Many have jumped all over Sen. Obama’s suggestion that as Commander-in-Chief he might well cross the border, asked or not, into Pakistan, with beefed-up ground troops, to destroy the purported al-Qaeda sanctuaries. Apart from the notion that it would be as hard to distinguish civilians in a Waziristan from terrorists as it is in Iraq, which the senator has written off, other questions arise. As a US Senator why not now introduce an October 11, 2002-type resolution, authorizing such an invasion? Or why hasn’t he in the past?
Obama has criticized Sen. Clinton for her approval of that Iraqi authorization, but the sort of action he is envisioning involves crossing into a nuclear Islamic country, one bullet away from an Islamic republic, and surely should be a question for Congressional approval.
Others have pointed out that his criticism of Musharref is contrasted by his willingness to parley with far worse in North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran. And what were his reactions to our prior Predator strike on al Qaeda notables inside Pakistan-approval, criticism, or mere silence?
The administration should craft a careful reply, because Americans themselves are frustrated that an ally like Pakistan still harbors at least some of the murderers of 9/11. In this regard it is reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign critique of the first Bush administration’s failure to stop the genocide in the Balkans. Never mind that Clinton himself, when in power, then waited years to act; all that mattered was that his campaign saber-rattling was not answered well by the Republicans and gave him a thin veneer of national security fides to his otherwise suspect candidacy.
So, yes, Obama’s suggestion is fraught with hypocrisy and poorly thought out and patently political and designed to touché Hillary, given her recent knocks that he was naive on national security. But his suggestion still must be countered logically and rationally since millions of Americans, as the senator’s focus groups no doubt attest, are frustrated by this inaction as well, and the very notion that an aide beneficiary like Pakistan is harboring, willingly or not, leftover architects of 9/11.