

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Undermining Musharraf’s government weakens his government.

Destroying some little taliban stronghold in the mountains would probably not hurt anyone but those unfortunate enough to be there. It’s the disregard for Pakistan’s sovereignty, the portrayal of our lack of support for someone at least nominally on our side, our disregard for Pakistan’s "challenges", and that sort of thing. It’s not going to help much if Pakistan’s radical islamic element can point to our aggression to hype up their followers and to their own government’s demonstrated weakness.

This is the sort of thing that has wise people like Obama explaining how our attacking Iraq is going to result in Al Qaida recruitment and a general worsening of the situation. Sort of the idea that if we didn’t fight, no one would be fighting us.

Funny thing really is that Pakistan seems to have been taking that European approach to it’s radical islamic element... (they won’t hurt us if we’re nice to them.) But it hasn’t worked very well and now they’ve begun some pretty intense battles.

If we acted with support of the Pakistan government there wouldn’t be nearly as much down-side to it, but Obama is saying that he’d take preemptive action (an act of war, even) if that support from the Pakistan government was refused.

Obama, I suppose, is playing to a domestic audience. And it may sound good at home, but "shape up or screw you" isn’t likely to repair our international reputation... which is supposedly all Bush’s fault. (pause for eye rolling) And it’s certainly not taking a less autocratic posture or a less imperialistic posture with our foreign policy.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Responsible: Allowing Islamic terrorists to have secure bases is a sensible policy to prevent Pakistan being taken over by an Islamic terrorist regime.
Why is that all that’s possible in the "responsible" realm, Angus?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will."
Assuming the are indeed high value terrorist targets in Pakistan and that taking action against them is beyond "irresponsible".
Why is that all that’s possible in the "responsible" realm, Angus?
There have been bases in NW Pakistan for a year. Take it as fact that "responsible" measures have been taken against them and yet they are still there.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
There have been bases in NW Pakistan for a year. Take it as fact that "responsible" measures have been taken against them and yet they are still there.
Non-responsive. Why is that the only possible "responsible" measure?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Wulf, I do think there’s a difference between an invasion and sending the troops, and a surgical airstrike. I think it would depend on who was likely at the al qaeda site, the certainty of the information, and the situation in Pakistan. Bush might in fact decide differently now than he did in 2005, there may be other mitigating factors. The fact is that Bush and Obama are probably close on this one. It was probably a tough call for Bush in 2005; a President Obama might find that his desire as a candidate gets trumped by the responsibility he has to bear as President when faced with such a situation.

As far as the Democrats go, I know I’d trust Obama more than Clinton. She talks a good game, but her foreign policy positions seem more political than based on knowledge of foreign affairs.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This entire exchange demonstrates why Democrats should not be trusted with national security. They are completely clueless.

Violate Pakistan’s sovereign border to go after one man who may or may not be at a given location at a given time. Risk toppling Musharraf’s government and have their nuclear weapons fall into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. This is the stupidest and most reckless thing I’ve ever heard and we have lefties here defending it. Good grief...and they have the guts to call Bush on being a cowboy. Remember the "actionable intelligence" we had when we bombed the restaurant that Saddam was supposed to be in. Nope, he wasn’t there and the odds are pretty good that Osama won’t be where he’s supposed to be either. We’d end up with nothing but a whole lot of egg on our face and a much bigger problem than Bush ever cooked up.

As far as Afghanistan goes. When I was there in 2003 all supplies had to be flown in. There is no way we have the airlift capacity to sustain the numbers of troops we have in Iraq in Afghanistan. We’d have to truck supplies through Indian territory on a very sparse road network. And those crappy roads won’t hold up long under the pounding. I don’t think Musharraf has the political capital to let us use his roads so we’d have to unilaterally appropriate those as well. Good grief!
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
Current (until at least Red Mosque) Pakistani policy is not to interfere militarily in NW Frontier provinces. Current American policy is to not to threaten to intervene into Pakistan’s NW Frontier. There is Taliban support structure in NW Frontier secure from Pakistani and American action. If it is "irresponsible" to change American policy and nothing else changes how does "responsible" action make the bases go away?

