Ground Forces Enter Pakistan

President Bush can't (and won't) do much about the economy before November. Is he trying to change the national conversation?

Two helicopters carrying American-led forces landed in a Pakistani village in South Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan in the early hours of Wednesday morning and the soldiers opened fire on villagers, killing seven people, according to a spokesman for the Pakistani military.

There are legitimate reasons to pursue Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Perhaps NATO and the American military had strong intelligence to justify this incursion. Perhaps not. If it is true that soldiers "opened fire on villagers," however, there had better be strong evidence that they knew they weren't shooting innocent people. And there had better be strong evidence that this wasn't a ploy to focus voters on national security issues, the one area in which John McCain is perceived to have some strength (despite his questionable knowledge of modern geography), in order to influence the election.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Nov 4th can't get here soon enough. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Lil on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:22:24 PM EST

    He's trying to squeeze in the End of Days (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:28:57 PM EST
    before the End of Administration.

    Well, this is what Obama said he'd do in 2007 (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by JAB on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:30:04 PM EST
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States must be willing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan, adopting a tough tone after a chief rival accused him of naivete in foreign policy.

    Obama's stance comes amid debate in Washington over what to do about a resurgent al Qaeda and Taliban in areas of northwest Pakistan that President Pervez Musharraf has been unable to control, and concerns that new recruits are being trained there for a September 11-style attack against the United States.

    Obama said if elected in November 2008 he would be willing to attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government, a move that would likely cause anxiety in the already troubled region.

    "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said.


    IF we have actionable intel (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by litigatormom on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:57:14 PM EST
    Given this administration's track record on that score, I'm still wondering if this is like all those orange alerts back in 2004.

    Interesting also that this has happened only after Bush's good friend and ally Pervez Musharref has left office.

    Also note that Bush is seeking Congressional affirmation that "we are still at war" with Al Qaeda.


    He also said (none / 0) (#28)
    by JAB on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:23:06 PM EST
    "if President Musharaf won't act"

    Well, he WON'T act.

    But fair point on the administration's track record.


    The speakers at the DNC emphasized (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:43:05 PM EST
    Obama will go get bin Laden.  Kind of surprising, but there you have it.

    This was Obama's stance (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by nalo on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:45:47 PM EST
    From the 2002 speech to all his stump speeches.  So it wasn't surprising to me.

    I know. So, Dems. and Bush admin. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:48:42 PM EST
    are both o.k. with U.S. miliary entering Pakistan w/o the latter's pre-approval.

    There are qualifications (none / 0) (#26)
    by nalo on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:16:55 PM EST
    for Obama's claim, and from 2002-2004 I think there was an outstanding moral justification to act unilaterally.  There is still a decent moral justification as long as it's a successful attack on either Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zahawiri.

    Based on this quote from a Pakistani official, it may be possible to work through diplomatic channels on such a attack.  This is obviously the best option.  (Tangetially, the fact that Obama's mom worked in Pakistan and he's visited there, gives me hope that he would be successful with negotiations.)

    A Pakistani official today:  

    Pakistani troops in the country's tribal areas recently discovered the location of Al Qaeda's number two but "missed" a chance to capture him, according to the politician who oversees Pakistan's Frontier Corps.

    It is not about bin Laden, it is not about democra (none / 0) (#43)
    by bridget on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:21:39 PM EST
    democracy anywhere

    it is all about THE Control Of the Middle East energy resources by the US

    Dems and Reps alike believe That AfPak - where people continue to resist US domination - is "even more important to our national security than Iraq" (from the mouth of Dem Richard Holbrook).

    The following is a Must Read cause you just couldn't get a better explanation right now of the whole plan than here IMO:

    What's Past is Prologue
    C.G. EastabrookThe War will go on


    What has this to do (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by TomStewart on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:47:51 PM EST
    with Sarah Palin?

    Let me give this some thought. (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:49:11 PM EST
    Well... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:54:15 PM EST
    ..."some" will tell you that since she's the CIC of a missle battery and is closest to Russia, we should be consulting with her and drawing on her vaste wealth of experience in these matters.  

