Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reading the Documents: Obama vs Pakistan

So, Barack Obama is now an evil warmongering bastard like all the others who wants to invade Pakistan or a girly man who doesn't want to nuke Pakistan, depending on ideological preference. The reason was a speech on foreign policy he recently gave, and subsequent reporting.

You can see how it happened. It spooked me; was he really suggesting something that deranged while also accusing Hillary Clinton of being "Bush-Cheney lite"? But then, I took a radical step. I actually read the text of the speech; yuh, it might shock some.

Here she goes. Here's the relevant section:
As President, I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.

I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.

And Pakistan needs more than F-16s to combat extremism. As the Pakistani government increases investment in secular education to counter radical madrasas, my Administration will increase America's commitment. We must help Pakistan invest in the provinces along the Afghan border, so that the extremists' program of hate is met with one of hope. And we must not turn a blind eye to elections that are neither free nor fair -- our goal is not simply an ally in Pakistan, it is a democratic ally.
Compared with the reporting of this, I'm underwhelmed, especially as it comes after a good dozen pars on the necessity to get out of Iraq, repudiate torture, and crank up peaceful responses to terrorism. I'm very dubious about the whole story of the 2005 meeting, but I would point out that of course there are circumstances when it would be the right decision; Osama in person, making tracks for the UAE with a Ghaznavi-2 nuclear missile on its TEL vehicle, say.

It's just very, very unlikely that a raid in Pakistan would ever be wise, and therefore we should set our cognitive filters accordingly. In fact, the rest of the speech is far more important; Pakistan certainly needs more than F-16s to combat extremism, and it's high time to think about how to end the current situation where the secular and semi-secular forces are divided between the Musharraf King's party and everyone else, being opposed by some combination of jihadis, the ISI, and various regional insurgents.

And I especially like his suggestion of a major commitment of aid in education and the creation of real judiciaries and police forces. This ispretty good, too, even if Yglesias don't like it.

But it does go to show that you've got to read the documents. For everything else, I'm of the opinion that anyone who even imagines dropping a nuclear bomb on three terrorists and a goat is insane.


Surreptitious Evil said...

But a 500lb Mk82 would probably be a reasonable investment? I would feel sorry for the goat.

Alex said...

Hey, three rifle bullets and a biscuit would be ideal.

Surreptitious Evil said...

Not if they're the dodgy Pakistani ones (bullets, not biscuits).

kostenloser Counter