Obama on troops in Pakistan: Never mind

posted at 12:00 pm on March 29, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Three days after his administration strongly hinted that President Obama would order American troops into Pakistan when targets became open, Obama himself reversed that position.  In an interview with the Associated Press, Obama said he respected Pakistani sovereignty and foresaw no reason to violate it — at least not with ground troops:

As he carries out a retooled strategy in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama says he will consult with Pakistan’s leaders before pursuing terrorist hideouts in that country.

Obama said U.S. ally Pakistan needs to be more accountable, but ruled out deploying U.S. troops there. “Our plan does not change the recognition of Pakistan as a sovereign government,” the president told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday. …

Without directly referring to the strikes, Obama said: “If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we’re going after them. But our main thrust has to be to help Pakistan defeat these extremists.”

Asked if he meant he would put U.S. troops on the ground in Pakistan, Obama said: “No.” He noted that Pakistan is a sovereign nation and said: “We need to work with them and through them to deal with al-Qaida. But we have to hold them much more accountable.”

That’s different than what the administration said on Thursday.  As Wired reported, it sounded like Obama had decided just the opposite:

President Obama has just laid out his new war strategy. And he’s made it clear that the fight is both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. So I asked Dennis McDonough, with the National Security Council: Does that mean U.S. ground forces in Pakistan? Or more drone attacks? “I’m not going to comment on the notions you laid out there,” he answered, during a White House conference call with bloggers.

But during a separate press conference, Bruce Reidel, who recently completed a strategy review of the region for the White House, offered some hints. “Thus far, our policy sees Afghanistan and Pakistan as two countries, but one theater of operations for our diplomacy, and one challenge for our overall policy,” he said. “We have very concrete proposals for increasing economic assistance to Pakistan, proposals that have already been put forward by the Congress. We’re also looking at what we can do on the military side.”

Michele Flournoy, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, added, “I certainly believe we are going to be increasing our intelligence focus in this [Afghan-Pakistan] theater, and as opportunities arise that may increase the pace of operations, as well.”

“One theater” suggests no boundaries for US troops, a perception that the administration did not reject when explicitly asked on Thursday.  Today, Obama has rejected it, although he threatened to invade Pakistan with American ground troops as a candidate.  So is this “smart power”, or simply chaotic and fumbling messaging from the White House?


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I’m not saying that getalife really is a program, just that its responses are pretty much indistinguishable from such a context-driven program. A program would certainly provide a good explanation for how its responses seem to be scattered throughout the day, every day and at all times of the day.

AZfederalist on March 29, 2009 at 6:29 PM

I’m not aware of getalife’s posting at all times of the day-has it been seen posting at 3 AM?

Last week I asked it:

“Tell us again how Enron happened on Bush’s watch”.

It replied “Yes, Enron happened on Bush’s watch”.

And getalife also carried on a somewhat intelligent conversation with Ed Morrisey a few days ago.

Del Dolemonte on March 29, 2009 at 6:59 PM

Has he ever meant a single thing he has said?

LibTired on March 29, 2009 at 7:03 PM

I’m not aware of getalife’s posting at all times of the day-has it been seen posting at 3 AM?

I can’t answer that, I do know that regardless of when I am on, getalife is posting. That includes days when I have taken PTO, or other odd times. Just seems strange that a person, even a paid shill could be that prodigious and ever-present.

Last week I asked it:

“Tell us again how Enron happened on Bush’s watch”.

It replied “Yes, Enron happened on Bush’s watch”.

That would be very similar to the behavior of a contextual-based response program.

And getalife also carried on a somewhat intelligent conversation with Ed Morrisey a few days ago.

Del Dolemonte on March 29, 2009 at 6:59 PM

How in-depth did the discussion get? Did it (getalife) ever get beyond talking points?

I’m not going to emphatically state that getalife is a contextual response program, I am saying that from what I’ve seen, its responses are pretty much indistinguishable from such a program — which doesn’t speak well of getalife’s intellectual prowess if it is a human bean.

Think what a coup it would be though for some lib somewhere to be able to make the claim that they had tied up a conservative blog in responding to a computer program.

AZfederalist on March 29, 2009 at 7:09 PM

Yes, the conversation with Ed got past Leftist talking points. Wish I could remember what thread it was!

Del Dolemonte on March 29, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Slightly off topic but Gates announced that neither the U.S. or its allies are going to be in a position to do anything about the N. Korea missile launch next week. Looks like the same backtracking going on as with Pakistan. Plus maybe some strong arming of Japan. At this point I don’t think an electron microscope could find “0′s” pair. To our military cadre posting on HA God Bless and the prayers of my family go with you.

chemman on March 29, 2009 at 7:21 PM

True_King:

What exactly is the GOP line? I mean to be honest, if I have the choice of a GOPer and Obama…I will take the GOPer anyday. As for their line, I think people would have a hard time agreeing on exactly what that was.

Terrye on March 29, 2009 at 6:42 PM

I really don’t know exactly what the line is any more. It was supposed to be small government, family values, small business, but I have no clue what they represent anymore.

