March 22, 2009

"An intense, 6-month campaign of Predator strikes in Pakistan has taken such a toll on Al Qaeda..."

"... that militants have begun turning violently on one another out of confusion and distrust... The pace of the Predator attacks has accelerated dramatically since August, when the Bush administration made a previously undisclosed decision to abandon the practice of obtaining permission from the Pakistani government before launching missiles from the unmanned aircraft. Because of its success, the Obama administration is set to continue the accelerated campaign despite civilian casualties that have fueled anti-U.S. sentiment and prompted protests from the Pakistani government."

Another opportunity for me to use my "Obama is like Bush" tag. Would Obama have initiated this, or does he simply have the sense to continue it?

42 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Don't critize him over it for cricketdy sake, he may stop if you do. This is exactly what we should be doing to end the Afghan war, along with carrots to the Pashtuns to make peace. But without the threat of attack, of being able to project strength, peace offers are meaningless.

Darcy said...

Yeah. I'm with Fred. This is something I won't take the opportunity to have fun with. I'll just be encouraged that he's continuing this and I'll say so.

vet66 said...

Obama knows that Bush left him a gift that keeps on giving complete with a pretty bow. The gift is Plausible deniability.

As evidenced by the recent gift debacle with one of our strongest allies the British, Obama never looks a gift horse in the mouth. Blame that tendency on his Chicago roots and Rev Wright.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I think it's a good policy. But I read this bit of the article:

"outweighs concerns over the strains being placed on Pakistan."

And can't help but remember Pakistan is a nuclear power. No on ever seems to mention that.

molly said...
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jdeeripper said...

No surprise considering Robert Gates is still in charge of US defenses and Republican General Jones is National Security Adviser.

rhhardin said...

The words he needs are that Pakistan isn't a sovereign nation if it can't control its borders; and so we are not finally obligated to consult them on those matters when they touch our interests.

Maguro said...

It's funny that suspected terrorists in Pakistan can be dispatched with a Hellfire missile, no questions asked, while the captured terrorists at Gitmo must be "brought to justice" and provided with a full array of American legal rights.

In any case, it's good to see that our efforts are yielding some success.

fcai said...

Obama - warmonger.

Deal with it, lefties - your boy is a stone cold killer.

Simon said...

I very much doubt that Obama would have initiated the campaign, but it shows a modicum of good sense that he'll stick with something that works even though it's sure to infuriate his supporters and the Congress.

rhhardin said...
"Pakistan isn't a sovereign nation if it can't control its borders"

Proves too much. What does that say about us, in view of our problem with illegal immigration?

downtownlad said...

Actually, Obama DID initiate it. He said in the debates with Hilary that he would not ask permission to go into Pakistan to attack Al Queada.

And if I recall correctly Ann - I think you berated him for that. Going off of memory there though, so I could be wrong. But he was certainly berated by the conservative blogosphere for that statement.

downtownlad said...

Here's the initial news story.

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/07/obama.pakistan/

"At a debate in front of thousands of labor union activists Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic presidential rivals blasted him for his remarks about Pakistan.

Last Wednesday, the Illinois senator said that if it were necessary to root out terrorists, he would send U.S. forces into Pakistan without the country's approval."

downtownlad said...

And here's Bush attacking Obama last February, saying that Obama would attack Pakistan.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/10/bush-obama-would-attack_n_85885.html

"I certainly don't know what he believes in," Bush said when asked if there had been a "rush to judgment" about Obama. "The only foreign policy thing I remember he said was he's going to attack Pakistan and embrace Ahmadinejad."

This is too easy.

Beth said...

dtl is right; Obama ran on the issue, and indicated he's use force in Pakistan, without seeking approval of the Pakistani government. We can't predict exactly what that would entail, but it's not outside of his campaign promises to keep up the Predator strikes.

downtownlad said...

My bad - Can't find any evidence of Ann attacking Obama's Pakistan statement right now.

Although she did make fun of his correct pronunciation of the country. . . ;)

New York said...

The Israelis should ask the Pentagon how they are able to do this without the UN and MSM going on non-stop about war crimes.

amba said...

Maybe Bush initiated it to get the jump on Obama and some credit for the policy -- didn't Obama pretty much announce during the campaign that he was going to do just this?

amba said...

Props to Downtownlad for getting there first.

Darcy said...

Oh, yeah! Have to agree that Obama did say that was his intention. I had forgotten that. So I support his policy here.

There. That didn't hurt a bit. :P

PJ said...

