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Obama on Terrorism:
The Experts Weigh In

Sen. Barack Obama speaking Wednesday on the war on terror. (AP).

Today, in a speech billed as a "comprehensive strategy to fight global terrorism," Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) spoke about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan, removing troops from Iraq and increasing efforts against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Below, experts in the field of terrorism and foreign policy assess Obama's take on what he called "The War We Need to Win." (Read Dan Balz's report on the speech here.)

Richard A. Clarke, former White House counterterrorism official, who has briefed Obama on terrorism related issues: I believe his speech is a comprehensive, sophisticated approach to terrorism. I was glad to see it recognized the importance of stopping repressive police and intelligence activities in countries threatened by al-Qaeda and terrorism. I'm also glad to see him say clearly that we are not at war with Islam but must partner with Muslims threatened by al-Qaeda. On Pakistan, I think it must be true anywhere that if we know of high value targets and the host government will not act, we have to do so.

Teresita C. Schaffer, Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' South Asia program and former U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka: In general, much of what he said is actually very much in line with U.S. policy, including the conditioning of military aid to Pakistan, which is about to be put into law. His statement that we would be willing to act if President Musharraf isn't, is not dramatically different from the current administration's attitude. Most members of the administration don't like to talk about this, and look on it as an absolute last resort. What he said isn't that different from what Frances Townsend [White House homeland security adviser]was saying over the weekend. He did propose additional economic assistance, and suggested that we ought to be emphasizing economic rather than military aid. This is a good suggestion.

Also worth noting from this speech was his proposal to reshape U.S military capabilities and to beef up diplomatic capabilities for handling post-insurgency situations.

I was a diplomat for 30 years and the idea of strengthening our diplomatic ability to deal with these complex situations is a sound one. You don't just send in the army-there's a whole civilian aspect as well. His emphasis on public diplomacy seemed like it could in some ways would take us back to a time when public diplomacy was a significant part of the budget, which it currently is not.

Lisa Curtis, senior South Asia research fellow at the Heritage Foundation: His mention of conditioning assistance to Pakistan is not new--Congress passed legislation to do that last week. I would sound a cautionary note on this, however. In 1990, the U.S. abruptly cut off assistance to Pakistan because of its nuclear program. That had a very negative impact on U.S. relations with Pakistan. The Pakistanis felt betrayed. They thought this was unfair treatment and that the U.S. seemed like a fickle partner. If anybody knows that history, they would understand that conditioning aid through legislation is just going to bring up those memories, and raise doubts about the U.S. reliability as a partner, particularly at a time when the U.S. needs to support Pakistan in its efforts against extremism.

Peter Bergen, author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know:" Overall it was a very strong speech. Here is a minor criticism: While there is no doubt that conflict zones can breed terrorism, the 9/11 plot was actually planned in Hamburg. The idea that weak and failingstates are causes of terrorism is wrong. There is in fact overwhelming academic literature that demonstrates the reverse is true. Terrorism is a sort of bourgeois endeavor. On a related point, the idea that madrassas are a big problem for violence against the United States is also wrong. Madrassas lead to problems regionally, and are a big problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in terms of terrorism against the United States.

Daniel Markey, former State Department official, current senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations: If you were to be as charitable as you can possibly be about his read of things--by looking for diplomacy where there isn't much--he is saying if Musharraf will not help us, then we will act alone. It is hard to dispute that basic statement, but by implication Obama is building in an assumption that Musharraf is unlikely to act. Politically -- in terms of US electoral prospects, this is just fine. It's probably the only thing he can say in the context of the upcoming primaries. But in the diplomatic sense it's unfortunate because it sends a message about our relationship with Pakistan that undercuts the partnership we're trying to build. It says that we don't trust Musharraf, even when it comes to hitting the top leadership of al-Qaeda - the very group that has tried to assassinate him on multiple occasions.

In another part of his speech, I think that Obama makes a very strong case for greater US commitment to Afghanistan. This is a positive, constructive agenda that also has political bite because it presses the point that the Bush Administration dropped the ball on the real threat when it turned towards Iraq. That aside, Obama's argument has the potential to be a unifying goal for Americans on both sides of the aisle: winning the war in Afghanistan and closing the door on the threat that hit us on 9/11. More military, economic, and political commitment from the US will also pay dividends in when we approach our allies - especially those in NATO - to make a greater sacrifice. And it sends a constructive signal to Afghans and their neighbors (including Pakistan): the US will be there to help you finish the job, so don't give up hope or continue to hedge your bets.

