Tuesday, August 07, 2007

# Posted 11:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

OBAMA VS. GATES VS. MUSHARRAF: After Hillary accused him of being naive about national security, Obama decided to advertise that he would attack Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan even without the permission of Gen. Musharraf. On Sunday morning, Tim Russert decided to ask the Secretary of Defense a very similar question:
MR. RUSSERT: Before you go, if we had actionable intelligence about Osama bin Laden or high level targets in Pakistan, and General Musharraf—President Musharraf did not act, would we act unilaterally?

SEC’Y GATES: Musharraf has been a very strong ally. The fact of the matter is, if we had actionable intelligence that Osama was in Pakistan, I think—my view is that President Musharraf would work with us to make sure that we could go after him.

MR. RUSSERT: But if he didn’t, would we act unilaterally?

SEC’Y GATES: I think we would not act without telling Musharraf what we were planning to do.
A diplomatic answer from the Secretary, although not a very clear one. Thus, it seems Obama has found a way to position himself to the right of the Bush administration on one small aspect of national security.

On the one hand, I'm glad to see that Obama can think of at least one situation in which he would support the use of force unilaterally. But his position strikes me as opportunistic. He can afford to antagonize the Pakistanis precisely because he isn't President. If he were, both the State Department and the Pentagon would be knocking down his door to prevent him from risking the US government's entire relationship with Pakistan. I'm guessing that since Democrats are so big on exhausting all diplomatic options before resorting to the use of force, Obama would listen.

If it hadn't been just a week after Hillary attacked him for being naive, I doubt Obama would've tried to flank both her and Bush from the right.

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(4) opinions -- Add your opinion

Why is it that Obama CAN'T speak freely about Pakistan without causing "instability" to it, but Hillary CAN speak freely about Iraq without causing instability to it? (ie. her entire party are talking about withdrawal every chance they can get, and when the Bush admin warns they may aggravate the situation there, her entire party hotly responds that political debate should not be suppressed due to Whitehouse "scare tactics")
So are we saying that only Pakistanis watch TV and Iraqis don't? How does this selective hearing work?
It's hypocrisy.
San, I think you explain the difference yourself. Everyone is already talking about withdrawal from Iraq. Obama was the first prominent figure to suggest we stick our finger in Musharraf's eye. Personally, I think Musharraf could use a good poke, but that's just me.
I violently disagree with the idea that unilateral use of military force is a good idea. We usually get those "good ideas" from those who haven't seen human bodies torn apart by high explosives. From what I remember, the Empire of Japan had just such a foreign policy in late 1941, and it really didn't turn out all that great for them.

It isn't the cowboy way. A cowboy never strikes the first blow.
Isn't Obama like Kerry? Always supporting the war we are not fighting but not supporting the war we are fighting. I seriously doubt if we rolled into Pakistan tommorrow Obama would support the action. It's just a way to sound like he supports the use of force without actually meaning it. Democrats have been severely alergic to actually using force for a while.
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