Wednesday, September 17, 2008

foreign policy judgment

I came across this item the other day:

Kissinger Backs Direct Talks 'Without Conditions' with Iran

September 15, 2008
Tahman Bradley-->ABC News' Rachel Martin Reports: Former U.S.Secretary of State Henry Kissinger today told an audience in Washington, DC that the U.S. should negotiate with Iran "without conditions" and that the next President should begin such negotiations at a high level.

The former Nixon and Ford U.S. Secretary of State early in the year indicated his
belief that the U.S.
should hold direct talks with Iran when speaking to Bloomberg Television.

Kissinger spoke at a CNN sponsored forum at George Washington University along with other former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker III, Warren Christopher and Colin Powell. The leaders were asked to pinpoint the major challenges the next president will face around the world and to offer advice about how to handle those critical issues. The secretaries named the fight against terrorism, restoring America's reputation abroad , re-building the country's economic power, and global climate change as a top priority.

Remember when McCain and all the other hyenas on the right were howling about how “na├»ve” and “dangerously inexperienced” Obama was for suggesting he would be willing to hold high-level talks with Iran without precondition? Let me know if you have heard McCain attacking his old buddy Kissinger on this point.

And remember when Obama
said this last year:

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.

McCain and the entire right-wing noise machine
attacked Obama for that statement:

McCain zeroed in on a speech by Obama in August in which he said he would be prepared to strike Al-Qaeda on Pakistani territory if Islamabad would not respond to actionable intelligence.

"Well, the best idea is to not broadcast what you're going to do. That's naive," McCain told reporters in Columbus, Ohio.

"You don't broadcast that you are going to bomb a country that is a sovereign nation and that you are dependent on ... in the struggle against (the) Taliban and the sanctuaries which they hold."

On Tuesday, McCain warned America could not afford the "confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally Pakistan" and suggested talks without preconditions with US foes.

Now, lo and behold, the Bush administration is now doing
exactly what Obama said he would do (indeed, going even further):
A secret order issued by George Bush giving US special forces carte blanche to mount counter-terrorist operations inside Pakistani territory raised fears last night that escalating conflict was spreading from Afghanistan to Pakistan and could ignite a region-wide war.

The unprecedented executive order, signed by Bush in July after an intense internal administration debate, comes amid western concern that the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and its al-Qaida backers based in "safe havens" in western Pakistan's tribal belt is being lost.

Following Bush's decision, US navy Seals commandos, backed by attack helicopters, launched a ground raid into Pakistan last week which the US claimed killed about two dozen insurgents. Pakistani officials condemned the raid as illegal and said most of the dead were civilians. US and Nato commanders are anxious to halt infiltration across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border of insurgents and weapons blamed for casualties among coalition troops. The killing of a US soldier in eastern Afghanistan yesterday brought American losses in 2008 to 112, the deadliest year since the 2001 intervention. The move is regarded as unprecedented in terms of sending troops into a friendly, allied country.

But another American objective is the capture of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader held responsible for organising the 9/11 attacks. He and his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are thought to be hiding in the tribal areas of north and south Waziristan.

Are you aware of McCain or any other Republicans condemning this new approach of … you know, actually going after the guys who attacked us on 9-11? If so, I haven’t heard it.

And, of course, there was McCain’s great judgment on Iraq:
Within a month [of 9-11, McCain] made clear his priority. “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: "Next up, Baghdad!"
Good call, John.

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