The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Team Obama Tussles With Team Hillary Over Bhutto


Evidence that Team Obama is losing their cool, Exhibit B:

Obama adviser David Axelrod, however,  later seemed to draw a connection between Clinton’s initial support for the invasion of Iraq and Bhutto’s death. ”Barack Obama had the judgment to oppose the war in Iraq, and he warned at the time it would divert us from Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, and now we see the effect of that,,” Axelrod told reporters. “Al Qaeda’s resurgent, they’re a powerful force now in Pakistan, they may have been involved — we’ve been here, so I don’t know whether the news has been updated, but there’s a suspicion they may have been involved in this. I think his judgment was good. Sen. Clinton made a different judgment, so let’s have that discussion.”

That drew a retort from Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. ”This is a time to be focused on the tragedy of the situation, its implications for the U.S. and the world, and to be concerned for the people of Pakistan and the country’s stability. No one should be politicizing this situation with baseless allegations,” Singer said.

If the U.S. had not invaded Iraq, Benazir Bhutto would be alive today? Please.

The threat of militant Islamist extremism in Pakistan predates the Iraq war by more than a decade; Axelrod ought to take in a screening of “Charlie Wilson’s War.” The threat grew, and developed, and incubated, independent of U.S. policy for decades. It is naive folly to believe that if the U.S. had just had the right foreign policy, we could prevent some extremist from conducting an assassination.

To the best of our knowledge, the U.S. has not taken military action in Pakistan, beyond the rare hellfire missile launched from an unmanned drone. It’s not like our forces in Iraq would be fighting al-Qaeda in Pakistan if the U.S. had not invaded Iraq. (Right? Or would President Obama have announced the invasion of Pakistan in 2003?) We don’t know the exact who and how and where on this asssassination plot, but the trail has yet to lead outside of Pakistan. I have yet to see any compelling evidence that there is anything the U.S. could have done to prevent this.

I find it odd to be out defending Hillary Clinton like this, but the Obama camp has deployed a desperate flailing argument that suggests they have absolutely no familiarity with threats from within Pakistan.

UPDATE: I find this comment on Ace of Spades sums up my frustration:

Instead of offering us serious analysis of a dire situation, Feingold and the rest of the idiots fall back on their knee-jerk sound-bite denunciations of Bush.

Jesus, they’re less informed and thoughtful than bloggers.

But that’s what liberals do. They have very little genuine advice on foreign policy matters, so rather than actually take a position on what we should do going forward, they retreat into the comfortable leftist critique of what-the-US-did-in-the-past-to-cause-this-and-oh-aren’t-we-so-awful.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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