The McCain Doctrine: Keep The Swamp, Keep The Mosquitoes
McCain says Obama is simplistic to warn of bombing Pakistan San Francisco Chronicle, USA Sen. John McCain said Sen. Barack Obama's threat to use military force to get rid of terrorists in Pakistan shows he does not understand the complexities of the region. ..... McCain said the situation in Pakistan is "very delicate," since the country's leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is an American ally with a tenuous hold on power. The Arizona senator said a direct American attack on the country could cause a backlash that might topple Musharraf. ..... "I think it's kind of a simplistic view of a very complex situation," McCain said at a press conference following an appearance at Stanford University. He advocated using covert action "before we declare that we're going to bomb the daylights out of them." ..... Obama said, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will." .... al-Qaida operatives involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were hiding in the mountainous region of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan. .... "They are plotting to strike again," he said. "It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005." ...... he said Musharraf was on "shaky ground" and warned of "very serious consequences if he were overthrown and replaced by a radical Islamic government."http://www.thebourneultimatum.com
Obama was right. Hillary was wrong. You got to talk. War always has to be the very last option. It is stupid to think of it as the first option like Bush did with Iraq. It is because war is always, always ugly.
Talking to North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela makes a whole lot of sense. The next physical attack on the US will not come from any of these states. But it is in America's interests to see political reforms in these countries. One tack has been tried on Cuba for half a century. It has not worked. Now let's try a different tack. Let's try full scale engagement. Let's go for the Obama option.
Hillary has been more like Bush than Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton talked to Kim Jong Il. Hillary is against talking to Kim Jong Il. Bill Clinton informally talked to Fidel Castro: he reported on it in his autobiography. Hillary is against the idea. Hillary has been Bush-Cheney Lite. In a race to sound tough and like one of the boys, she has become neocon in some ways.
Al Gore used to be the next President of the United States. John Kerry used to be the next President of the United States. John McCain used to the next Republican nominee.
Obama is no pacifist. He is just smart and sincere and strong. He is Mr. Security if you want one in this precarious post 9/11 world. He called the Iraq War a "dumb war" before it was waged. Iraq has been a looking-Tokyo-going-London war. Even after 9/11, Rumsfeld wanted to skip Afghanistan and go straight into Iraq "because there are no good targets in Afghanistan." How dumb is that?
Obama is one candidate who understands the security threat that America faces. The rest frankly don't. This is what Obama understands. He understands the next physical attack, if there is one, on the US will come from the Al Qaeda. And he knows where the Al Qaeda leaders live: in Pakistan's Northwest province. And he knows they are actively plotting to strike America all over again. If America had information on the September 11, 2001 plot beforehand, what would it have done? Would it have waited? Would it have respected Afghanistan's sovereignty? Did it in the aftermath? Not even Pakistan claims sovereignty over its own Northwest province. The government of Pakistan has no presence in that part of the world. They have a you-don't-bother-me-I-don't-bother-you kind of an iffy peace deal with the tribals in the area. It is a no man's land for all practical purposes.
McCain did not feel violated when America violated and continues to violate Iraq's sovereignty, a country that was a dictatorship back then and is a country under civil war today. But he feels the pain of possibly violating Pakistan's sovereignty. It is not Obama, it is McCain who does not understand the ground realities of the Northwest province of Pakistan. White guy McCain seems to think the Northwest province of Pakistan is like Arizona is inside America: it is a state. It is not. It is a freaking no man's land.
Pakistan's regionally feared intelligence agency - the ISI, which many describe as a state within a state - was the force that propped the Taliban in Afghanistan. ISI brought the Taliban into power in Afghanistan. The Taliban harbored Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda. Now you are telling me the Al Qaeda's presence in the ISI has magically disappeared. I find that hard to believe.
Bin Laden is inside Pakistan and he has official cover, not perhaps the cover of the top leadership like was the case in Afghanistan, but definitely of some powerful elements in the ISI.
If there is another 9/11, what will America do? Will it wait and respect Pakistan's sovereignty, or will it "flatten out" the Northwest province of Pakistan, which seems to be the official Bush White House position?
99.9% of the people in the Northwest province of Pakistan are not Al Qaeda. What sense would it make to "flatten them out?"