Michael F. Scheuer, the founding head of the CIA's bin Laden unit: Senator Obama must have left a couple zeroes off his plan for reinforcements. Two brigades -- which is about 6,000 men -- will not make a lick of difference in Afghanistan, which is a country the size of Texas, with the highest mountains on earth, a hostile population, and a growing Islamist insurgency. If Obama starts talking about 100 brigades -- about 300,000 men -- then the public might be able to assume he means business. Otherwise, he is just blowing smoke. Obama and all the other candidates in the other parties constantly say that "we have tried the military option and it does not work." This of course is a bald lie; U.S. military power has been used most daintily in Afghanistan and Iraq. If the military power we have delivered in both places so far is the best we can do, then American taxpayers have been monumentally swindled in the amount of taxes they have paid for their military during the past 25 years. And another billion dollars for aid for Afghan reconstruction would just be another billion wasted. It appears that Obama and his fellow candidates in both parties have not learned that programs for economic recovery, internal stability, and nation-building cannot be started with any hope of effectiveness and durability until the enemy has been definitively annihilated. If Obama is right and the military option has failed, then more aid is just throwing money away because -- as all can see -- the enemy is growing in size and ferocity and shows no signs of being on the edge of annihilation.

By Post Editor  |  August 1, 2007; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Barack Obama  
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you can call him niave if you want
but when he wins the nomination and then the general, try not to feel dumb and lead by the MSM who have always nit-picked on young politicians since kennedy ran,

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 3, 2007 1:50 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't buy a used car from Barack Obama, let alone put him in charge of the country. Wise up people. Obama is naive and being naive has made him careless.

Posted by: audart | August 2, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

jaduboy: its worth it if you dont want another 9/11

and to anyone who says Obama wants to invade pakistan or send the 100,000+ troops in Iraq to should actually listen to his speech here:

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 2, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

McGish: Yes its upto Pakistan to solve their problems, american threats and american interference doesnt solve anything.

SeanFoots: Sending American troops to any part of Pakistan has the same effects on the Pakistani govt, it will also enflame the Pakistani population. Its a counterproductive move and not worth it.

The American military has failed to eradicate terrorism from Iraq and Afghanistan, its is not qualified to do anything in Pakistan.

Posted by: jaduboy | August 2, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

In his much discussed speech, there is no doubt that Barack Obama came close to enunciating a military-diplomatic doctrine that encapsulates his thinking with respect to the imperative of striking a proper balance between diplomatic practice and military necessity.

Posted by: TSMMDA | August 2, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I am unclear as to how some could have construed Senator Obama's speech to indicate he supported an invasion of Pakistan. Nothing he said suggests that is something he would support or pursue. What he advocated was precise and exact special forces operations on key targets based on actionable intelligence. In a sense, a controlled and calculated military action, not an invasion by any means. He never suggested it was or should be our desire to topple the government of Pakistan, or occupy the country. In fact, he promotes this limited response if, and only if, Pakistan does not take action on its own. Since Pakistan is supposedly our ally in combating terrorism, the thought that it would not or could not take action within its own borders to begin to justice those individuals responsible for the death of innocent people around the world is incomprehensible to me. If a country cannot or will not complete its basic duty in monitoring and dealing with its internal problems (especially when those problems are directed outside the country), then its national sovereignty can and should come into question.
Did we all forget that President Bush and his military commanders passed up the opportunity to conduct such direct and targeted strikes in Pakistan? Rather, they conducted a full scale invasion of Iraq, a country which had few to no ties to al Qaeda or those groups responsible for much of the terrorism witnessed around the world. They allowed those responsible to go free because they were so concerned with losing one of this country's few allying in our ludicrous war (although supposedly the Coalition of the Willing is enormous!). They should have thought about these consequences before invading Iraq. Senator Obama is a breath of fresh air. Strong where and when we need it, intelligent and calculating, and an individual that recognizes the importance of simultaneous varied approaches to dynamic problems. We could only be so luck to have such a President, especially after the failure of this current administration.

Posted by: chiquoin | August 2, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The fact is that there's not much disagreement regarding Pakistan and our carrots and sticks in dealing with it in the context of disabling Al Qaeda. Obama's ideas are mainstream.

The problem is he goes around trumpeting his willingness to invade...and for what? To score points in a primary. That's irresponsible.

George W. was roundly criticized by the very people who now support Obama when he called NKorea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil." He was right, but he shouldn't have said it. It has been a touchpoint for recalcitrance from those three nations, and complicated diplomatic efforts in the runup to the Iraq war as well as denuclearization efforts in Iran and Korea.

Obama should have learned this lesson.

Posted by: mshimazu | August 2, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Having been partially raised in Indonesia and carrying a Muslim name, Hussein, from a Muslim father, Sen. Obama has much greater insight in this matter than would be suggested by his vacant military experience. Should he not be the Democratic nominee or if he gets it and loses, he may be young enough to join the Armed Forces and become an officer. Then, he could help lead the charge into Pakistan or elsewhere and greatly improve on his considerable credentials for another shot at The White House. Have a go, B. O.!