I don't recall Obama ever even wavering about the Pakistan issue, and when he was elected, winning the war in Afghanistan even if it meant invading Pakistan was one of the things I believed he was given a mandate to do. I also think he's doing the right thing by keeping the focus on AQ, as it appears that in the long run we have a better chance of driving a wedge between the Taliban and AQ than we have of defeating the Taliban.

Lawgiver said...

Actually, Obama DID initiate it.

Saying you will do something in a campaign speech is not the same as initiating it, especially if it is already being done. At best, as has been stated, he is continuing Bush's policy.

And here's Bush attacking Obama last February, saying that Obama would attack Pakistan.

And isn't that exactly what Obama is doing? It's what the left accused Bush of doing.

If Obama wanted to help build unity he could say, "I feel it is in our best interests to continue the out-of-area Predator strikes against Al Qaeda that began under the previous administration. While I disagree with most of President Bush's previous efforts in the Afghanistan theatre, this is one he got right."

Such a gesture will never be made, he's not the unifier he pretend to be.

Xaritas said...

Actually, Obama DID initiate it.

For real. He actually did initiate this last August. Prior to that, he initiated it in February of 2008: What I said was that if we have actionable intelligence against bin Laden or other key al Qaeda officials, and we -- and Pakistan is unwilling or unable to strike against them, we should. And just several days ago, in fact, this administration did exactly that and took out the third-ranking al Qaeda official. And prior to that, he laid the groundwork over four years ago:

"Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts," Biden said. "It's already the policy of the United States -- has been for four years -- that there's actionable intelligence, we would go into Pakistan."

Nothing happened in August of 2008 in Pakistan that could explain why President Obama initiated this policy.

It's only Day 60 and already he has bent the laws of time and causality to his will more than any other President in his first 60 days.

According to the original article, a key reason for the success of this new approach is that we are also targeting Pakistan's militant domestic opposition along with AQ.

I wonder who initiated that?

The Drill SGT said...

Maguro said...
It's funny that suspected terrorists in Pakistan can be dispatched with a Hellfire missile, no questions asked, while the captured terrorists at Gitmo must be "brought to justice"


Well the trick is obviously to not go out of your way to take low level AQ types.

- The boss sends you out for a high value target? Don't nuke the building and take him and his laptop.

- Your basic Jihadi spearcarrier? 2 in the chest and 1 in the head.

Cedarford said...

Maguro said...
It's funny that suspected terrorists in Pakistan can be dispatched with a Hellfire missile, no questions asked, while the captured terrorists at Gitmo must be "brought to justice" and provided with a full array of American legal rights.


Yes, Obama is continuing with the policy of executing suspected terrorists without trial. Murdering them, or subjecting them to painful maimings of blown off limbs and shrapnel..with no regard for their precious terrorist civil liberties only judges and ACLU lawyers have a right to defend....but for the Obama-Hitler.

Not to mention all the murdered innocent women and brown babies and cute puppy dogs of the terrorists.

Where is Kenneth Roth? Where is Russ Feingold? Where is the enemy-lover Freder?

Why the silence???

Issob Morocco said...

Sad, Sad Downtown Lad. The drone forces were already in Pakistan via Bush, so that deflates your Obama did it theory. Bush initiated it basis what was happening on the ground. End of story.

More troublesome, and mentioned in the article, is the previously undisclosed policy of attacking in Pakistani territory without Pakistani approval.

Why the need to tell the world? Perhaps to deflect the Amatuer hour style leadership afflicting the One and his domestic and foreign policies? It is a good policy, but some things are better left unsaid. This is one. Bad manuever that reeks of politics.

Second issue with the article, why are we now becoming mercenaries to hit militants that the Pakistani Government doesn't like. If they are part of the Terror network, so be it, but are we now saying that as a quid pro quo to avoid complaints we are taking out some thorns in the Pakistani government's side? Seems a bit beyond what we should be focused on.

Either way this story, like the terror financing, Waterboarding, etc. should not see light of day until the war is over.

John Lynch said...

(cough) so we're bombing them to the negotiating table? Perhaps there's a light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it going to be peace with honor?

Come on. Does anyone seriously think that we're going to win a war with drone strikes?

Maguro said...

Drill SGT,

Not really talking about target selection so much as the cognitive dissonance of the Obama administration.

Our government seems to believe the following two things:

1) Anti-terrorism is a police/legal action and the normal rules of law enforcement must apply or else we're just as bad as they are. Terrorists have constitutional rights that cannot be violated under any circumstances and must be "brought to Justice" (Obama's words). Therefore we should close GITMO and try its occupants in a US civil court as if they were accused of robbing a convenience store or something. If the government can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Abdul committed an act of terrorism, he needs to be freed.

