Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

President Obama Strikes Pakistan

With Pervez Musharraf on the electoral ropes, US policy has morphed from Bush's approach to Barack Obama's in unilaterally taking out an al Qaeda commander in Pakistan's tribal area.

Last July, Obama was criticized for saying, "“If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.”

Now, according to a highly sourced report in the Washington Post, the CIA has done just that. In a Tom Clancyish operation, missiles from a drone aircraft killed Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al Qaeda commander who had been eluding the CIA's dragnet.

"It was the first successful strike against al-Qaeda's core leadership in two years," the Post reports, "and it involved, U.S. officials say, an unusual degree of autonomy by the CIA inside Pakistan.

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

Six months ago, Obama was denounced by other Presidential candidates as naïve and pooh-poohed by then White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

“I'm confident," President Bush harrumphed, "that with actionable intelligence we will be able to bring top Al Qaeda to justice. We're in constant communications with the Pakistan government."

Not this time. In the light of elections in Pakistan and back here, change seems to be literally in the air.


Liza said...

This is interesting. I wish it were getting more attention in the MSM.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

This is a risky policy. It doesn't matter if Bush is advocating it or if Obama is. Making unstable Pakistan, creating the possibility of a civil war in a country with 4-5 dozen nuclear weapons is downright scary, if you ask me.