I cannot think of any way, but if you know of an option please...
But we’re against "unilaterally" invading other countries, aren’t we?
Posted by: McQ
I would have guessed "No". But now you appear to have found a number of ways of saying "Yes", thinking he is a Democrat saying it and you do not like his healthcare policy. If Fred Thompson comes out next year in a race against Clinton and advocates an aggressive pursuit of terrorists keeping all options on the table, y’know glasnost is going to quote this post back at you to say what a nonsense it is to make foolish & irresponsible threats.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
What I’m asking, Angus, is why - "Responsible: Allowing Islamic terrorists to have secure bases is a sensible policy to prevent Pakistan being taken over by an Islamic terrorist regime" - advanced by you as the only possible "responsible" solution?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
What is Osama is in Iran? Would he bomb Iran?

That would be a great YouTube question for the Senator.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Bruce, I propose it as a nonsensical mirror argument to what I think is the nonsensical argument put forward in your post.

Nonsense to say it would be "irresponsible" to attack Islamic terrorists bases as doing so would make an Islamic terrorist regime taking over Pakistan a real possibility. And nonsense to say if the Islamist insurgent bases are "responsibly" kept safe from Pakistani & American aggression this will secure Musharref against overthrow by an Islamic terrorist regime.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Nonsense to say it would be "irresponsible" to attack Islamic terrorists bases as doing so would make an Islamic terrorist regime taking over Pakistan a real possibility.
That would be true if that’s what I had said. Instead I advanced that as a "possible" outcome and wondered if that possibility would be worth the attempt when, in fact, as others have pointed out, "actionable intelligence" comes in all sorts of levels of quality. I certainly didn’t advance it as the only possibility, but certainly one which has to be figured in any risk assessment.

I don’t see that sort of an assessment evident in Obama’s statement.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
I respectfully disagree with your risk assessment. I suggest that attacking the militant Islamist forces in NW Pakistan will reduce their capability to overthrow the Musharref government or assist the Taliban or use as training facilities for Al Qaeda terrorists. Also I suggest that the mere threat of taking aggression into NW Pakistan might motivate Musharref to deal with the issue himself. Compared to the current situation where Islamists are actively attacking the Musharref government it may well be an improvement.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Here is the full text of Obama’s speech, so that you Bush-Bots can see what tough, intelligent leadership really looks like. (By the way, the speech was introduced and praised by Lee Hamilton of the Iraq Study Group):
Thank you Lee, for hosting me here at the Wilson Center, and for your leadership of both the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group. You have been a steady voice of reason in an unsteady time.


Let me also say that my thoughts and prayers are with your colleague, Haleh Esfandiari, and her family. I have made my position known to the Iranian government. It is time for Haleh to be released. It is time for Haleh to come home.


Thanks to the 9/11 Commission, we know that six years ago this week President Bush received a briefing with the headline: “Bin Ladin determined to strike in U.S.”


It came during what the Commission called the “summer of threat,” when the “system was blinking red” about an impending attack. But despite the briefing, many felt the danger was overseas, a threat to embassies and military installations. The extremism, the resentment, the terrorist training camps, and the killers were in the dark corners of the world, far away from the American homeland.
Then, one bright and beautiful Tuesday morning, they were here.


I was driving to a state legislative hearing in downtown Chicago when I heard the news on my car radio: a plane had hit the World Trade Center. By the time I got to my meeting, the second plane had hit, and we were told to evacuate.


People gathered in the streets and looked up at the sky and the Sears Tower, transformed from a workplace to a target. We feared for our families and our country. We mourned the terrible loss suffered by our fellow citizens. Back at my law office, I watched the images from New York: a plane vanishing into glass and steel; men and women clinging to windowsills, then letting go; tall towers crumbling to dust. It seemed all of the misery and all of the evil in the world were in that rolling black cloud, blocking out the September sun.