There are a billion Muslims on the planet. A few thousand of them are Al Qaeda. It is racist to blame a billon Muslims, partly or in full, for the acts of the Al Qaeda. If the Al Qaeda were to explode a dirty bomb in some American city, and if the US were to nuke a country like Iran in retaliation, accusing it of having supplied the Al Qaeda with the material when the truth might be it got purchased on the black market in the former Soviet Union, the Al Qaeda ranks would swell from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands. That is what the Al Qaeda wants. The current US gameplan seems to be in tune with what the Al Qaeda wants. The Al Qaeda benefited from the dumb war in Iraq, and it will benefit from any attack on a country like Iran.
White Guy Joe Biden, White Guy Chris Dodd
He has jumped onto the bandwagon. Hillary said Obama is naive, so Biden is going to say that as well, and also Chris Dodd.
The Obama Doctrine: Drain The Swamp, Kill The Mosquitoes
- The War On Terror Is The Same Magnitude As The Cold War.
- The adversary is the Al Qaeda. It is not a state, it is not a standing army. It can not be fought like it were. The US military has to fundamentally reorganize itself. It has been designed to face states with standing armies. Human intel will play a key role.
- The Al Qaeda are mosquitoes. They are not the real story. The real story is the swamp.
- The only way to win the War On Terror is to turn all Arab countries into democracies. And, yes, that includes Pakistan, that includes Saudi Arabia. Musharraf has to go. The Saudi king has to go. The necons are best friends with both of them. No wonder the Arab street does not believe them when they say they are trying to spread democracy.
- The only way to spread democracy is Nepal's magical April Revolution 2006 way, the progressive way, the grassroots way. You don't invade countries to spread democracy. For one it costs too much. It also backfires.
Obama is right. The Arab masses have to know the US is not keeping that an open option. To say there is a nuclear option is to make the mistake of thinking the War on Terror is a fight with a state with a standing army.
You don't go after mosquitoes with bulldozers.
In The News
Nuclear strike catches Obama off his guard Sydney Morning Herald The Clinton-Obama feud has gone nuclear, with Barack Obama ruling out atomic strikes against al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan - and Hillary Clinton chiding him for foreclosing the doomsday option. ..... A smile darted onto Senator Clinton's face when asked to respond to his comments at a news conference later in the day.
Campaign Memo: "Barack Obama Was Right" Washington Post his spat with Sen. Hillary Clinton over rogue leaders; his speech on Pakistan; his nukes comment ...... It was Washington's conventional wisdom that led us into the worst strategic blunder in the history of US foreign policy. The rush to invade Iraq was a position advocated by not only the Bush Administration, but also by editorial pages, the foreign policy establishment of both parties, and majorities in both houses of Congress. Those who opposed the war were often labeled weak, inexperienced, and even naïve. ........ he thought it essential that the United States "finish the fight with bin Laden and al Qaeda." ...... the threat to our homeland from terrorist groups is "persistent and evolving." Al-Qaeda has a safe-haven in Pakistan. ...... The United States has not talked directly to Iran at a high level, and they have continued to build their nuclear weapons program, wreak havoc in Iraq, and support terror. The United States has not talked directly to Syria at a high level, and they have continued to meddle in Lebanon and support terror. The United States did not talk to North Korea for years, and they were able to produce enough material for 6 to 8 more nuclear bombs........ not talking has made us look weak and stubborn in the world; that skillful diplomacy can drive wedges between your adversaries; that the only way to know your enemy is to take his measure; and that tough talk is of little use if you're not willing to do it directly to your adversary .......... that's how tough, smart diplomacy works, and that's how American leaders have scored some of the greatest strategic successes in US history. ....... We need a new era of tough, principled and engaged American diplomacy to deal with 21st century challenges. ....... Bin Laden and Zawahiri - two men with direct responsibility for 9/11- remain at large. Al Qaeda has trained and deployed hundreds of fighters worldwide from its sanctuary in northwest Pakistan. Afghanistan is far less secure because the Taliban can strike across the border, and then return to safety in Pakistan. .......... over-reliance on an unreliable dictator in Pakistan and an occupation of Iraq. ..... nuclear force was not necessary, and would kill too many civilians. ...... signaling nuclear powers and nuclear aspirants that using nuclear weapons is acceptable behavior ....... a foreign policy that is bold, clear, principled, and tailored for the 21st century
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Clinton talks tough over Obama's nuke veto