Posted by: filoporquequilo | August 2, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Having been partially raised in Indonesia and carrying a Muslim name, Hussein, from a Muslim father, Sen. Obama has much greater insight in this matter than would be suggested by his absent military experience. Should he not be the Democratic nominee or if he gets it and loses, he may be young enough to join the Armed Forces and become an officer. Then, he could lead the charge into Pakistan or elsewhere and greatly improve his considerable credentials for another shot at The White House.

Posted by: filoporquequilo | August 2, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Two Observations --

First, these are Guerilla Ops in Pakistan by local inhabitants with longstanding and deep political discontent. Invading, attacking someone else's native country is to invite Fierce and lethal Resistance, which in Vietnam and Somalia, in Iraq and Afghanistan we could not, have not overcome.

Second, unless we have an Strong, Effective, and Successful Political Result along side of our Military Option, we will guarantee ourselves Mission Failure.

Just remember Vietnam, where we suffered the LOSS of over 58,000 U.S. Combat Soldiers and Marines before we finally called it quits.

We had vast Military Superiority, and we used it.

But we had a difficult time telling the difference between our Vietnamese "allies" during the day from our deadly VietCong enemy as night fell.

We are in the same mess again in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the Red Zone, (which is EVERYTHING outside our little Green Zone), we have a tough time telling the difference between the White towel heads and the Black towel heads

The Congressional Budget Office estimates a monthly cost of $12 billion per month for the war in Iraq for 2007.

Some of that is being used to manufacture "IED proof" vehicles at a cost a Five Hundred thou per vehicle.

That's compared to the cost of a string of increasingly sophisticated and more powerful IED's that are hidden under roadways as remotely controlled Traps against our Combat Soldiers and Marines.

BTW, Iraq is one of the most heavily mined nations in the world. As of early 2003, it was estimated that there were over 10 Million Mines already in the ground -- 8 Million antipersonnel (AP) and 2 Million antitank (AT), with Iraq both a producer and exporter of AP mines.

So when our Presidential Politiciams talk on TV about attacking this country or that, in pursuit of this Terrorist group or that, they are just blowing smoke up your butt.

They don't know what they are talking about. Their expensive consultants don't know what they're talking about either.

And judging from our experience in Vietnam and Somalia, in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither do our Pentagon Planners, unfortunately.

I swear -- sometimes I believe that we are Addicted to War.

Posted by: leochen24551 | August 2, 2007 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Is this what they call Mission Creep?

Creeps keep creeping upon us with numbers (of soldiers) and amounts (of treasure) they need to prosecute the strangest of "wars" ever fought: one without end, with fuzzy objectives, with no national borders or identities, with an enemy that is little more than a label. If you ask the innocent question "Are we there yet?" there can be no answer, ever, from our war leaders (because there's no "there" in this war.) So, when do we know when this war is over? When we have completed the mission. What is the mission? To achieve success. What is success? Success is completing the mission. Who are we fighting? The Enemy. Who? Vicious. Beg your pardon? Evil. How many of them are there? Be afraid, be very afraid. They seem to be growing in numbers and spreading, is that so? Be afraid, be very afraid. What do they want? To destroy democracy. Why? Because democracy is good and they are evil.

Think hard. Have our leaders told us anything more about this war and The Enemy than the inanities above?

The punditocracy now is starting to float surreal numbers. One of them mentions 300,000 troops for Afghanistan alone. What about Iraq? Iran? Syria? Pakistan? Surely we need to go in to all these countries and more (India, Indonesia, Bangladesh .. all have people who look like The Enemy) if we are to destroy The Enemy completely.

Now Barrack Obama has joined the asylum. Does he have the answers? These are the most basic of questions that any leader contemplating war better know. If not, in the end, the outcome will not be any different from what the current war president has wrought.

Posted by: holywoodog | August 2, 2007 4:16 AM | Report abuse

First of all, Obama doesn't have a chance. I agree with those who have written above that his statement about attacking inside Pakistan only undermines what little credibility he had left. Yes indeed a lot of people got excited and gave money to his campaign. That will not be sustained. If he could wrest front-runner status from HC the big spigots might open, but...

It's not that I don't like the guy, by the way. He is simply too inexperienced for my taste. (Yes, I hear you say, "JFK was inexperienced!" and of course I say look no further than Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs and the LSD in Fidel's cigar.) I hope he comes back when he's put in a little more time. Perhaps as a veep. (Though frankly to whom, I don't know. I don't see any winners in the Dem ranks, polls be damned.)

On Pakistan, of course any overt US incursion inside Pakistan's borders would further weaken Musharraf. When your country gets bombed by another country it is humiliating. When your country gets bombed by your leader's allies, the humiliation is magnified--you are humiliated on your own behalf, but even more you are humiliated on behalf of your leader. That's not a sentiment that has ever kept anyone in power and certainly wouldn't help someone with so precarious a hold as Mr. Musharraf.