    Closer match: her son is deploying (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:57:15 PM EST
    to Iraq.  Obama wants to move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.  He also wants to catch bin Laden in his cave in Pakistan or Afghanistan, according to some speakers at DNC.  

    So is Biden's son. n/t (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:19:28 PM EST
    Has Putin launched (none / 0) (#19)
    by litigatormom on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:58:19 PM EST
    a fleet across the Bering Strait?

    Since you asked (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by nalo on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:57:06 PM EST
    Sarah Palin not only doesn't think that war in Iraq was a bad idea, but she thinks that our national leaders have been sending our troops there on a task from God (6 min in).

    She may possibly be more dangerous the Bush or McCain?


    Gotta say (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:50:02 PM EST
    I was in favor of limited interventions in Waziristan to after high-profile al-Qaeda targets when Obama first brought it up during the primary, and I'm still in favor of it today.

    I don't grant George W. Bush a presumption of either good faith or competence, of course, but I can still hope this mission is something that makes sense.

    Of course, I realize not everyone agrees with me on this stuff.

    Should be just invade Pakistan to (3.50 / 2) (#18)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:58:19 PM EST
    institute democracy?  

    Of course we had a (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by nalo on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:04:23 PM EST
    greater moral authority to attack immediately after 0/11.  Now it's not as great.  But Obama has only claimed that he would do it after exhausting all diplomatic options and if there was actionable intelligence about Osama bin Laden.  And I would trust Obama, Biden, and a Democratic administration to have a much better chance of diplomatic negotiations than a McCain administration.

    Naw (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:05:30 PM EST
    The concept is not to overthrow Pakistan's sovereignty (a crazy notion, I'm sure everyone agrees), but to play a little anti-terrorism cop in regions where Pakistan's sovereignty extends in name only.

    The point is not really that we should do this against Pakistan's wishes, but rather that we have a lot more leverage to use against Pakistan than Bush was willing to employ when Musharraf was in charge.  If we say, for example, "We're willing to keep giving you massive amounts of foreign aid, but you better not object when we go after bin Laden out in your tribal regions," that's a fairly compelling argument from a diplomatic standpoint.


    Unfortunately, once military action is taken the (none / 0) (#33)
    by jawbone on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:09:24 PM EST
    initial plans usually are rendered moot as reality happens.

    Along with the sh*t that happens when reality happens.

    We don't want to cause a government to fall? Well, what are our plans if it does fall? Go in to Pakistan and snatch Khan?


    Hm (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:10:48 PM EST
    Why the heck would the government of Pakistan fall because we conducted a small-scale military operation in an outlying province?

    If your argument is that "anything might happen," well then, there's not much I can say to that.  Maybe we'll accidentally set off a nuclear bomb and destroy the world.


    Bernhard at MoonofAlabama thinks we may have just (none / 0) (#45)
    by jawbone on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:32:51 PM EST
    seriously undermined the current Indian government. Some say the current NeoCons and BushCo see "creative chaos" as a way of leading to their objectives (control of energy sources and production).

    This situation may or may not lead to the government falling, but telling a nation that it's leader lied to the populace is, in some nations, still cause for loss of confidence.

    Now, about Pakistan? There are internal politics at work, and the Pakistanis make not like the US dashing in and killing villagers. They may not support the current government if it goes along with the US on things like this. The military may step in...again.

    That's all. May not happen. May well happen. Could be a smooth transition; could be chaos. And there are nuclear weapons there...so do we want chaos?


    I've read the Musharaff government (none / 0) (#46)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:12:10 PM EST
    Owhich is no more, apparently) did not want to antagonize the Islamic conservatives of Pakistan, so was reluctant to permit the U.S. to go after the Taliban or into areas where Islam is prevalent.  So, we just gave them money and arms.

    I'm sure they welcome us... (2.00 / 0) (#24)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:05:55 PM EST
    ...with flowers, candy and parades!