What we saw that morning forced us to recognize that in a new world of threats, we are no longer protected by our own power. And what we saw that morning was a challenge to a new generation.
The history of America is one of tragedy turned into triumph. And so a war over secession became an opportunity to set the captives free. An attack on Pearl Harbor led to a wave of freedom rolling across the Atlantic and Pacific. An Iron Curtain was punctured by democratic values, new institutions at home, and strong international partnerships abroad.


After 9/11, our calling was to write a new chapter in the American story. To devise new strategies and build new alliances, to secure our homeland and safeguard our values, and to serve a just cause abroad. We were ready. Americans were united. Friends around the world stood shoulder to shoulder with us. We had the might and moral-suasion that was the legacy of generations of Americans. The tide of history seemed poised to turn, once again, toward hope.
But then everything changed.

We did not finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We did not develop new capabilities to defeat a new enemy, or launch a comprehensive strategy to dry up the terrorists’ base of support. We did not reaffirm our basic values, or secure our homeland.


Instead, we got a color-coded politics of fear. Patriotism as the possession of one political party. The diplomacy of refusing to talk to other countries. A rigid 20th century ideology that insisted that the 21st century’s stateless terrorism could be defeated through the invasion and occupation of a state. A deliberate strategy to misrepresent 9/11 to sell a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.


And so, a little more than a year after that bright September day, I was in the streets of Chicago again, this time speaking at a rally in opposition to war in Iraq. I did not oppose all wars, I said. I was a strong supporter of the war in Afghanistan. But I said I could not support “a dumb war, a rash war” in Iraq. I worried about a “ U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences” in the heart of the Muslim world. I pleaded that we “finish the fight with bin Ladin and al Qaeda.”


The political winds were blowing in a different direction. The President was determined to go to war. There was just one obstacle: the U.S. Congress. Nine days after I spoke, that obstacle was removed. Congress rubber-stamped the rush to war, giving the President the broad and open-ended authority he uses to this day. With that vote, Congress became co-author of a catastrophic war. And we went off to fight on the wrong battlefield, with no appreciation of how many enemies we would create, and no plan for how to get out.


Because of a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged, we are now less safe than we were before 9/11.


According to the National Intelligence Estimate, the threat to our homeland from al Qaeda is “persistent and evolving.” Iraq is a training ground for terror, torn apart by civil war. Afghanistan is more violent than it has been since 2001. Al Qaeda has a sanctuary in Pakistan. Israel is besieged by emboldened enemies, talking openly of its destruction. Iran is now presenting the broadest strategic challenge to the United States in the Middle East in a generation. Groups affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda operate worldwide. Six years after 9/11, we are again in the midst of a “summer of threat,” with bin Ladin and many more terrorists determined to strike in the United States.


What’s more, in the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantanamo, we have compromised our most precious values. What could have been a call to a generation has become an excuse for unchecked presidential power. A tragedy that united us was turned into a political wedge issue used to divide us.


It is time to turn the page. It is time to write a new chapter in our response to 9/11.
Just because the President misrepresents our enemies does not mean we do not have them. The terrorists are at war with us. The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.
The President would have us believe that every bomb in Baghdad is part of al Qaeda’s war against us, not an Iraqi civil war. He elevates al Qaeda in Iraq – which didn’t exist before our invasion – and overlooks the people who hit us on 9/11, who are training new recruits in Pakistan. He lumps together groups with very different goals: al Qaeda and Iran, Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents. He confuses our mission.


And worse – he is fighting the war the terrorists want us to fight. Bin Ladin and his allies know they cannot defeat us on the field of battle or in a genuine battle of ideas. But they can provoke the reaction we’ve seen in Iraq: a misguided invasion of a Muslim country that sparks new insurgencies, ties down our military, busts our budgets, increases the pool of terrorist recruits, alienates America, gives democracy a bad name, and prompts the American people to question our engagement in the world.


By refusing to end the war in Iraq, President Bush is giving the terrorists what they really want, and what the Congress voted to give them in 2002: a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.


