Report: Obama opposes drone strikes on Taliban leaders in cities

posted at 3:35 pm on December 16, 2009 by Allahpundit

Geraghty counts this as another star in the great galaxy of broken Obama promises, dating to the convention when he vowed to take out Bin Laden and his underlings “if we have them in our sights.” True?

Five administration officials tell NEWSWEEK that the president has sided with political and diplomatic advisers who argue that widening the scope of the drone attacks would be risky and unwise. Obama is concerned that firing missiles into urban areas like Quetta, where intelligence reports suggest that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and other high-level militants have sometimes taken shelter, would greatly increase the risk of civilian casualties. It would also draw protests from Pakistani politicians and military leaders, who have been largely quiet about the drone attacks as long as they’ve been confined to the country’s out-of-sight border region. The White House has been encouraged by Pakistan’s own recent military efforts to root out militants along the Afghan border, and it does not want to jeopardize that cooperation.

There’s been no final decision yet, Newsweek cautions. I think he would order a strike if we had credible intel on Bin Laden or Zawahiri, civilian casualties and Pakistani backlash be damned, just because the upside of success is huge even relative to the considerable downside of failure. The last thing a first-term president needs is a CIA leak down the road about how he once had a shot at Osama but was too gun-shy to pull the trigger. In the case of Mullah Omar et al., the symbolic importance is less so the calculus changes. Remember, Pakistan’s trying to balance its alliance with the U.S., which it needs to keep India in check, with its alliance with the Taliban, which it needs to assert control in Afghanistan after we’re gone. Anything that throws that balance out of whack — like, say, mass casualties caused by a U.S. air assault on a Pakistani city — will force a readjustment on the other side of the scale, which probably explains why Pakistan’s greeting the American surge across the border by refusing to speed up its own offensive in the tribal areas. It’s all about balance, especially now that Obama’s reminded everyone that we’re eager to vacate the premises. Which leaves The One with two options: Either (1) avoid provocative action like drone strikes on cities that might lead Pakistan to do some “rebalancing” or (2) take really provocative action — namely, by threatening to bring their archenemy into Afghanistan — in order to scare the Pakistanis into rebalancing in our favor.

The problem is, it may be too late for the latter strategy. Pakistan’s greatest strength is its own weakness as a state: We can’t rock the boat too much, the theory goes, or else the secular-ish government will fall and the jihadbots will take full control of their nuclear arsenal. Given the Pakistani supreme court’s ruling today allowing corruption inquiries to proceed against top government officials, the regime is more fragile than ever. Which likely means that not only is a bold Hitchens-esque stroke like tossing India into the mix off the table, but so too is any expansion of the drone program. Exit question: What’s a B+ pragmatist to do?


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Comments

I agree – go for the carpet bombing option.

mojo on December 16, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Exit question: What’s a B+ pragmatist to do?

Vote present and go golfing.

AUINSC on December 16, 2009 at 3:42 PM

This could be a smart leak. Creating some false security among the T-bans.

the_nile on December 16, 2009 at 3:42 PM

How about rerig a thousand C-130’s for airborne spraying and saturate the area with something that’ll turn them all sterile.

Dark-Star on December 16, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Gotta have someone to bow to next!

CurtZHP on December 16, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Okay, got it. So if I want a good shot at staying alive I just gotta lay low in an urban area, and hold out til about July of 2011. Any other advice?

Barack Hussein Obama… mmm mmm mmm.

-Random Taliban leader(feverishly scribbling notes)

red winger on December 16, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Exit question: What’s a B+ pragmatist to do?

Why go on vacation to Hawaii for Christmas so we can get more pic’s of Barry’s gleaming pecs.

Knucklehead on December 16, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Translation to enemy: Move into the cities and you’re cool.

CP on December 16, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Terrorist note to self: “Bring big family along, maybe neighbors too.”

Bishop on December 16, 2009 at 3:48 PM

That oughtta make Osama safe – he won’t have to hide out in a cave anymore. He can just hide out in a city since those are off limits.

t.ferg on December 16, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Why does it take FIVE administration officials to tell Newsweek ANYTHING?? Was it five separate confirmations or five oompa loompas in a room with a reporter parroting a press release?

Sorry, I’m in an odd mood today.

robblefarian on December 16, 2009 at 3:48 PM

What’s a B+ pragmatist to do?