Clinton Implies Obama's Comments Were Careless ABC News The leading Democratic candidates for president sparred with each other over the issue of nuclear weapons Thursday and the result was pure heat. ..... Sen. Clinton was referring to Obama's statement earlier in the day that he had ruled out using nuclear weapons against al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan or Pakistan. ....... Clinton also suggested Obama's high-profile speech earlier in the week in which he said would be willing to invade Pakistan to attack high-profile al Qaeda targets, given actionable intelligence, was inappropriate ...... "I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance." He then added: "Involving civilians." ....... "Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table." ..... "Presidents should be very careful at all times in discussing the use or nonuse of nuclear weapons," Clinton said. "Presidents since the Cold War have used nuclear deterrence to keep the peace. And I don't believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or nonuse of nuclear weapons." ........ Clinton did not take issue with that as an option, but suggested Obama should not have been delivering such messages publicly. ........ "I think everyone agrees that our goal should be to capture or kill bin Laden and his lieutenants but how we do it should not be telegraphed and discussed for obvious reasons." ..... "I've long believed that we needed tougher, smarter action against terrorists by deploying more troops to Afghanistan, and if we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured," she said. ........ "Over the past several days, Senator Obama's assertions about foreign and military affairs have been, frankly, confusing and confused," said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. "He has made threats he should not make and made unwise categorical statements about military options." ........ On NPR's "Diane Rehm Show," Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Obama "naïve" and implied he wasn't experienced enough for the presidency. "Having talking points on foreign policy doesn't get you there," Biden said of Obama. ...... fellow Illinoisan Dick Durbin, the Senate Democratic Whip -- applauded Obama's speech, saying the freshman's remarks were entirely appropriate.
Barack Obama taken to task for Pakistan threat Daily Times US respects Pakistan’s sovereignty: White House ...... Sen Joseph Biden, who is also running for president, said Obama’s proposal clearly shows his inexperience. “It’s not something you talk about,” he said. “The last thing you want to do is telegraph to the folks in Pakistan plans that threaten their sovereignty.” ...... Sen Christopher Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, used stronger words. “Frankly, I am not sure what Barack is calling for in his speech this morning. But it is dangerous and irresponsible to leave even the impression the United States would needlessly and publicly provoke a nuclear power,” he said. ...... Sen James H Webb Jr, Virginia Democrat, called the Sulaiman mountain range on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border a rugged and treacherous place and did not blame the Bush administration for being cautious. John Edwards, now at No 3 in the Democratic presidential bid, said he would first apply “maximum diplomatic and economic pressure on states like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia” to do their utmost to combat the spread of terrorism. He also challenged both Obama and Clinton to block a proposed US arms deal with Saudi Arabia....... New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, also a Democratic presidential candidate, was in agreement with Obama, saying that his approach towards Pakistan correct. “We need to reverse the Bush-Cheney policy of appeasement and make sure Musharraf knows his deal with the terrorists is completely unacceptable to the US.” ....... Obama also said in his Wednesday morning speech at the Woodrow Wilson Centre here, “As president, I will lead this effort,” he said. “In the first 100 days of my administration, I will travel to a major Islamic forum and deliver an address to redefine our struggle.” He also renewed his call to double the amount of foreign aid to $50 billion by 2012 and to provide $2 billion to fight the influence of Islamic madrassas, which he said “have filled young minds with messages of hate”.
Obama Again Stirs Up Rivals With Statement on Use of Nukes
Obama talks tough as poll gap widens New Zealand Herald
'Hillary tears ahead of Dem rivals'
Clinton, McCain lead new Arizona poll Bizjournals.com, NC
Poll: Bad news for McCain, good news for Obama
Senator McCain looks back at the "gang of 14" and the immigration ... Power Line, MN Senator McCain held another blogger conference call today. These are virtuoso performances in terms of McCain's ability candidly and knowledgeably to answer questions on a wide range of topics, and the ease and gusto with which he does it. It's easy for political figures to seem synthetic in this context, but no one can say that about McCain. ....... McCain denounced the ethics reform act the Senate passed tody. He called it "a sham and a joke" because although there are some good provisions on lobbying, the legislation doesn't really get at earmarks. ..... McCain revisited the immigration battle, which he believes was a massive blow to his campaign. He attributes the political problem to his inability to convince people that the government would actually enforce our borders.
