What Obama Said On Pakistan
If Bin Laden's precise location can be found, then Obama would get in touch with Musharraf to take Bin Laden out. If Musharraf takes more than three minutes, President Obama would take Bin Laden out unilaterally. That is what he said.
Those are three big steps you are talking about.
One, can Bin Laden's precise location be found? So far that has not happened, and the US has been looking for him for close to a decade, I think. He was being sought way before 9/11. But say the US intelligence agencies do a good job and manage to find the precise location of Bin Laden's whereabouts, then what? Bin Laden is likely in some cave and not in some village or town surrounded by a whole bunch of civilians. So there would be no civilian casualties to an attack from the sky.
Musharraf is no friend of Bin Laden any more than Saddam was. Bin Laden wants Musharraf dead. Musharraf wants Bin Laden dead. That is the kind of relationship they have. Bin Laden has already made three or four attempts on Musharrafs' life, all of which were close calls. The next attempt might be a success, and Musharraf knows that. And Bin Laden knows that.
What that means is Bin Laden is trying his very best to make sure Musharraf can't find out where he is. But if the US were to be able to find out, and if the US would share that information with Musharraf, Musharraf would act, not because he owes something to the US, but because he is a soldier, a fighter with survival instincts. He will readily cooperate with the US to take Bin Laden out. That is what will happen. The US is not going to have to act unilaterally.
That is why Barack Obama said if.
Obama knows Musharraf will cooperate. But if he does not, which presidential candidate in her or his right mind would want the US to stand idly by respecting Pakistan's sovereignty? There will be a missile strike and that particular cave will be turned into rubble.
It is dishonest for Chirs Dodd to suggest Obama suggested invading Pakistan. Obama never said that. In propagating that lie, Dodd is compromising US security by not allowing an honest debate on the number one threat America faces today.
If you understand how autocratic organizations like the Al Qaeda work - they don't hold internal elections - you will understand how fundamentally important it is to take the top guy out. Look at what happened to the Shining Path in Peru after its top guy Gonzalo was captured: it withered away like magic.
The US intelligence agencies have been making a grave mistake in outsourcing the hunt for Bin Laden to Pakistan. Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, described as a state inside a state, is supremely infiltrated by Islamist radicals. That is why when Bill Clinton struck Bin Laden when he was in Afghanistan, Bin Laden had already shifted. Because Bill Clinton made the mistake of first telling Pakistan that he was going to hit Bin Laden because Bin Laden had been located. That information got passed onto Bin Laden. Some top dude in the ISI passed that info to Bin Laden.
Why would you want to repeat that mistake?
That is short term. But in the long term we are looking at a scenario of saying Musharraf has to go, the Saudi king has to go, Mubarak has to go, Gaddafi has to go. Hello democracy.
Bin Laden tries to recruit disenchanted Muslim youth living in the west. Why don't progressive organizations in a place like New York City try to recruit Arabs immigrants locally to try and ignite democracy movements in the Arab countries? Beats me. You might not do it if it is a democracy issue, but will you do it if it is a security issue? Because it is.
Hillary seems to think no Musharraf means the nuclear Pakistan goes down the Islamist radical route. That is wrong thinking. Musharraf has to be pushed out and the democrats in Pakistan have to take over.
Progressives in NYC need to approach the 40,000 Nepalis in the city and say, we want you to have voting rights in this city's elections because you do pay your utility bills. And now teach us and teach the Arab immigrants from those many Arab countries how to ignite nonviolent, grassroots democracy movements in their countries.
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