It is time to turn the page. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world’s most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.


The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


I introduced a plan in January that would have already started bringing our troops out of Iraq, with a goal of removing all combat brigades by March 31, 2008. If the President continues to veto this plan, then ending this war will be my first priority when I take office.


There is no military solution in Iraq. Only Iraq’s leaders can settle the grievances at the heart of Iraq’s civil war. We must apply pressure on them to act, and our best leverage is reducing our troop presence. And we must also do the hard and sustained diplomatic work in the region on behalf of peace and stability.


In ending the war, we must act with more wisdom than we started it. That is why my plan would maintain sufficient forces in the region to target al Qaeda within Iraq. But we 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. Our troops have fought valiantly there, but Iraq has deprived them of the support they need—and deserve. As a result, parts of Afghanistan are falling into the hands of the Taliban, and a mix of terrorism, drugs, and corruption threatens to overwhelm the country.


As President, I would deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to re-enforce our counter-terrorism operations and support NATO’s efforts against the Taliban. As we step up our commitment, our European friends must do the same, and without the burdensome restrictions that have hampered NATO’s efforts. We must also put more of an Afghan face on security by improving the training and equipping of the Afghan Army and Police, and including Afghan soldiers in U.S. and NATO operations.


We must not, however, repeat the mistakes of Iraq. The solution in Afghanistan is not just military – it is political and economic. As President, I would increase our non-military aid by $1 billion. These resources should fund projects at the local level to impact ordinary Afghans, including the development of alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers. And we must seek better performance from the Afghan government, and support that performance through tough anti-corruption safeguards on aid, and increased international support to develop the rule of law across the country.
Above all, I will send a clear message: we will not repeat the mistake of the past, when we turned our back on Afghanistan following Soviet withdrawal. As 9/11 showed us, the security of Afghanistan and America is shared. And today, that security is most threatened by the al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary in the tribal regions of northwest Pakistan.


Al Qaeda terrorists train, travel, and maintain global communications in this safe-haven. The Taliban pursues a hit and run strategy, striking in Afghanistan, then skulking across the border to safety.


This is the wild frontier of our globalized world. There are wind-swept deserts and cave-dotted mountains. There are tribes that see borders as nothing more than lines on a map, and governments as forces that come and go. There are blood ties deeper than alliances of convenience, and pockets of extremism that follow religion to violence. It’s a tough place.


But that is no excuse. There must be no safe-haven for terrorists who threaten America. We cannot fail to act because action is hard.


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.


To succeed, we must improve our civilian capacity. The finest military in the world is adapting to the challenges of the 21st century. But it cannot counter insurgent and terrorist threats without civilian counterparts who can carry out economic and political reconstruction missions – sometimes in dangerous places. As President, I will strengthen these civilian capacities, recruiting our best and brightest to take on this challenge. I will increase both the numbers and capabilities of our diplomats, development experts, and other civilians who can work alongside our military. We can’t just say there is no military solution to these problems. We need to integrate all aspects of American might.


One component of this integrated approach will be new Mobile Development Teams that bring together personnel from the State Department, the Pentagon, and USAID. These teams will work with civil society and local governments to make an immediate impact in peoples’ lives, and to turn the tide against extremism. Where people are most vulnerable, where the light of hope has grown dark, and where we are in a position to make a real difference in advancing security and opportunity – that is where these teams will go.


I will also strengthen our intelligence. This is about more than an organizational chart. We need leadership that forces our agencies to share information, and leadership that never – ever – twists the facts to support bad policies. But we must also build our capacity to better collect and analyze information, and to carry out operations to disrupt terrorist plots and break up terrorist networks.
This cannot just be an American mission. Al Qaeda and its allies operate in nearly 100 countries. The United States cannot steal every secret, penetrate every cell, act on every tip, or track down every terrorist – nor should we have to do this alone. This is not just about our security. It is about the common security of all the world.