Prachanda's clarifications: "No decision to launch people's revolt" NepalNews
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Madhes Rises Himal South Asian Cover Feature Raw anger characterises the mood in the Tarai, Nepal’s southern plains, which forms about a quarter of the country’s total area. Grievances accumulated over decades (or centuries – to be precise, Madhesi activists point out that the situation has been building for the 238 years since the Gorkhali conquests that created present-day Nepal) have this year found a strong, albeit fractured, political voice. Madhesis are people with plains-languages as their mother tongue. They often share deep cultural, linguistic, family and religious ties with people across the border in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. ‘Madhes’ is preferred by Madhesi activists to the term ‘Tarai’. While both are geographical terms, ‘Madhes’ has a distinctive political connotation, and is generally used to refer to the eastern and central Tarai. ........ The April 2006 People’s Movement gave rise to expectations among Madhesis that they would finally be recognised as equal citizens, and find space in the national polity. This encouraged them to mobilise politically. But with the January promulgation of the interim constitution – which was silent on Madhesi concerns such as federalism, and did not provide for equitable electoral representation – Madhesis decided that it was time for confrontation. ........... The unprecedented January-February Madhesi movement saw close to 40 people killed, most of them in police firing. ....... The political landscape in the Tarai today is characterised by uncertainty and a confrontational mood. There is virtually no state presence across the eastern plains, and the Kathmandu leadership, across the political spectrum, is perceived as insincere. ........ the plains political groups themselves remain divided, and face a serious crisis of leadership. They have not been able to channel the demands for respect and recognition that lie at the heart of the Madhesi protests into a coherent political agenda. .......... what has emerged in the Tarai is a vacuum of power – established parties have lost support, but the newer Madhesi outfits are yet to fill the space ........ that between the Madhesis and the Tharus ...... the pahade leadership’s attitude towards Madhesis changed little in the democratic era after 1990, or even in the past year. ....... They still have not declared those killed during the struggle as martyrs ...... It took them four months to form the commission to investigate police atrocities, and even that had a pahade majority and included the police chief in charge at the time. Look at the way they increased constituencies in the Tarai, gerrymandering in favour of pahade candidates even amidst the movement. The government will not give us anything substantive; all it is interested in is manipulating and weakening us. ....... MJF leader Upendra Yadav, as well as the militant Jai Krishna Goit and Jwala Singh, were all members who left the Maoist organisation ....... While denying the accusation publicly, MJF leaders were privately not unhappy about the Gaur carnage. “They had it coming,” says one party leader from Lahan. “Our struggle is directed as much against them as against the state. We are the only ones capable of giving the Maoists a taste of their own medicine, and finishing them off from Madhes.” ....... Pahades comprise one-third of the Tarai’s population. To their credit, Madhesi groups did not allow their movement for rights to descend into a communal clash. But there is little doubt that communal relations have been adversely affected in recent months. ....... “I was born here, and speak fluent Bhojpuri,” says one. “I enjoy my paan, and have many friends across the border in Raxaul. This is my home – I feel like a Madhesi, and am at a loss in Kathmandu. Today, I am being told I am an outsider.” The others nod. A drink later, the same man turns back, “You know what, though, Madhesis need to do one thing: give up these dual loyalties. Most of them support India over Nepal. Why can’t they only be Nepalis, like us? The government should really suppress the natak, the drama, they are up to, if they continue like this.” ........ rising anti-Madhesi prejudice among plains-based pahades, who see their dominance slipping away. ....... Madhesi politics are in flux. The stranglehold of the mainstream parties, particularly of the Nepali Congress, over the eastern half of the Nepal Tarai is over. The Maoists, who had succeeded in building a limited base, have lost out ...... The oldest Madhesi outfit, the Nepal Sadbhavana Party, has a limited base and is faction-ridden, though it may gain a bit from the heightened identity consciousness promoted by others, by virtue of it being the only organised Madhesi party. ... The MJF gained instant brand recognition for its leadership of the January-February uprising, but has failed to capitalise on the movement’s achievements. ..... Hindu extremist groups are neither strong nor organised enough