Obama At Odds With His FP Team

At this point, I think Barack Obama should just be quiet about Pakistan. After his FP advisor Susan Rice earlier today said:

“Senator Clinton’s view has been closer to Bush’s, which is to see Musharraf as the linchpin but democracy as something that is desirable, but not necessarily essential to our security interests,” said Rice, “Whereas Obama feels that democracy and human rights in the context of Pakistan are essential to our security.”

Now in a complete aboutface, Obama disagrees with Hillary Clinton's suggestion of an international commission to investigate the Bhutto assassination, saying:

Clinton also called for an independent, international investigation into Bhutto's death, "perhaps along the lines of what the United Nations have been doing with respect to the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in Lebanon." Obama said he doesn't share that view. "It is important to us to not give the idea that Pakistan is unable to handle its own affairs," he said.

Maybe Susan Rice and Obama need to try and get on the same page when they are making utterly contradictory statements about their faith in Musharraf ON THE SAME DAY!

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    Someone must have phoned Obama, (none / 0) (#1)
    by MarkL on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 07:39:53 PM EST
    but he hasn't passed on the message yet. He'll blame his advisers tomorrow.

    Offtopic, but related, amidst the speculation.... (none / 0) (#2)
    by jerry on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 07:50:37 PM EST
    I don't know enough about Pakistan.  If we take at face value the claim that Al Qaeda is responsible for the assassination, is that because they prefer Musharraf as dictator and expect him to cancel elections, or because they preferred Nawaz Sharif to Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister?

    If you think it's because Al Qaeda preferrs Musharraf as head of Pakistan and expect him to cancel elections, why, and is that something that can or should be raised to differentiate Democratic foreign policy from Bush/Republican foreign policy?

    A List of Suspects (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 10:23:05 PM EST
    I found this via Steve Benen.  Here's a list of suspect in Bhutto's murder.  Shorter version:  al Qaeda or its associates, Pakistani militants, Pakistan intelligence, rogue commandos, and Musharraf's people.  Doesn't exactly narrow it down.

    My Understanding (none / 0) (#3)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 09:00:36 PM EST
    is that al Qaeda polls better than Musharraf right now, so I don't know that they need him all that much.  Having said that, al Qaeda and groups like it do tend to like chaos and this certainly helps create that.

    There are a lot of people who could want Bhutto dead and it's almost impossible to determine whether al Qaeda, another political faction or Musharraf and his supporters are behind it.  It does seem true that Musharraf's government provided little to any security in an attempt to stop Bhutto from visiting the countryside.  Apparently she was killed in a heavily militarized area, at least one report indicated it was something akin to being killed near the Pentagon (if that report is correct or not, I can't say, perhaps others know more).

    I hate to say this, but it's in Obama's best interest for al Qaeda to be behind it.  He initially called it a terrorist act.  As others have pointed out, he needs to do this so that his "it's all because of Iraq" slant makes at least some sense.  Now, I'm not saying that's why he wants Musharraf's government to conduct the investigation (which is almost certain to blame it on terrorists since the alternative is, well, Musharraf) because even I'm not that cynical.  I suspect his objection to Clinton's suggestion is more along the lines that if Hillary says "night", he says "day" and also because he doesn't want to appear to be following Clinton's lead.

    But, yeah, the stuff coming from the Obama campaign about Pakistan is contradictory and makes little sense.  It's weird to see him defending Musharraf since just a few months ago he was saying he'd bomb al Qaeda in Pakistan with or without Musharraf and now he doesn't even want to subject Pakistan to an independent investigation.  WTF?


    Pakistan's Investigation (none / 0) (#4)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 09:22:47 PM EST
    So far, it seems more like a farce than an investigation.  See here.  And Josh Marshall continues to cover the improbable story emerging from the Government, his latest post is here.  

    It's difficult to see how any finding by the Pakistani Government is going to have any credibility, even if they do finally get it right.

    I think you could avoid ... (none / 0) (#5)
    by chemoelectric on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 09:49:27 PM EST
    ... all this annoyance over Obama's rhetorical hijinks by giving in to the urge to support someone who isn't a smart-alec kid trying to charm his way to a position he's not ready for and which he hasn't earned.

    the other candidates (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 09:55:26 PM EST
    are pretty unimpressive too.