2) Anti-terrorism is a military activity and the normal rules of law enforcement don't apply. Therefore it is OK to fire a guided missile into Abdul's apartment instead of asking a nice Pakistani constable to serve him with an arrest warrant and a court date.

Both of these things cannot be true at the same time.

Xaritas said...

John Lynch said...
(cough) so we're bombing them to the negotiating table? Perhaps there's a light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it going to be peace with honor?

Come on. Does anyone seriously think that we're going to win a war with drone strikes?


No, but who is suggesting that? Really, it is very nice to deny the enemy safe haven, disrupt the chain of command and sow discord.

Imagine if we were losing a battalion commander every month, and the remaining ones suspected each other of tipping the enemy off.

It would degrade our effectiveness. A little.

Xaritas said...
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traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

We need to rejoice that the right poicy is being folowed by Obama's miitary commanders. The tactic in Iraq was to kill AlQueda's fighters as soon as they concentrated there. That worked. The retreat by Al Queda into the Pakistan/Afganistan mountains was a possible trap if we had followed them into their fortified terrain. The only tactic that would not help AlQueda's comeback was to use our targeted air power to wipe out their commanders. And we are doing the right thing. Hurrah President Obama.There is a war you know.

Issob Morocco said...

Traditional Guy, he just needs to not tell anyone what he is doing as that defeats the tactics. Policy is right, broadcasting it to Al Qaeda and the world so as to gain political points is WRONG.

LoafingOaf said...

DTL is correct. Obama looked at the faulure that was Bush's Pakistan policy and said how he'd change it during the campaign. Then Bush started changing his Pakistan policy in Obama's direction, in the wake of the White House's own assessment that Bush's Pakistan policy before that was a failure.

When Obama made his comments on Pakistan during the Democratic Party primaries, the view of the right wing commenters at the Althouse blog was that he was insane and displaying his inexperience and ignorance. They also lied about Obama's comments here, claiming Obama was calling for an all out invasion of Pakistan when really he was talking about how the Bush administration had blown a great opportunity to take out a bunch of al Qaeda higher-ups with some very actionable intelligence and instead ended up just doing the Bill Clinton thing and fire a cruise missile from afar. I remember all this because I kept getting attacked in these comment sections for agreeing with Obama's advice on Pakistan and pointing out that Bush had - at last - decided to begin taking Obama's advice.

It appears the right wing Althouse commenters have now come around to Obama's views on Pakistan now that they can see it is a more successful approach, but wanna pretend that they and George W. Bush led the way. Funny!

Bruce Hayden said...

I am not sure that this is the best tactic long run. The problem is that Pakistan is a shaky ally, and all it might take to get them to drop their help in Afghanistan is for a lot of them to get upset about our routine violations of their territorial sovereignty. Right now, it seems almost like Vegas, what happens in the tribal lands, stays there. But for how much longer?

Alex said...

Bottom line, Barack Obama is an evil, murdering warmonger and must be stopped!

traditionalguy said...

A very great man once said it is amazing how much gets done if you don't care who gets the credit for it. That is where the Demos and the Repubbies have differed the most in the recent war/election politics. Give Obama all the credit if you Libs want to, but just win it. The results of losing a war are indescribably bad.

David said...

He doesn't have the balls to quit.

veni vidi vici said...

"dtl is right; Obama ran on the issue, and indicated he's use force in Pakistan, without seeking approval of the Pakistani government."

Sure enough re. all the concern about the questionable nature of disclosing this sort of thing. On the other hand, its disclosure by the administration may be taken as a signal that they've got things in place to handle the situation if the wheels fall off the Pakistani nation-state and swift intervention and securing of the nuclear assets is required.

I certainly hope this is the case, else this disclosure really is a juvenile credit-seeking effort more deserving of scorn than praise.

chuck b. said...

They were talking about this on that dreadful NPR one morning several weeks ago. Predator strikes have taken out AQ commanders #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7...

I thought at the time it was the best morning news that I could ever remember waking up to.

Then for several weeks after that report, I heard other news organizations reporting Al Qaeda resurgence, no improvement, etc., etc. So I've been unsure.

And now the good news meme is back in play. Good. I hope it's true.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Good for him!

TosaGuy said...

All of my anti-war neighbors have taken down their anti-war lawn signs. I guess it is not a concern of theirs anymore.

Kirk Parker said...

TosaGuy,

Those Are Our Predators Now™