in the Tarai ...... Dahal says he speaks to Prime Minister Koirala every morning at four, to brief him on the previous day’s developments in the district. Dahal is a worried man these days, and is struggling to deal with the current identity upsurge. ...... The NC cadre have had a difficult time representing their party in the Tarai since the movement. Sitting in the NC office in Rajbiraj, Umesh Jha, a district committee member of the party, complains that the leadership ignores the sentiments of Madhesis. “We had warned them that the Madhesi consciousness was rising,” he recalls. “Even now, they don’t listen to us. Some of us may choose to fight for Madhesi rights within the party, but they should remember that other activists have other options now.” ........ “See, I will vote for the Maoists but will support any group, including the MJF and JTMM, if they organise pro-Madhesi activities,” he says. “Our leadership messed up, but I am a Madhesi as well as a Maoist, and will do my bit for both.” ...... “Why does Prachanda need to say that we should use force, or announce, as he did, that he can solve the problem in 15 days? People ask us to explain what this means, and we don’t know what to say!” ......... The MJF’s main demands include a fully proportional representation-based electoral system, and pre-guarantees on federal structure before the November 2007 Constituent Assembly elections. Privately, the Forum leaders say they have little expectations from the talks, and are using the time they have bought themselves to expand and prepare for the next stage of confrontation. .......... They are also convinced that elections will not in fact take place in November – which may suit them fine, as the incipient party organisation is not yet in a position to win a substantial number of seats in the Tarai. ....... An old, bearded man with a professorial look, Goit is sitting in a small hotel room, calling for breakfast. As he often does with new visitors, he then takes close to two dozen books out of a canvas bag. For the next three hours, he meticulously cites references from each of them, slowly narrating the evolution of the Tarai from pre-historic times to the present. “The Tarai became a part of Nepal after the 1816 and 1860 treaties with British India,” he explains. “According to the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty, which is registered with the UN, the older treaties stood annulled. Nepal just does not have a legal case over the Tarai. Our ancestors should have raised the issue then, but why should we lose out because of their mistake?” Goit says that he is neither a Nepali nor an Indian, but wants an independent country. “It might not happen immediately, but I am laying out the theoretical foundations for the next generation to take it forward,” he says calmly. ............ “How will the Tarai revolution take place without eating?” he laughs pleasantly. Jwala Singh says his aim is the creation of an autonomous Madhes from east to west ..... Both leaders ask for full personal security, a ceasefire and a withdrawal of cases against their activists as minimum pre-conditions for talks. ....... “Ultimately, Madhesis are killing Madhesis and we are suffering,” says Chandrakishore. “The pahades will be happy to see us divided and at each other’s throats. Our leadership needs to realise this.” ........ If I say ‘Girija babu’ in a speech, people shout at me, and say ‘Call him bloody Girija!’ ....... it was the largely peaceful mass movement of January-February that got the Madhesi demands heard nationally, and put Madhesi concerns indelibly on the national agenda. ........ The relationship between New Delhi and the Madhesi groups is complex and multi-layered. There is deep resentment across districts of the eastern Tarai with regard to India’s role – most believe that New Delhi has always sided with the Kathmandu ruling elite ....... There is sympathy for the Madhesi cause across political players and bureaucrats in Patna, Lucknow and Delhi, who are happy to see an effective counter to the Maoists emerge right at the border. ........ The government may think that it is time for a law-and-order approach in the Tarai, but it is clear that a security crackdown will only further exacerbate the problem – causing further radicalisation and deepening the communal divide. ........ there is anarchy in Tarai. ...... Sitaula is seen as a Maoist sympathiser who lacks proper sensitivity for the Madhesi cry for respect and recognition. ...... most Madhesis know that the Constituent Assembly is their best chance to gain the rights they have been historically denied. The problem right now is not that Madhesis do not want elections, but that they are convinced that the major parties in Kathmandu are uninterested in holding them – and in search of excuses not to. ......... the onus lies on Kathmandu’s political elite to ensure that Nepal is not put through yet another long and violent conflict, this one based on issues of identity that would therefore run much deeper than the ‘class warfare’ of the Maoists.
Nepal's new national anthem