As President, I will create a Shared Security Partnership Program to forge an international intelligence and law enforcement infrastructure to take down terrorist networks from the remote islands of Indonesia, to the sprawling cities of Africa. This program will provide $5 billion over three years for counter-terrorism cooperation with countries around the world, including information sharing, funding for training, operations, border security, anti-corruption programs, technology, and targeting terrorist financing. And this effort will focus on helping our partners succeed without repressive tactics, because brutality breeds terror, it does not defeat it.


We must also do more to safeguard the world’s most dangerous weapons. We know al Qaeda seeks a nuclear weapon. We know they would not hesitate to use one. Yet there is still about 50 tons of highly enriched uranium, some of it poorly secured, at civilian nuclear facilities in over forty countries. There are still about 15,000 to 16,00 nuclear weapons and stockpiles of uranium and plutonium scattered across 11 time zones in the former Soviet Union.


That is why I worked in the Senate with Dick Lugar to pass a law that would help the United States and our allies detect and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction.


And that is why, as President, I will lead a global effort to secure all nuclear weapons and material at vulnerable sites within four years. While we work to secure existing stockpiles, we should also negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material.


And I won’t hesitate to use the power of American diplomacy to stop countries from obtaining these weapons or sponsoring terror. The lesson of the Bush years is that not talking does not work. Go down the list of countries we’ve ignored and see how successful that strategy has been. We haven’t talked to Iran, and they continue to build their nuclear program. We haven’t talked to Syria, and they continue support for terror. We tried not talking to North Korea, and they now have enough material for 6 to 8 more nuclear weapons.


It’s time to turn the page on the diplomacy of tough talk and no action. It’s time to turn the page on Washington’s conventional wisdom that agreement must be reached before you meet, that talking to other countries is some kind of reward, and that Presidents can only meet with people who will tell them what they want to hear.


President Kennedy said it best: “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” Only by knowing your adversary can you defeat them or drive wedges between them. As President, I will work with our friend and allies, but I won’t outsource our diplomacy in Tehran to the Europeans, or our diplomacy in Pyongyang to the Chinese. I will do the careful preparation needed, and let these countries know where America stands. They will no longer have the excuse of American intransigence. They will have our terms: no support for terror and no nuclear weapons.
But America must be about more than taking out terrorists and locking up weapons, or else new terrorists will rise up to take the place of every one we capture or kill. That is why the third step in my strategy will be drying up the rising well of support for extremism.


When you travel to the world’s trouble spots as a United States Senator, much of what you see is from a helicopter. So you look out, with the buzz of the rotor in your ear, maybe a door gunner nearby, and you see the refugee camp in Darfur, the flood near Djibouti, the bombed out block in Baghdad. You see thousands of desperate faces.


Al Qaeda’s new recruits come from Africa and Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Many come from disaffected communities and disconnected corners of our interconnected world. And it makes you stop and wonder: when those faces look up at an American helicopter, do they feel hope, or do they feel hate?


We know where extremists thrive. In conflict zones that are incubators of resentment and anarchy. In weak states that cannot control their borders or territory, or meet the basic needs of their people. From Africa to central Asia to the Pacific Rim – nearly 60 countries stand on the brink of conflict or collapse. The extremists encourage the exploitation of these hopeless places on their hate-filled websites.


And we know what the extremists say about us. America is just an occupying Army in Muslim lands, the shadow of a shrouded figure standing on a box at Abu Ghraib, the power behind the throne of a repressive leader. They say we are at war with Islam. That is the whispered line of the extremist who has nothing to offer in this battle of ideas but blame – blame America, blame progress, blame Jews. And often he offers something along with the hate. A sense of empowerment. Maybe an education at a madrasa, some charity for your family, some basic services in the neighborhood. And then: a mission and a gun.


We know we are not who they say we are. America is at war with terrorists who killed on our soil. We are not at war with Islam. America is a compassionate nation that wants a better future for all people. The vast majority of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims have no use for bin Ladin or his bankrupt ideas. But too often since 9/11, the extremists have defined us, not the other way around.
When I am President, that will change. We will author our own story.