Vacation in Hawaii…

Seven Percent Solution on December 16, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Nice, first we sent a timeline for withdrawl, now we tell them if they stick to the cities they are safe. Damn, how I would love to play poker with good ol’Barry, nothing like holding your cards face out.

milwife88 on December 16, 2009 at 3:50 PM

The last thing a first-term president needs is a CIA leak down the road about how he once had a shot at Osama but was too gun-shy to pull the trigger.

Been there, done that.

Billy Jeff choked, Berger removed evidence. It was in all the papers.

fogw on December 16, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Translation to enemy: Move into the cities and you’re cool.

CP on December 16, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Exactly. He didn’t even have to blink his message.

portlandon on December 16, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Actually I think Lord Barry want’s to create a homeland for the Taliban in New Mexico near the border with Mexico. Lock in that Taliban vote!

ronsfi on December 16, 2009 at 3:52 PM

SOB, they just voted to table (kill) the amendment by Hutchinson and Thune asking to delay taxes until benefits start on the health care bill.

milwife88 on December 16, 2009 at 3:52 PM

SOB, they just voted to table (kill) the amendment by Hutchinson and Thune asking to delay taxes until benefits start on the health care bill.
milwife88 on December 16, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Not only that, go to Drudge to see the headline of what President Pantload said about his healthcare scheme. Bring your boots.

Bishop on December 16, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Billy Jeff choked, Berger removed and destroyed evidence. It was in all the papers.

fogw on December 16, 2009 at 3:50 PM

FIFY

Del Dolemonte on December 16, 2009 at 3:56 PM

fdr wouldn’t have chickened out or backed down or held back.

obama just doesn’t want to win.

the lesser weapons we use the more of our soldiers will die and the greater the threat from the enemy grows everywhere else.

EXIT QUESTION:

if obama really was a crypto-muslim and/or radical leftist who wanted the USA and the West to lose, would he be doing anyhting differently?

nope.

reliapundit on December 16, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Exit question: What’s a B+ pragmatist to do?

Get that healthcare bill passed so he can give himself an A.

Oh, the drones? Suspend all drone activity for 100 days while decides what to do.

TXUS on December 16, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Not only that, go to Drudge to see the headline of what President Pantload said about his healthcare scheme. Bring your boots.

Bishop on December 16, 2009 at 3:56 PM

In a Charlie Gibson interview to boot. I am going to guess that Charlie is going to have a lot of puzzled “I Did not know that” looks during the interview. lorien1973 to have a field day.

WashJeff on December 16, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Bishop on December 16, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Ok, r u f-ing kidding me? Bankrupt huh? Where in the “f” do you think we are right at this very moment. On the PRECIPICE of bankruptcy right freaking now. How dumb does he think we are? Cheese and rice.

milwife88 on December 16, 2009 at 4:02 PM

Obama is concerned that firing missiles into urban areas like Quetta … would greatly increase the risk of civilian casualties.

Well that’s why we have the new SDB ”small diameter bomb” 250 pound GPS guided bombs. More accuracy and less colateral damage.

Tony737 on December 16, 2009 at 4:02 PM

How about rerig a thousand C-130’s for airborne spraying and saturate the area with something that’ll turn them all sterile.

I’d fly those over San Francisco

KeepOhioRed on December 16, 2009 at 4:03 PM

“Those are not the drones you’re looking for.”

Weight of Glory on December 16, 2009 at 4:04 PM

He doesn’t care, except about his ‘glory’ and legacy.

Some days, many days, he doesn’t look like he cares that big chunks of the country, left, right and center, are giving up on him.

Voters by a large margin have said for months they don’t want the health-care overhaul he’s pushing, so he pushes harder. They want less spending and debt, so he doubles down on pork, bailouts, handouts and taxes.

They thought he would deliver bipartisanship, and he gives his hard-left allies the keys to the kingdom.

They worry about terrorism, so he wants to close Gitmo and move the worst of the worst to the homeland. With Ground Zero still a mess, he gives the 9/11 plotters civilian trials in New York.

His approval ratings are speeding downhill and some 60 percent say the country is on the wrong track. He responds by giving himself a “good solid B-plus” for his first year.

And he says Wall Street bankers “don’t get it.”

Schadenfreude on December 16, 2009 at 4:04 PM

He’s saving or creating Taliban.

