If Pakistan Captures Bin Laden Now, Can Obama Take Credit?
The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf is considering declaring a state of emergency. It's partly because of fighting in northern Pakistan. It's partly the instability he has created by trying to hold on to power and firing a popular judge that might have challenged his claim to that power. But he claims it's also because of Barack Obama.
Musharraf claims that Obama's statements about taking possible unilateral action against Al Qaeda inside Pakistan has created so much instability that he has to declare a state of emergency. That's total rubbish. Musharraf's motivations have nothing to do with Obama, it's just a convenient excuse.
But he is feeling the heat from America for the first time in a long time about the fact that he has done next to nothing about capturing Osama bin Laden.
Yes, to be fair, in the beginning of our so-called "war on terror" (did you know that George Washington originally called the Revolutionary War a "war on muskets"), Pakistan helped in capturing some very important targets, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But after awhile Musharraf powered down, made a ridiculous "peace deal" with the northern tribes which allowed Al Qaeda free reign in Northern Pakistan and basically gave up pursuing Osama.
Now, all of a sudden the heat is on. And it's partly because of Barack Obama's rhetoric. If Musharraf winds up capturing or killing bin Laden now, whether Senator Obama's tough talk helped to bring that about would be a fair question.
The situation in Pakistan is very complicated. Over all, I agree with Sen. Obama. We should put a lot more pressure on Musharraf. If he's going to take our money and pretend to be an ally, he's got to show us some results. We certainly don't want to bluster and blunder ourselves into a military situation in Pakistan. But Obama has been very careful in saying he would talk to Musharraf before he took any action in Pakistan and would exhaust all diplomatic options. He's no George Bush.
But ultimately, if Pakistan doesn't act against bin Laden and we have him in our sights, you've probably got to pull the trigger. By the way, I love how Republicans are now arguing that we shouldn't go after bin Laden in Pakistan. That the responsible thing to do would be to avoid military conflict. Are they kidding?
Speaking of which, Senator Obama's comments might have had one more positive effect. They have changed the center of military conversations to Pakistan, rather than Iran. This is exactly right. Think about it, why on God's green earth would we consider going into Iran - another country where Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are not, when we full well know they are in Pakistan? If we should take military action anywhere, it should be against Al Qaeda and it should be in Pakistan.
To argue for military strikes against Iran when you're not even willing to take military strikes against the people who attacked us on 9/11 sounds absurd. That's because it is absurd.
The Young Turks