Posted by: wastebasket13 | August 2, 2007 1:36 AM | Report abuse

What did Obama say on Aug 1 ?

"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-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

My take:

Tough talk, but clearly this is not good diplomacy. Obama's threat of using force in Pakistan is one of the most reckless positions espoused yet in this campaign. While not as crazy as Tancredo's chat about bombing Mecca and Medina, it is still quite naive and irresponsible (heard that before?) -- and very dangerous. Since when do we send troops into a sovereign country that possesses nuclear weapons, unless they ask us? The fate of Pakistan is a critical element in our ability to stabilze Afghanistan. We have to fly over Pakistan to get into Afghanistan. If Pakistan were to go against us and radicalize, there would be a nuclear war between them and India -- and we would only hope that some of those nukes wouldn't find there way over here or on one of our allies.

Let's not confuse this with a careful consideration of important foreign policy issues facing the US today. I see this as an amateur effort to sway primary voters. I don't know who Obama's advisors are, but this was definitely NOT well thought out by top rate people. My advice to Obama about Afghanistan: Don't let your defensiveness complicate the situation.

Posted by: politicallogic | August 2, 2007 1:27 AM | Report abuse


Sending american troops to some mountains in Northeastern Pakistan to take out Al-Queda is not going to destabilized the Pakistani Government, hense that is all he wants to do, IF that were necessary. He wasnt talking about invading pakistan

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 2, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse


I said Pakistan has to clean up Pakistan, not us. They have to treat the symptoms as well as the problems. Their madrasses are producing more jihadis than both of us can kill conventionally. Pakistan is a repository of the worst type of Islamic extremism and backwardness. If they allow it to fester and we suffer another major attack because of it, I think people here will demand that the rules of the game fundamentally change. That probably means that the border tribal regions will be bombed indiscriminately, and most of the madrasses all over Pakistan will be targeted as enemy encampments.

Posted by: mcgish | August 2, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse


You failed to "clean up" Iraq and Afghanistan and are not capable of "cleaning up Pakistan". The United States is responsible for its own failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, nobody else is.

Regarding Obama's threats to Pakistan, I dont think he understands that such an action would hurt the Pakistani govt and bolster militants.

Posted by: jaduboy | August 1, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Relax people, Pakistan is no longer in control of its nukes. They forfeited the right. I can assure you, they do not control those resources.

Posted by: mcgish | August 1, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

58 million did not just come from hollywood and chicago

it came from people - 260,000 of them

appearently those who think Obama has not chance of winning the nomination and the general are either not paying attention to polls or are in denial

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 1, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

and another thing
it wasnt the liberals who started this war in iraq, it was the trigger happy republicans + hillary

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 1, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

and another thing
it wasnt the liberals who started this war in iraq, it was the trigger happys republicans + hillary

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 1, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

How, exactly, is Obama's position on the war on terror any different than Sen. Clinton or Gov. Richardson? Other than leaving the impression that we would be willing to send troops to Pakistan (all of the candidates would do so if we had credible and actionable intelligence), and that he seems to not understand the condition of our CIA, Army, and Marine Corps?

Sen. Biden at least has an understanding of the consequences of failure in Iraq, and a real proposal and approach that may (with a little luck and a REAL commitment) work.

I think Sen. Obama just cost himself any hope (and he didn't have a lot of that, no matter how much money he raises in Hollywood and from the corrupt Chicago pols) of ever winning the Democratic nomination, much less a general election.

Good riddance. He was perhaps the least qualified of all the candidates in this race. Although it has been amusing to hear about a "Revolution" happening based on two polls out of SC and NH - 1/3 of Democratic voters in these respective states are leading a revolution!

When is the press going to wake up and start taking seriously the choices in what may be one of the most important elections this nation has ever had - and they are still focused on a "Rock Star" - thanks Oprah - its Entertainment Tonight - 24-7

It would be funny, if our troops and so many innocent people in Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan and any number of other places weren't loosing their lives. And this guy is not worthy of their sacrifices.

Posted by: clawrence35 | August 1, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse



he is sending some troops along borders and mountains to take out Al-Queda and find Bin-Laden. Folks, this is not an invasion, we arent waging war on pakistan. THIS IS FINDING AND CAPTURING THOSE WHO KILLED 3000 AMERICANS nothing more, nothing less

and Obama is very electable, hense the 58 million, him tieing clinton in New Hampshire, him ahead in South Carolina, him beating republicans by 5, 10, 15 percent (much more than clinton's numbers)

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 1, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Love it! all the liberals now are ready to start ANOTHER WAR because it's Obama's war! Yes go to war with a country run by wakos with alot of nukes. What is Obama hussein going to say to the parents of all our soldiers who get fried by Paki Nukes. This guy makes Bush look sane.