We do need to stand for democracy. And I will. But democracy is about more than a ballot box. America must show – through deeds as well as words – that we stand with those who seek a better life. That child looking up at the helicopter must see America and feel hope.


As President, I will make it a focus of my foreign policy to roll back the tide of hopelessness that gives rise to hate. Freedom must mean freedom from fear, not the freedom of anarchy. I will never shrug my shoulders and say – as Secretary Rumsfeld did – “Freedom is untidy.” I will focus our support on helping nations build independent judicial systems, honest police forces, and financial systems that are transparent and accountable. Freedom must also mean freedom from want, not freedom lost to an empty stomach. So I will make poverty reduction a key part of helping other nations reduce anarchy.


I will double our annual investments to meet these challenges to $50 billion by 2012. And I will support a $2 billion Global Education Fund to counter the radical madrasas – often funded by money from within Saudi Arabia – that have filled young minds with messages of hate. We must work for a world where every child, everywhere, is taught to build and not to destroy. And as we lead we will ask for more from our friends in Europe and Asia as well – more support for our diplomacy, more support for multilateral peacekeeping, and more support to rebuild societies ravaged by conflict.


I will also launch a program of public diplomacy that is a coordinated effort across my Administration, not a small group of political officials at the State Department explaining a misguided war. We will open “America Houses” in cities across the Islamic world, with Internet, libraries, English lessons, stories of America’s Muslims and the strength they add to our country, and vocational programs. Through a new “America’s Voice Corps” we will recruit, train, and send out into the field talented young Americans who can speak with – and listen to – the people who today hear about us only from our enemies.


As President, I will lead this effort. In the first 100 days of my Administration, I will travel to a major Islamic forum and deliver an address to redefine our struggle. I will make clear that we are not at war with Islam, that we will stand with those who are willing to stand up for their future, and that we need their effort to defeat the prophets of hate and violence. I will speak directly to that child who looks up at that helicopter, and my message will be clear: “You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now.”


This brings me to the fourth step in my strategy: I will make clear that the days of compromising our values are over.


Major General Paul Eaton had a long and distinguished career serving this country. It included training the Iraqi Army. After Abu Ghraib, his senior Iraqi advisor came into his office and said: “You have no idea how this will play out on the streets of Baghdad and the rest of the Arab world. How can this be?” This was not the America he had looked up to.


As the counter-insurgency manual reminds us, we cannot win a war unless we maintain the high ground and keep the people on our side. But because the Administration decided to take the low road, our troops have more enemies. Because the Administration cast aside international norms that reflect American values, we are less able to promote our values. When I am President, America will reject torture without exception. America is the country that stood against that kind of behavior, and we will do so again.


I also will reject a legal framework that does not work. There has been only one conviction at Guantanamo. It was for a guilty plea on material support for terrorism. The sentence was 9 months. There has not been one conviction of a terrorist act. I have faith in America’s courts, and I have faith in our JAGs. As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.


This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.
That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.


This Administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security. It is not. There are no short-cuts to protecting America, and that is why the fifth part of my strategy is doing the hard and patient work to secure a more resilient homeland.


Too often this Administration’s approach to homeland security has been to scatter money around and avoid hard choices, or to scare Americans without telling them what to be scared of, or what to do. A Department set up to make Americans feel safer didn’t even show up when bodies drifted through the streets in New Orleans. That’s not acceptable.


My Administration will take an approach to homeland security guided by risk. I will establish a Quadrennial Review at the Department of Homeland Security – just like at the Pentagon – to undertake a top to bottom review of the threats we face and our ability to confront them. And I will develop a comprehensive National Infrastructure Protection Plan that draws on both local know-how and national priorities.


We have to put resources where our infrastructure is most vulnerable. That means tough and permanent standards for securing our chemical plants. Improving our capability to screen cargo and investing in safeguards that will prevent the disruption of our ports. And making sure our energy sector – our refineries and pipelines and power grids – is protected so that terrorists cannot cripple our economy.


