Tuesday, May 03, 2011

President Obama: He's Who He Said He Was

On August 1, 2007, then Senator Obama delivered a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center on the US response to 911. He clearly articulated his vision for the use of force. It's one that I wasn't entirely comfortable with, but I wasn't under any illusions when I voted for him. I didn't agree with the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, but that's exactly what he said he intended to do.

"The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

He's in the process of withdrawing US forces from Iraq. He demonstrated a ruthlessness with regards to US interests that I found chilling.

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will."

His Democratic rivals assailed his supposed naiveté. Shortly thereafter when President Musharraf suspended the Pakistani constitution, he was revealed as prescient. His Republican opponent went further:

In July 2008, Larry King asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “If you were president and knew that bin Laden was in Pakistan, you know where, would you have U.S. forces go in after him?”
McCain said he would not.
“Larry, I’m not going to go there and here’s why: because Pakistan is a sovereign nation.”

I'm uncomfortable with the notion that the US can swoop in anywhere and conduct military operations without the knowledge and consent of the host nation, but that is the world in which we live and President Obama broadcast his view on the matter well in advance of his election.

Agree or disagree with him, but he clearly telegraphed the policies he intended to pursue.

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