2008 Obama Backtracks on Attacking Pakistan
posted by August 8 at 13:40 PMon
In a Democratic debate last night, Chris Dodd (and Hillary Clinton) criticized Barack Obama’s recent statements about unilaterally launching attacks inside the mountainous tribal areas of Packistan in order to get at Al Qaeda targets.
Here’s what Obama said on Oct. 1 in a major policy address on terrorism:
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.
When Dodd and Clinton challenged Obama on this last night, Obama reminded the audience that he’d been right on “the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation,” the Iraq war, and added:
I did not say that we would immediately go in unilaterally, what I said was that we have to work with Musharraf… Chris, respectfully, and you and I are close friends, but you obviously didn’t read my speech because what I said was that we had to refocus, get out of Iraq; make certain we are helping Pakistan deal with the problem of Al Qaeda in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan but Chris, if we have actionable intelligence on Al Qaeda operatives, including bin Laden and President Musharraf cannot act, then we should.
Today the Dodd campaign is claiming: “Senator Obama clearly buckled under the pressure last night while being challenged by much more experienced, seasoned candidates like Chris Dodd.”
It’s also circulating the text of an MSNBC post-debate clip that catches Obama walking back his previous statements:
As part of MSNBC’s post debate coverage, MSNBC reporter David Shuster agreed with Dodd, saying that Obama was misleading about his August 1st terrorism speech:
Obama (video of debate): “I did not say that we would immediately go in unilaterally, what I said was that we have to work with Musharraf”
Shuster: “Actually Obama is incorrect and Dodd is right on this one. Watch what Obama said in his speech just a few days ago. ”
Obama (video of terrorism speech, 8/1/07): “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 will not act, we will.”
Shuster: “Again, Barack Obama was misleading tonight about his own speech”