We also have to get past a top-down approach. Folks across America are the ones on the front lines. On 9/11, it was citizens – empowered by their knowledge of the World Trade Center attacks – who protected our government by heroically taking action on Flight 93 to keep it from reaching our nation’s capital. When I have information that can empower Americans, I will share it with them.
Information sharing with state and local governments must be a two-way street, because we never know where the two pieces of the puzzle are that might fit together – the tip from Afghanistan, and the cop who sees something suspicious on Michigan Avenue. I will increase funding to help train police to gather information and connect it to the intelligence they receive from the federal government. I will address the problem in our prisons, where the most disaffected and disconnected Americans are being explicitly targeted for conversion by al Qaeda and its ideological allies.
And my Administration will not permit more lives to be lost because emergency responders are not outfitted with the communications capability and protective equipment their job requires, or because the federal government is too slow to respond when disaster strikes. We’ve been through that on 9/11. We’ve been through it during Katrina. I will ensure that we have the resources and competent federal leadership we need to support our communities when American lives are at stake.
But this effort can’t just be about what we ask of our men and women in uniform. It can’t just be about how we spend our time or our money.

It’s about the kind of country we are.


We are in the early stages of a long struggle. Yet since 9/11, we’ve heard a lot about what America can’t do or shouldn’t do or won’t even try. We can’t vote against a misguided war in Iraq because that would make us look weak, or talk to other countries because that would be a reward. We can’t reach out to the hundreds of millions of Muslims who reject terror because we worry they hate us. We can’t protect the homeland because there are too many targets, or secure our people while staying true to our values. We can’t get past the America of Red and Blue, the politics of who’s up and who’s down.


That is not the America that I know.


The America I know is the last, best hope for that child looking up at a helicopter. It’s the country that put a man on the moon; that defeated fascism and helped rebuild Europe. It’s a country whose strength abroad is measured not just by armies, but rather by the power of our ideals, and by our purpose to forge an ever more perfect union at home.


That’s the America I know. We just have to act like it again to write that next chapter in the American story. If we do, we can keep America safe while extending security and opportunity around the world. We can hold true to our values, and in doing so advance those values abroad. And we can be what that child looking up at a helicopter needs us to be: the relentless opponent of terror and tyranny, and the light of hope to the world.


To make this story reality, it’s going to take Americans coming together and changing the fundamental direction of this country. It’s going to take the service of a new generation of young people. It’s going to take facing tragedy head-on and turning it into the next generation’s triumph. That is a challenge that I welcome. Because when we do make that change, we’ll do more than win a war – we’ll live up to that calling to make America, and the world, safer, freer, and more hopeful than we found it.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Shaughnessy writes:
Here is the full text of Obama’s speech, so that you Bush-Bots can see what tough, intelligent leadership really looks like.
Well, its smarmy tone aside, if you’re talking about the position of Student Council president, that speech might be seen as indicating "tough, intelligent leadership."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
so that you Bush-Bots can see what tough, intelligent leadership really looks like
I’m waiting to be shown...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
The fact is that Bush and Obama are probably close on this one.

Erb, I don’t doubt that in their hearts and minds they are close on this one specific issue. I suspect the other candidates would also find it a tough decision to make, and I agree that a lot of factors would come into play in making such a decision.

But there is a high level of irresponsibility in saying that we would violate that border without Pakistan’s permission - a level that exceeds Bush’s rhetoric that "all options are on the table". There is a big difference there.

Yes, some on the right are hypocritical to criticize Obama’s position, when they would certainly defend Bush had he said/done the same thing. But likewise it is hypocritical for those on the left to say that Obama’s position is one of tough, flexible strength and wisdom, if they cannot likewise back such positions when they come out of the Bush/Cheney administration. It’s just as dishonest.

I want to see Obama’s comments criticized by those who find Bush to be dangerously hawkish. I want to see some consistency all around.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
it is hypocritical for those on the left to say that Obama’s position is one of tough, flexible strength and wisdom, if they cannot likewise back such positions when they come out of the Bush/Cheney administration.
Please give an example of where Bush has been criticized by anybody for "tough, flexible strength and wisdom."
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
"All options are on the table".