LibTired on December 16, 2009 at 4:05 PM

The Taliban and Al Qaeda are setting off bombs and killing civilians in Pakistan cities, but they are off limits to our drone attacks because we might kill civilians.

Smart Power.

Vietnam 2.0

fogw on December 16, 2009 at 4:05 PM

milwife88 on December 16, 2009 at 4:02 PM

Ogabe just used his last card, hoping that the notion of utter collapse will make Americans accept his plan.

Notice in the article “For the first time, a majority of those surveyed disapproved of the president’s work on health care”. WHAT? Where the he1l have they been?

Bishop on December 16, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Same source, as above

His vision is little more than a string of gauzy utopian platitudes glued together with fear, as when he told fellow Dems yesterday that the flawed health-bill represented “the last chance” for reform.

Schadenfreude on December 16, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Good Post AllahP

bridgetown on December 16, 2009 at 4:07 PM

How do we even know they’re Taliban from 40,000 feet?

And if they are Taliban, how do we know they’re guilty of a crime worthy of the death penalty?

The Tali’s did not attack us on 9/11 anyway.

And if they had, I don’t think belonging to a group means you’re automatically guilty of a crime anyway. Just belonging to the Mafia or the Weather Underground does not make you deserved of being bombed especially if there is civilian casualties along with it.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

OT:

Drudge has the siren up: “PELOSI: NO HEALTH CARE DEAL THIS YEAR.”

fiatboomer on December 16, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Bring your boots hip waders.

Bishop on December 16, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Boots just won’t do for that kind of BS.

Knucklehead on December 16, 2009 at 4:09 PM

I thought Obama said that he would invade Pakistan if Osama was there.

Capitalist Infidel on December 16, 2009 at 4:09 PM

O was probably told that there is substantial support for this from right leaning publications, which is a sure sign he is on the wrong path. Maybe Israel can do it for us?

GnuBreed on December 16, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Bishop:

I gotta tell you I am worried for our country with this guy at the helm. Billions of dollars wasted, the lack of leadership on just about every issue, dithering on military issues that affect me personally, and trying to shove this monstrosity of a bill down our throats that is going to drive this country over the edge. This is just sick.

milwife88 on December 16, 2009 at 4:12 PM

The Tali’s did not attack us on 9/11 anyway. And if they had, I don’t think belonging to a group means you’re automatically guilty of a crime anyway. – Spathi

Thank God people like you aren’t in charge … oh wait …

Tony737 on December 16, 2009 at 4:13 PM

How do we even know they’re Taliban from 40,000 feet?

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Our flyboys use high-powered binoculars when they look out of the windows on their B17s.

fogw on December 16, 2009 at 4:14 PM

And if they had, I don’t think belonging to a group means you’re automatically guilty of a crime anyway. Just belonging to the Mafia or the Weather Underground does not make you deserved of being bombed especially if there is civilian casualties along with it.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Yeah its not like we have a problem with groups, just a few bad apples who make up the absolute majority.

Chris_Balsz on December 16, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Just calling up Al Quaeda on the phone isn’t a crime is it?

t.ferg on December 16, 2009 at 4:15 PM

How do we even know they’re Taliban from 40,000 feet?

And if they are Taliban, how do we know they’re guilty of a crime worthy of the death penalty?

The Tali’s did not attack us on 9/11 anyway.

And if they had, I don’t think belonging to a group means you’re automatically guilty of a crime anyway. Just belonging to the Mafia or the Weather Underground does not make you deserved of being bombed especially if there is civilian casualties along with it.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

You have absolutely no clue how any of that works, do you?

AUINSC on December 16, 2009 at 4:18 PM

Just calling up Al Quaeda on the phone isn’t a crime is it?

Believe it is actually do to some new anti-terror laws.

That’s mainly a problem because we need a more liberal view of free-speech though in the courts.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:18 PM

bring their archenemy into Afghanistan

I like it.
…though I get the impression that the mountains prevent any serious considerations of supply lines between India and Afghanistan.

Count to 10 on December 16, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

If you are part of a military organization that has declared war on us, we don’t need any other reason to kill you.

Count to 10 on December 16, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Believe it is actually do to some new anti-terror laws.

That’s mainly a problem because we need a more liberal view of free-speech though in the courts.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:18 PM

do to?