    This is Where I am Glad that... (none / 0) (#37)
    by santarita on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:42:07 PM EST
    Biden is on the ticket.  He's been all over the Bush Administration's missteps in Pakistan.  I trust his experience and expertise on the subject and would like to hear his thoughts on this incursion.  If I remember correctly Pervez Musharraf called him before calling anyone in the Bush Administration to tell him that he was going to run again.  

    How Many Times (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by flashman on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:02:22 PM EST
    were the "code red" warnings issued for terrorism in 2004, which just happened to coencide with Democratic events?  It's a shenanagin which works every time.  Will they get away with it agian?  Probably.

    International Policies? (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:13:03 PM EST
    Bush is doing everything within his power to assure that we will be unable to leave the Middle East. He's signing a treaty that keeps us in Iraq through 2011. His rationale must be that if we stay long enough his policies will be vindicated. Unfortunately he's going to get his wish. The Democrat's are so afraid of being painted weak, I'm not sure they won't escalate it further.

    I hope this takes the attention away from stupid politics (such as unwed mothers) and focuses it on where our foreign policy and diplomacy are headed. I really believe this is the change people are concerned with.

    Disgusting.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Aqua Blue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:33:56 PM EST
    I was just waiting to see when Bush would create the next international crisis.   Anything to scare the people into voting Republican.

    Corruption...war mongering...nothing is immoral or off limits if it keeps them in power.

    I disagree about Bush not trying on the economy (none / 0) (#22)
    by ineedalife on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:05:17 PM EST
    Oil is dropping like a rock even when events should dictate otherwise. Gustav should have bumped up oil prices but they continue to plummet. The dollar continues to strengthen even when economic news should dictate elsewise.

    I think BushCo is calling in favors from the oil and financial industries, and probably strong-arming OPEC and reminding them who brought them the windfall profits they are enjoying.  Look for all heck to break loose after the elections though. Especially if Obama wins.

    More bad intelligence (none / 0) (#29)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:27:15 PM EST
    What's terrifying is that there doesn't seem to be (none / 0) (#32)
    by jawbone on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:06:09 PM EST
    much pushback from the Europeans. What's with that?

    BushCo seems to be trying to establish "facts on the ground" to rope next prez into their kind of foreign relations. Help!

    They've given up on us (none / 0) (#35)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:13:00 PM EST
    I think the world is just sitting back waiting to see what the outcome is in Nov. I can remember reading in 2004 how most European's couldn't believe we would reelect Bush. But we did.

    Keep your eyes on... (none / 0) (#36)
    by desertswine on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:30:46 PM EST
    Cheney. That's where the real story is, not the Twin Cities.

    Also Pakistani official says it's a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Suspected U.S. commandos blamed for killing 20 people in Pakistan were acting on faulty intelligence that was never shared with Pakistani forces inside the country, a Pakistani official said on Wednesday.

    Cheney (none / 0) (#40)
    by Fayed X on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:57:11 PM EST
    Do you think Obama will get justice when it comes to Cheney?  I was talking this over with some of my friends and they don't believe that Cheney will ever be held to account.  I can't...I won't believe that.

    Invasion of Waziristan (none / 0) (#38)
    by Doc Rock on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:44:11 PM EST
    Bush the Belligerent: Well, you didn't want me to invade Iran!

    Getting Out Musharraf's Relatives (none / 0) (#39)
    by Fayed X on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:54:42 PM EST
    They could have been getting relatives or friends of Musharraf's or settling scores.

    Off Topic Sort of (none / 0) (#42)
    by Fayed X on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:02:34 PM EST
    Isn't there still some speculation that maybe bin Laden isn't the real culprit.  The side by side photos that I've seen sure don't look like it's the same guy.  The reason I bring this up is that there is still a lot of concern with some of the people I know.

    The Washington foreign policy establishment cuts (none / 0) (#44)
    by bridget on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:36:38 PM EST
    across party lines. The GOP started it but Dems are not doing anything to stop it .... nothing.

    Instead Obama and McCain trying to outdo each other in their war-like AfPak stance. Thousands of troops will move to Afghanistan and one candidate wants to send more than the other.

    Still the US anti-war movement is a good as dead and there is no sign that the people are about to wake up from their lemming-like slumber. That is a true disaster along with the above.