Friday, January 23, 2009

Things blow up

"Something", well, two things, blew up in Pakistan today and it seems like it was a UAV launched missile attack. President Obama seems to be going after al Qeada on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. I would say he is going after bin Laden, but you can't kill someone who is already dead.

I think bin Laden has left us for the hereafter. With most al Qeada tapes, you get fairly new video footage and speeches. With bin Laden, you get recycled footage of him walking around some rocks while someone claiming to be him does a voice over. And in some cases, the voice over is just speaking in generalities, they rarely mention Obama by name or talk about specific current events.

Bin Laden is either dead (my guess) or in really bad shape. I think he died in such a way that no one will ever be sure (for example he died in a cave collapse thanks to a bunker buster). He is just a few wisps of DNA under 100,000 tons of rock.

It was never really about him, and it was a mistake to make it about him.

Anyway, I have looked around at some of the left side blogs to see how this is playing. For the most part, it has been seen positively.

The Huffington Post for a while had this as their main news item with the headline:


The site had a split picture, President Obama on one side wagging his finger and looking all stern and serious and Islamic Rage Boy's idiot Pakistani cousin on the other side acting all, well, full of rage (other than soccer balls and rage, does Pakistan actually produce anything?). I tried wadding through the comments to see how this was playing to HP's fans, but it is useless. I think 3/4s of the commenters there are trolls (of both left and right).

In any event, I understand why it is being done. When Bush was president I was uneasy about these attacks in Pakistan. That country is barely a country and I worry that these attacks might take down the government and lead to anarchy. By the same token, Waziristan is where the bad guys are, and the Pakistani government barley has any authority there.

I also believe that these attacks take place with a wink and a nod from the Pakistani government. They get to act all enraged to placate domestic audiences while getting rid of bad guys.

On Taylor Marsh's site one of the commenters wonders if President Obama knew about this before hand, or if this was simply a carryover of Bush's ROE. I can understand why some on the left would feel angry at these attacks continuing (though, from my quick view, it is positive, including from Marsh herself).

It is hard to believe now, but back in 2000, Bush promised a "more humble" foreign policy and I remember being annoyed that a day or so after his inauguration, the Air Force bombed some site in Iraq. I remember thinking that it must have been simply a continuation of Clinton's ROE and that Bush knew nothing of it beforehand (ah, those innocent days!) and that he would change the ROE.*

By the same token, this is the policy that President Obama said he would pursue.

Now you see why I pray for the president? Who would want this job?

* Yes -- to preempt the comments, I supported the invasion of Iraq, I supported the surge and I hope that our troops can now leave Iraq, and that Iraq will be mostly stable and most democratic. If you asked me at 8:58 a.m. on September 11, 2001 what my thoughts on Iraq were, I would have said end US enforcement of the no fly zone and come up with a sanction regime that allowed Iraq to buy and sell everything except weapon programs. 9/11 temporarily stopped the drift toward non-interventionism that I started around 1992.

1 comment:

Rodak said...

Innocent non-combatants, including children, killed while hunting al-Qaeda, or Taliban, in Afghanistan under a Democrat Commander-in-Chief are in no way more acceptable than innocent non-combatants, including children, killed under a Republican president in Iraq.
Obama had better wake up, and quickly, if he wants to extend his so-called "honeymoon period."