Liberal dumb-speech.

fogw on December 16, 2009 at 4:22 PM

He will be able to get us favorable surrender terms . I suppose we will have to give them Salmon Rushdie , Bill Salmon , and Rush Limbaugh .

borntoraisehogs on December 16, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Hopefully, the attacks will continue over his objections. I mean, it works for Ahmedinijad, and for the Democrats to his right and left. Why can’t the Air Force use the same approach?

hawksruleva on December 16, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Never ending amateur hour for this a**hole.

ultracon on December 16, 2009 at 4:38 PM

And if they had, I don’t think belonging to a group means you’re automatically guilty of a crime anyway. Just belonging to the Mafia or the Weather Underground does not make you deserved of being bombed especially if there is civilian casualties along with it.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Guilty of a crime? Maybe not. But this is a W-A-R, remember? If you pound everyone near Al Qaeda into dust, pretty soon Al Qaeda will have no friends. Which is what we want. That’s how war works.

WAR- Huhhh- What is it gooooood for? Killing the enemy and bringing peace.

hawksruleva on December 16, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Just belonging to the Mafia or the Weather Underground does not make you deserved of being bombed especially if there is civilian casualties along with it.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

BTW- the Weather Underground reference was really funny. They bombed U.S. Soldiers. They were not the ones BEING bombed.

hawksruleva on December 16, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Tell Obama that the Taliban are also members of FOX News or talk radio and watch him be ALL for drone strikes in civilian areas…suburban areas that is.

jukin on December 16, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Report: Obama opposes drone strikes on Taliban leaders in cities

If true, what moron would leak this?

What morons would publish it?

All Taliban leaders just need to hightail it to the nearest city and they are protected from us by us, that’s frigging stupid!

DSchoen on December 16, 2009 at 4:43 PM

I think he would order a strike if we had credible intel on Bin Laden or Zawahiri, civilian casualties and Pakistani backlash be damned, if he was certain his terrorist buddies were safely out of the blast zone.

That’s more Osama Obama’s style, AP.

MrScribbler on December 16, 2009 at 4:45 PM

If we’re just going wily-nily wiping out villages and bombing civilians (which I suspect is the case) then this needs to stop and we should get our predator-drones out of the region. 0bama won’t actually do that, though.

The Dean on December 16, 2009 at 4:45 PM

hawksruleva ,

It’s not a war. We already have rules of engagement for Afghanistan that tells troops to let the Taliban go if civilians get in the way.

We haven’t declared war either. We’re trying to build a Democracy for the corrupt hamid karzai.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:47 PM

We haven’t declared war either.

Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Of course we have.

exception on December 16, 2009 at 4:51 PM

I support the president 100% on this, as long as it’s a lie.

exception on December 16, 2009 at 4:52 PM

And if they had, I don’t think belonging to a group means you’re automatically guilty of a crime anyway.
Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh welllllllllllllll ahhhhhhhhhhh since 1970 it does.

Ever hear of the RICO Act?

If you belong to a criminal group/organization that commits crimes you are just as guilty of those crimes as the individual committing them.

DSchoen on December 16, 2009 at 4:59 PM

The last thing a first-term president needs is a CIA leak down the road about how he once had a shot at Osama but was too gun-shy to pull the trigger.

AHHH–who would print that news?

chickasaw42 on December 16, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Not long after God took office, there was a drone strike in Pakistan and the Libtards on ABC News dot com were going on about how wrong we were about Him not wanting to actually wage war against the Muslim terrorists.

Of course, if this is true, they’ll hail this as A+ diplomacy and outstanding work in the field of human compassion worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. If not then he’ll get an A+ for trying to kill no good terrorists and bring about World Peace.

Yes, they can indeed have it both ways. Kind of the way a walnut is in a nutcracker we are. Up is down, and lies are truth.

Dr. ZhivBlago on December 16, 2009 at 5:06 PM

mojo on December 16, 2009 at 3:39 PM

No guarantees with carpet bombing. You might get more bang for the buck with a fuel-air bomb.

chemman on December 16, 2009 at 5:11 PM

Ever hear of the RICO Act?

If you belong to a criminal group/organization that commits crimes you are just as guilty of those crimes as the individual committing them.

DSchoen on December 16, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Can we declare the concept of innocent until proven guilty dead and buried already?

All it boils down to in court now is which side can pull enough legal shenanigans to stack the deck in its favor and put on a better show of BS for the collection of uninterested citizens who didn’t manage to weasel out of their notices to serve.