I guess the best way to answer it is that the line is “Obama is a socialist!” That pretty much sums up the GOP line for now.

Obama is integrating corporations and government like never before, he will sign the GIVE Act, it looks like the House version has added the conspiracy theorist mandatory provision back in. It’s in House Bill H.R.1444 Section 4 b6, and it states:(6) Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

The Republicans voted for the slavery bill. This is slavery pure and simple, your children about to become wards of the state. Did anybody else notice the provision they slipped in that creates a Real ID that has to show you completed the mandatory provisions in order to get a job?

That’s the Republican line I guess. Disgusting. Where are the true leaders or liberty?

True_King on March 29, 2009 at 7:25 PM

. At this point I don’t think an electron microscope could find “0’s” pair.
chemman on March 29, 2009 at 7:21 PM

I think this cartoon from timesonline sums up the worlds view
of our Paparazzi President:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/cartoon/

Baxter Greene on March 29, 2009 at 7:43 PM

Slightly off topic but Gates announced that neither the U.S. or its allies are going to be in a position to do anything about the N. Korea missile launch next week.

chemman on March 29, 2009 at 7:21 PM

I saw a report on CNN where Gates said that they would shoot down a North Korean missile if it appeared to be out of control, or heading towards Hawai’i. Gates also said he didn’t think the North Korean technology would allow the missile to get as far as Alaska or the Left Coast.

CNN also reported that the US had moved ships with ballistic missiles capable of shooting it down to the Sea of Japan. That was done last Thursday.

Del Dolemonte on March 29, 2009 at 7:43 PM

The mirage of aggressive action against the Muslim terrorists in Pakistan will, however, bounce around in the Echo Chamber for ages.

Just as good to say you’re going to do something, publicize that, back down quietly…

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 29, 2009 at 8:00 PM

Del Monte I saw those earlier this week. Unless CNN’s report about N. Korea is from today found this on Lucianne: Gates: U.S. Not Prepared
to Respond to North Korea Missile Launch
Fox News, by Bill Sammon Posted at 4:18p EDT

chemman on March 29, 2009 at 8:06 PM

chemman on March 29, 2009 at 8:06 PM

CNN’s story was reporting on Gate’s appearance on Fox News Sunday.

Del Dolemonte on March 29, 2009 at 8:26 PM

CNN’s story was reporting on Gate’s appearance on Fox News Sunday.

Del Dolemonte on March 29, 2009 at 8:26 PM

Gates is a huge internationalist. Dude wants the NWO bigtime.

True_King on March 29, 2009 at 8:47 PM

Slightly off topic but Gates announced that neither the U.S. or its allies are going to be in a position to do anything about the N. Korea missile launch next week.
chemman on March 29, 2009 at 7:21 PM

Someone better tell the crews of our Navy ships based in Yokosuka. I’m pretty sure they are ready to take on Dear Leader.

csdeven on March 29, 2009 at 8:48 PM

this wimpiness, combined with the flip-flopping on Afghanistan, Pakistan & Iraq, really inspires our soldiers. you know, they need an “atta boy” too. and they need some leadership at the top.

and God only knows how our wimpiness inspires whatever allies we have left.

kelley in virginia on March 29, 2009 at 8:56 PM

Ed how do you fabricate stories than not even Fox News would run with? You’ve always got these non-stories with your made up conspiracies that only you believe. The news wires didn’t carry anything like this. Did it only happen in your mind. Saw Bob Gates on Fox News Sunday, your big “scoop” never showed up there. Why is that? Thanks for creating a non-story, day after day after day.

athensboy on March 29, 2009 at 8:57 PM

So far,Obama has a confused policy,and I’m not sure if
anybody knows what the policy is!

Team Hopey,needs to take his zest for going after GM CEO’s as well as Republicans,and applying that vigor to the
Taliban,and AQ!

Btw,does anybody have information(accurate that is)on what,
if any,changes of the “Rules of Engagement” are!

canopfor on March 29, 2009 at 9:00 PM

If he didn’t telegraph his thoughts, he wouldn’t need to retract anything….just sayin I don’t need him to twitter our Game Plans:)

Dr Evil on March 29, 2009 at 9:19 PM

So is this “smart power”, or simply chaotic and fumbling messaging from the White House?

This is Cigarman’s shrew telling Da Bama how it is. Anyone remember her supporting the creation of a Pakistani State?

DannoJyd on March 29, 2009 at 9:51 PM

athensboy on March 29, 2009 at 8:57 PM

http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2009/03/27/obama-goes-to-war/

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090329/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_afghanistan

Were you born stupid Athensboy, or do you just like to throw accusations around?

hawkdriver on March 29, 2009 at 10:49 PM

The Words of the Teleprompter bloweth where it listeth, and no one can say whither they come, nor where they blow from day to day. Sticketh thy wet finger upraised into the air, that thou mayest sense the momentary changes of volts and amps. Changey hopeth bloweth eternally every which way.

Broadsword on March 30, 2009 at 9:07 AM

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