Posted by: beecheery | August 1, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

A strong speech by Obama, who contrary to a couple morons upthread can easily win both the nomination (tied in NH and SC, looking at a modest money advantage on Clinton, many still don't know who he is) and the general (wins every head-to-head by 5% or more right now.)

Love the last official weighing in challenging Obama to put 300000 troops into Afghanistan. Exactly how many do we have now in Iraq? Right. Way to go, Mr. Strawman.

Posted by: Nissl | August 1, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

You think attacking Pak will stop them, and by the way don't patronize me Pak does not have a system with the range, But try and read what any kind of nuke war means? Thats why we have not gone into Pak as hard as we like, He would use nukes, Its a target rich area of the world, or Prez Mufunny face would use them I don't get it he says what we all think,and what great message to hear what you think, very well crafted.

Posted by: RaferJanders | August 1, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Barak must be drinking his own Bush-Lite Kool Aid.

He is just trading and Iraqi quagmire for a Pakastani quagmire.

Posted by: deals | August 1, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah. I'm also tired of the Osama, erm, I mean Obama and Clinton side-show. All this political theatre is distracting from actual issues; the loss of our country. Why is it the media has the spotlight on these two clowns? Why does the media deliberately ignore RON PAUL? Skrew Osama, Clinton and everyone else. Vote RON PAUL in the next election!

Posted by: kogejoe | August 1, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Just like Bush, only Blacker!

Posted by: kogejoe | August 1, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

To the guy in Pakistan: I don't think you understand. If you do not clean that area up and we suffer another 9/11, we will destroy (i.e., wipe out) that breeding ground.

Posted by: mcgish | August 1, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

This was a powerful speech by Obama, and a lucid exposition of why invading Iraq has eroded, not strengthened, our national interests. I should point out what the WP should have known -- Richard Clarke is not an objective source in the above article, as he is an Obama advisor. That said, I hope Obama's speech will catalyze more debate about foreign policy in this election.

Posted by: miked98 | August 1, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama definitely outperformed Hillary in the last debate and he is now trying to further separate himself.

He must run a perfect campaign to win because most of the media (save for FoxNews of course) will give Hillary a pass at every chance.

Her negative ratings are no doubt extremely alarming to her people and that number will only grow when you get the average Joe voters coming out and expressing their dislike for her.

I wonder if there has ever been a more disliked presidential candidate in the history of this country. Also wonder if anyone this loathed has ever won the race.

Posted by: gthstonesman | August 1, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

every country has the right to defend itself, the US has that right and so does Pakistan.

But for all the supporters of Barack's foreign policy wrt Pakistan, are you guys really sure that the people in the tribal areas of Pakistan are spending their timing plotting to destroy the US. These guys are busier killing Pakistanis these days, just go through the news for the past 2 years to see how many Pakistanis have been killed by suicide bombings. We guys probably hate them more than you do.

And please we dont need you to step inside our territories , cause where ever you guys go , you bring with you destruction and instability. The people of Pakistan do not fight the war on terrorism for the US, the US has done nothing except support military dictators throughout Pakistan's history.

Without Pakistan's help , the US would really have been unsafer after 9/11. Attacking Pakistan would completely erase the little positive image left of the US, and would ensure a very big breeding ground for terrorists that plan and plot against the US.

Terrorism wont be eradicated with bombs, you either pay off the terrorists or cause a change of heart by actually doing some good for the common man.

Posted by: mohammadrao | August 1, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Finally, a democrat with guts. I though they were all girly men.

His plan includes diplomatic and financial incentives as well as military solutions. Now, we have president.

Some of these cowards haven't even read the full transcript of the speech and they're already misquoting him. He didn't say he would invade Pakistan. Quite frankly, this guy is more intelligent than all the candidates on the democratic front. Apparently some of them don't even understand what he's saying.


Take Wolf Blitzer's advise- read the transcript of the speech for yourselves. fools!

Posted by: zrarieh | August 1, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

AMEN to you McGish!!

So what Pak has does China, Russia and many many other countries.
Is that putting our tail between our legs??
So we can spend TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS on a civil war (oil) but we don't protect ourselves from the people who attacked us?

Posted by: marinemommilof3 | August 1, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Pak has nukes. I suppose you think they're going to target the United States or our troops in the region with those nukes. A) They cannot target the U.S., and B) if they target our troops they'll be risking total annihilation. But whatever the risk the fact is we cannot allow a safe haven in Pakistan for extremists to train and plot another 9/11. If we're willing to allow it we may as well just surrender.

The Musharef regime has been duplicitous. To think that we're actually putting up with an enemy sanctuary in a so-called friendly state is mind-boggling. It could only happen in the alternative universe created by the inept Bush administration. This is the same crazy universe in which we're attacked by Saudi Arabia and we respond by attacking Iraq.

Posted by: mcgish | August 1, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

read july 25 senate CFR statement

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

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

That lead him to SAY THE RIGHT THING

and that wasn't good for POLLS

But it is Good for the world.