Sorry if you missed it the first time, Shaughnessy. If that’s not tough and flexible, and if that’s not strength and wisdom, then neither is Barak Obama’s threat to cross the border. I don’t care whether you reject them both or embrace them both, but I don’t see how you can accept Obama’s comments while demonizing Bush’s.

With any honesty and integrity, I mean.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
"All options are on the table".


That is boilerplate president-speak. Correctly do. Assuming in this instance that this refers to possibly striking at AQ leadership in Pakistan, whoever criticized the statement is an idiot. BTW: I also consider this the proper presidential statement as to Iran.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Mr. Wulf has Mr. Shaughnessy’s number.
 
Written By: &amp
URL: http://
Please give an example of where Bush has been criticized by anybody for "tough, flexible strength and wisdom."
Any time you’ve ever open your mouth as regards our policies in the Middle East, including Iraq, would seem to qualify rather well.

oh, that’s right, you don’t consider them tough flexible strength and wisdom. Then again, your judgments are already in serious doubt.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
tough, flexible strength and wisdom.
This is exactly what springs to mind when considering the Iraq War. . . But only for Bush-Bots.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Shaughnessy writes:
But only for Bush-Bots.
That’s such a "bot" response.

By the way, tactics have changed constantly in Iraq, on both sides. You have the U.S. military, its commanders, and its commander-in-chief, adapting all the time to counter tactics by the insurgency, which adapts to our tactics. All of that plays out in theatre, where the bad guys need to feed the Western media a juicy carbombing on a regular schedule. That plays out in Iraqi, Western, and most importantly, for the bad guys, American politics. Tactical adaptation, you see, is tactical adaptation. The real battle is the battle of wills.

Take you, for instance. You are a "win" for the enemy, and they are as proud of that as you are.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
You are a "win" for the enemy, and they are as proud of that as you are.
You’re a moron. Goodbye.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Shaughnessy writes in response to my estimation of his value to the enemy in Iraq:
"You are a "win" for the enemy, and they are as proud of that as you are."

You’re a moron. Goodbye.
Well, if you can’t appreciate the role you play as an enemy collaborator, then you’re not living your life, such as it is, to the fullest. Just stumbling around calling people "Bush bots" reflects a mere adolescent enjoyment of the small but important part you play. Look to the bigger picture, and truly understand what you are.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
enemy collaborator
If I were you, I wouldn’t say that.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
His mother called him an enemy collaborator once... ONCE!
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
If I were you, I wouldn’t say that.
Careful, Martin. he might take his ball and bat and troll elsewhere. . er uh . . I mean, go elsewhere to play.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
No Martin the real battle is the battle of bullets and bombs. All the will in the world won’t make you into the IFC heavyweight champion, nor will it make your goals in Iraq attainable. Which leaves you to kick against the pricks. All your will won’t get you anything but bloody feet.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Retief writes:
No Martin the real battle is the battle of bullets and bombs.
Actually, not. If this were a conventional war, of course, it would be over, because the American will to have superior and definitive firepower eclipses that of almost all potential conventional adversaries. (I think that a theoretical ground war against the Chinese, for instance, presents problems.) But in this sort of low-intensity insurgency/counter-insurgency asymmetrical conflict in their yard, it is a contest of wills. And our will is dependent on the political will, first, of our leaders, and then upon the political will of the American public.

Because we are a republic, the political will of the public takes time to express, through successive elections, and depending on how susceptible to the winds of popular opinion the leaders are.

The car bombs in Baghdad are meant to explode in the Western and American media and that, as you can see, has resulted in the rise of the "Defeat at any cost" collaborationists who have staked their political interests on losing the war. They have joined in a de facto alliance with the car bombers. The political success of the collaborationists is driven by and depends on the work of the car bombers. Them is the facts.

As to Shaughnessy’s,
If I were you, I wouldn’t say that.
It’s already said.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/

 
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