Dark-Star on December 16, 2009 at 5:15 PM

Believe it is actually do to some new anti-terror laws.
That’s mainly a problem because we need a more liberal view of free-speech though in the courts.
Spathi on December 16, 2009 at 4:18 PM

It’s not a “new” anti-terror law.
It’s the Anti-Terror law 1996 Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, (AKA AEDPA)

http://www.boogieonline.com/revolution/legal/police/terror95.html

Presidential powers expanded.
The President can label organizations — without any appeal or review — as “terrorist”, and criminalize fundraising for humanitarian aid even remotely related to such groups.

Punishment for lawful actions.
Permanent resident aliens can be deported or indefinitely jailed for their affiliations or political activity, with no judicial review.

Seriously Spathi , do you have a clue what your talking about?

You don’t know about RICO circa 1970

You don’t know about Anti-Terror law 1996

DSchoen on December 16, 2009 at 5:22 PM

Obama is working with ‘a corrupt regime’? Who’d a thought that possible?

GarandFan on December 16, 2009 at 5:46 PM

And I’ll bet that Ogabe has told the CIA they can only hit these terrorists if they are alone in the bathroom.

Cybergeezer on December 16, 2009 at 5:47 PM

Exit question: What’s a B+ pragmatist to do?

Dither about it for a few months. Go back on Letterman. Maybe have a New Year’s Oprah special.

scalleywag on December 16, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Report: Obama opposes drone strikes on Taliban leaders in cities

Question to Hussain :
Do you oppose drone strikes on AlQaeda too, or your opposition is only in cases of taliban leadership ?
And why ?

Report: Obama opposes drone strikes on Taliban leaders in cities

Question to Hussain :
What cities are these ? Peshawar, Quetta, Lahore etc. or Londonistan, Dearboristan ,Patterson etc.?

macncheez on December 16, 2009 at 5:52 PM

Report: Obama opposes drone strikes on Taliban leaders in cities

Of course he does, they work.
He’s acting like a big cry baby because
nothing else is going his way.

elderberry on December 16, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Obama opposes drone strikes on Taliban leaders in cities

If he told his relatives to move, it would be an easier call.

Hiya Ciska on December 16, 2009 at 6:50 PM

Hell no,lets not kill em,lets bring them all to Illmo… What an absolute disgrace this pansy a$$ is!!

build the wall on December 16, 2009 at 7:05 PM

So now they move to the cities …

Our dear reader bambam doesn’t think much does he.

tarpon on December 16, 2009 at 7:22 PM

Nope not shocked and I’ll bet the only reason he tolerated the rest of the constant drone strikes was because they were being conducted in the mountains and hard to hit terrain, and by allowing them to go on they of course provided cover for him. Maybe next he’ll send down an order to stop them all (under the guise you can never be certain its only the ‘bad guy’ getting whacked) together? Wouldn’t be stunned.

Sharr on December 16, 2009 at 7:40 PM

This dolt could not make a bigger fool of himself if he greeted foreign dignitaries wearing a pink tutu and curtsied to them.He is an embarrassment to us all and has made the United States the laughing stock of the world. It is even now being speculat4ed that the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan is largely due to plummeting US military morale since Obama took charge (and the Navy Seals catastrophe is certain to drop it further still.)

To those people who voted for Obama (54% of you)the only pleasure I can get is that when I go down the tubes so will all of you.And all because you thought it was “noble” to vote for an African American president, ignoring his socialistic background, his nihilistic philosophy, his total lack of executive experience, his crime-ridden Chicago community organizing upbringing and his communistic Ivy League professor friends (who are now calling the shots.) Obama’s shame is also your shame for electing him.

MaiDee on December 16, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Ironic that drones voted for this fraud. His name is/was Barack, Barry, Soetoro, Obama, Hussein? Mmmm.Mmmm.Mmmm.

BHO Jonestown on December 16, 2009 at 10:24 PM

I know one drone I would like to send to Pakistan.

crosspatch on December 16, 2009 at 10:56 PM

I am only in favor of drone strikes that kill the enemy. You can run but you’ll just die tired.

Mojave Mark on December 17, 2009 at 12:25 AM

Collateral damage from pinpoint bomb against enemy fighters is unacceptable.

Collateral damage from liberal policies carpetbombing capitalist economy is chickens coming home to roost.

chaswv on December 17, 2009 at 9:08 AM