I believe Barack has not just reacted to Hillarys
statement at the last YOUTUBE DEBATE but he is using
what he has learned to help let the people of Pakistan
understand that he is a potential candidate who will
take action and it can be good and it can be bad
depending on their actions in the upcoming elections.

Now this was not what many expected to hear from
Barack. Especially after coming out on top after the
Clinton/Obama fued.

To me it tells me Barack has decided that letting the
Pakistan people know what is going on and by making it
(which to many may have hurt Barack in the primaries)
that the future president is willing to help with 5
billion dollars in aid to that region. This is
important because they do need funding for stability.
Barack knows that much has been lost due to all the
funds going to the war in Iraq. This i am sure hurts
Barack. He knows Bush had a chance at doing great
things in afghanistan and Pakistan but that was
detored with the Iraq war.

I know, this was a shock to me, a supporter, to see
his statements about invading Pakistan, but now that i
have read the "full report", i am proud of Barack, for
doing whats right, versus just trying to win an election through getting good polls numbers.

A copy of the full report is at my blog with all the
links =

which has direct links to its original posting at the
senate foreign relations committee web site (listed on
my blog)

I can imagine how torn Barack was during the last
week. He had Cliton telling him he was niave and then
he was listening to the statements about Pakistan in
his senate foreign relations hearings.

I am sure it was hard for Obama to make this statement
knowing that it isn't a positive statement but it was
more important to send a message to the people of
Pakistan than to be concerned for his own election /
polls results.

For this i have to thank Barack for pushing the
envelop and helping to do the right thing that is best
for the long run for american for Pakistan and for the

Gotta love you Barack your so special and concerned
for doing the right thing :)

Posted by: DANIELLECLARKE | August 1, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Empty Suit.

Posted by: hbp1 | August 1, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

This is once again another example of Obama not having enough sand in his pockets, he is still thinking big game coach, Ok we attack Pak. Pak has NUKES!! hello youg man you just don't go and attack somebody that has a nuke to back up his army, Hillary is no better, that lady couldn't lead a fat guy to a hot dog. Dr. Ron Paul is the only real person running for the President, If you don't believe me go see for yourself, Pick up a copy of the Consitution and read along. He has a few things they don't Integrity, he's a Doctor a healer, not a lawyer, a Consistent voting record, Pro America, Anti WAR! I challenge all the thinkers to see for yourself. Remeber a Closed Mind is an empty one. And Republican and Democrat are stupid terms, We are all Americans, United we stand Divided we fall.

Posted by: RaferJanders | August 1, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Go get em Obama!!

I can't wait to hear what the Chickenhawks Limbo and Insannity have to say about this.
Aiding in the oil take over of the Dubya/Dick FAILED policy in Iraq.

This gives me hope that my kids can finally fight for what they enlisted for:
to fight terrorism, not a civil war for the Sunni's (Saudia Arabia/Haliburton/ Carlyle Group

Posted by: marinemommilof3 | August 1, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

So, if people would actually read the whole speech they would see what most of these foreign policy experts see, that Obama is making very good points. He talks about a strike on Al Qaeda in Pakistan, not an invasion of Pakistan. The media is misrepresenting this. And for all the peace people on the left who want no more military action ever, then I guess we should not send a UN Force into Darfur? You see, in Darfur, all else has failed. There needs to be some military muscle to make all the diplomacy work. Same in Pakistan with Al Qaeda. We need to do more than ask Pakistan to please clean up Al Qaeda. We need to use some toughness to back up all the diplomatic efforts that Obama has outlined, if people would only read the speech. He ramps up diplomacy, economic aid, educational aid, and fighting poverty. He understands the broad issues and broad responses that are necessary, as the experts above have mentioned. But you can't leave the military behind. That would be naive.

Posted by: goldie2 | August 1, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

In response to the person above that stated Bill Richardson initially supported the Iraq War, that is inaccurate.

Once the war began Richardson, of course, wished the best for our troops. But prior to the invasion, Richardson criticized the Bush Administration's rush to war. Richardson advocated that the U.S. explore all diplomatic approaches including returning to the U.N. Security Council for approval of any invasion.

In an interview on CNN on March 11, 2003, eight days before the invasion, Richardson urged patience and diplomacy, and accurately predicted that a unilateral U.S. invasion would undermine the U.N. and hurt the prestige of the U.S:

CROWLEY: I want to ask you the question, first, if there is no Security Council resolution approving of a war on Iraq, and if the Bush administration should go ahead, who loses in that scenario?
RICHARDSON: Well, I think the United Nations loses because it shows a lack of relevance to this crisis.

And, secondly, I think, Candy, that the United States loses because we're going into a major conflict without the blessing of the U.N. Security Council, without some of our major allies like France and Russia, and also those 10 other members of the Security Council, the 10 non-permanent members that have a voice right now.

So I think it would come at considerable cost especially if we're to win the war, which we would, issues relating to a post-Iraq configuration to the prestige of the United States worldwide to bring some kind of order to the Middle East and bring some kind of Persian Gulf-lessening attention. So, I think everybody would be a victim. The United Nations, the United States and, certainly, our NATO allies. I think would be hurt, too, because if they don't support us the breakdown of the NATO alliance might be next to go.

CROWLEY: Well, I want to cite a couple of figures for you. One of them just came from a CBS/New York Times poll, which showed that right now only about 34 percent of Americans believe the U.N. is doing a good job handling this situation.

Fifty eight percent think it's doing a poor job. On top of that, we also found that 55 percent would support an invasion, even if the Security Council says don't do it. What does that say about how Americans view the U.N., and has that changed since you were the ambassador?

RICHARDSON: Well, the United States as a populous, here in new Mexico, there's not much support for the United Nations. But at the same time, Candy, what everyone should understand is the United Nations does a lot of things that we, the U.S. as the only superpower, don't want to do.

They get involved in conflicts in Kosovo, in the Congo in Africa, in Guatemala and Latin America. Immigration issues, AIDS, refugees. We don't want to get directly involved in these, but we use the arm of international support, legitimacy of the United Nations to do it.

Now, in the Persian Gulf, conveniently, the U.N. supported our efforts in 1991 to get a broad coalition. And I think we've used the U.N. in the war on terrorism to get international support.

But clearly in this Iraq crisis, the U.N. has to step up and simply enforce its [1441] resolution. And it's not doing that. So, it's going to be a big loss for the U.N. in terms of its peacekeeping relevance, unless it really steps up and gets tough on Saddam Hussein. I think that's the issue.

CROWLEY: So, am I right, am I hearing you correctly that you believe that the U.N. Security Council should pass the resolution that Britain and the U.S. are proposing?

RICHARDSON: Well, I would go a little differently, Candy. I think the U.S. and Britain should compromise. That's the essence of diplomacy. To get nine votes, if it means postponing for 30 days, or 15 days or 10 days, a new resolution with benchmarks on Iraq's behavior, let's do it. I think that France and Russia are basically gone.

They are going to veto. But it would be a partial victory if we get nine votes for a victory of a majority in the Security Council. If we don't do that, I think it's going to be tremendous prestige loss overseas. I think, domestically, it's going to cause more problems for the administration. The Congress will be divided. This is a time when it's frustrating, but what's the rush, really. Iraq is not heading down Baghdad into the United States.

Again, it is a threat, but it's not an immediate threat. It's not something that is like the war on terrorism, where we're under alert from a potential terrorist attack in this country. So let's be judicious. Let's be calm. Let's be patient.

Posted by: shcassidy | August 1, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

obama and clinton are tied in new hampshire
obama is up in south carolina

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 1, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

One more thought for those of you that think Barack is not electable."Google" the words OBAMA STRAW POLL and read the articles and places, now "Google" the words HILLARY STRAW POLL. Now look at the latest poll results coming from New Hampshire and South Carolina. We are witnessing a revolution.

Posted by: eSPO1 | August 1, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

To ndpwp

Going after Al-Queda is not going to be the same mess that Iraq is. The mission for Iraq turned from finding WMDs to overthrowing a dictatership and making a stable democratic society, anyone with some protein in their brain knows that there is not exit strategy for that and thats why it's screwed up.

Obama simply wants to protect this country. He wants to refocus on capturing Bin-Laden. This isn't an invasion (going into pakistan was a last resort if the pakistanies dont help out), this isnt going to war against a nation. His goal is to dismantle Al-Queda to prevent another 9-11.

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 1, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

He's essentially parrotting official US policy on military incursions into Pakistan. It's a totally ridiculous idea of course whether it's articulated by Obama or Ms Townshend from the Pentagon. It's hard to understand why he said it as he must have known this was the money quote the press would pick up. I can't see it doing him much good with his constituency in the Democratic party and by comparison with Hillary it makes him look rather, what's the word......naive?

Posted by: johnbsmrk | August 1, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama's solution to the Iraq disaster? Start another one in Afghanistan. But it seems to have escaped his notice that we are already doing just that. He just wants us to do more of it. More indiscriminate bombing - condemned even by our puppet Karzai - which has already killed thousands of innocent people, and, in so doing, resurrected the Taliban, which, stronger than ever, now controls much of the country.
Even crazier is his threat to invade Pakistan. The Musharraf regime is already tottering. Even the threat of U.S. intervention there could topple it. Both of Obama's bright ideas are madly irresponsible. But the craziet thing about them is that he thinks they're going to get him elected!

Posted by: ndpwp | August 1, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Score another one for Barack ! Those who think that he is just another fresh face have alot to learn. Barack is electable and many of us who support him are ,by far and away ,invisible to the Polls. New Hampshire and Iowa are just the tip of the iceburg.

Posted by: eSPO1 | August 1, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Score another one for Barack ! Those who think that he is just another fresh face have alot to learn. Barack is electable and many of us who support him are ,by far and away ,invisible to the Polls. New Hampshire and Iowa are just the tip of the iceburg.

Posted by: eSPO1 | August 1, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

For those who say Obama can't win the nomination or get elected (even though its only August), dd you see the new poll where he is tied with clinton in New Hampshire and is ahead in South Carolina? Have you seen all the head-to-head polls that show he has a better chance of beating the republicans than clinton

for those who say his speech was the same thing bush has been stressing, did you forget the fact the bush had the chance to take Bin Laden out but didnt? A President Obama wouldn't have done that. Obama wouldnt have started another war and forgot about afganistan and Bin Laden.

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 1, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

In the speech, Obama says that he will attack targets in Pakistan without the permission of General Pervez Musharraf.

For over six years, our government has repeatedly violated, or ignored international law under the name of fighting terrorism. Never in history we have been so isolated in the international community. It does not make Obama tougher by saying that he can attack this or that. It is baffling to hear it from Obama. He is losing me.

Posted by: lhao333 | August 1, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The "experts" have had their say many times before, during, and after 911 and the Iraq invasion. These are some of the people who were wrong, wrong, wrong. Obama's pronoucements are wiser than Bush's actually. First, it was stupid to prematurely leave Afghanistan while Bin Laden and Zawahiri were on the run and then attack Iran which has NOTHING TO DO with 911. Bin Laden killed 3,000 American civilians and Bush let him go. Idiotic reasoning and logic. Then we pour billions into Pakistan which is double-crossing America because Musharraf does not like Karzai. Obama makes more sense than our current stupid arrogant leaders. 5 years i Iraq with nothing to show except 3600 dead American troops, 250,000 dead Iraqis, 2.5 million Iraqi refugees.

Posted by: mstratas | August 1, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I continue to be amused by the takes on Obama's new policies. Almost every time he introduces a plan with a new approach (which other candidates simply aren't doing), we have many a commenter basically saying "X doesn't matter and Y doesn't matter because he's not getting elected."

Wow I didn't know Nostradamus had so many offspring.

I wonder how many Republicans are going after Obama simply because he is the only credible threat to Republican domination in this country. The polls show Obama would beat out any Republican candidate, so it seems to be in their best interests to see that Obama does go down in the primaries and Hillary moves on, so the Dems lose once again.

Challenging the status quo is hard and few politicians have the will to do it. Obama is one of these few, and for that reason alone he has my support.

Posted by: marc.choquette | August 1, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Listen for Hillary to say "I wouldn't send troops into Pakistan until we layed the proper groundwork first". Lot's of people buy this nonsense that Hillary is wise because she always hedges. SHE IS NOT A LEADER! Obama is proving he can lead.

Posted by: markdmorris | August 1, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"General George Patton" Obama? "Watch where you're stepping there, General, those riding boots have shallow insteps." (I have to stop here; I'm laughing too hard.)

Posted by: pnmiller4 | August 1, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama's views on terrorism are irrelevant - he has no chance of winning either the Democratic nomination or the White House. Everyone on earth knows this except his ego driven campaign, and his supporters who pick a loser on the Democratic side every four years like clockwork. Obama panicked after Clinton revealed just how unworthy of the White House he is during the youtube debate. Obama is pandering because he knows how bad he looked last week. IT won't help. He should focus his energy on his current job. If I lived in Illinois I would be livid with Obama. He was only elected a few years ago and has done nothing except publish self congratulatory books and and chase after Clinton.

Posted by: smartmonkey | August 1, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

A smart man, with solid ideas that make the status quo bunch mad (see above). I cannot wait to vote for this man for President. What a nice change he would be for our country.

Posted by: cyndiu | August 1, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama's solution to the Iraq disaster? Start another on in Afghanistan. And we've already started to do just that. Our indiscriminate bombing - condemned even by our puppet Karzai - has killed thousands of innocent people and, in so doing, revived the Taliban which, stronger than ever, now controls much of the country.

Even crazier is his threat to invade Pakistan. The Musharraf regime is already tottering. Even the threat of U.S. intervention there could topple it. Obama's bright idea is madly irresponsible.

Posted by: ndpwp | August 1, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Mike Scheuer sounds like a very angry man.

Posted by: jp1954 | August 1, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Obama. He has the best judgment of all the candidates. Richardson, Clinton Edwards, Biden and Dodd all have no credibility when it comes to iraq because they all supported the invasion.

Posted by: vamonticello | August 1, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

It does not matter what Obama says because he will not be elected President.

He is just blowing smoke.

Posted by: WestVirginian | August 1, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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