Andy Martin on “Obama the Conqueror”
not politically correct”
PART ONE OF A TWO-PART SERIES: “THE DEMOCRATS’ DELUSIONS ON FOREIGN POLICY (AND MAYBE SOME REPUBLICANS TOO)”
ANDY’S “BARRY O” FIRES A SLAP SHOT AT RIGHT-WING, LEFT-WING IN PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS
CAMPAIGNS MUST ADDRESS A COMING “SANCTUARY GAP”
OBAMA TOUCHES THE “THIRD RAIL OF FOREIGN POLICY” WITH SPEECH RAISING ISSUE OF PAKISTAN’S AL QAEDA SANCTUARIES
(CHICAGO)(August 2, 2007) I don’t often get to defend Barry Obama. My earlier columns this year have done a pioneering job of exposing his prevarications and evasions. But this one’s for Barack. He has managed to fire a slap shot at both the Democrats and Republicans with his foreign policy speech yesterday.
First, the obvious background for those who do not wait breathlessly for Anderson Cooper and YouTube users to feed you foreign policy perspective. In the recent CNN/YouTube debate, Obama said he was prepared to meet with “bad” foreign leaders without any preconditions. Hillary Clinton called that “irresponsible and naïve.” Obama’s remarks were no more “irresponsible and naïve” than the eight years of the (Bill) Clinton White House.
Yesterday Obama said he would use “actionable intelligence” to take action against Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas if Pakistani authorities refuse to pursue terrorist sanctuaries. Well, what’s controversial about that?
At ContrarianCommentary.com we prize our reputation for independence and integrity (and foreign policy insight and expertise). And so while we do not hesitate to trash Barry O for his personal nonsense, we will salute him for touching the third rail of foreign policy: What to do with Pakistan and the Al Qaeda sanctuaries? The New York Post is in a paroxysm today, [http://www.nypost.com/seven/08022007/news/nationalnews/obama__id_invade_ally_nationalnews_charles_hurt____________bureau_chief.htm] showing Obama in a Dukakis-like pose sticking his head out of a tank. “Barack the Conqueror” seems to be their subtext. A Post columnist calls Obama’s speech a “blunder.” The Post’s editorial page calls Obama’s remarks a “bomb.” So surely the left is celebrating?
Not on your life. The extreme left of the Democratic Party has also gone into a feeding frenzy. What? Obama? Basketball Barry? Pop and grandpop Muslims? Invade Pakistan? The Democratic Party’s also-ran presidential candidates have also attacked Obama for his remarks.
Muslims have not yet been heard from, but they will no doubt be squealing as loudly as Republicans and Democrats at Obama’s suggestion.
Obama is to be congratulated for exposing the nonsense in both parties.
His remarks expose the utter failure of the tough talking Republicans to get Osama Bin Laden “dead or alive” six (6!) years after he bombed New York. Bush has failed to expand our military and has starved the Afghanistan mission to ramp up U. S. Forces in Iraq. Bush has allowed “Busharraf” to play games with tens of billions of U. S. aid dollars, promising action but mainly delivering low-level Al Qaeda operatives, the Pakistani version of “round up the usual suspects.”
So, to be honest, President Bush has been a failure in coming up with an effective strategy to eliminate Al Qaeda. More critically, he lacks any policy to eliminate Al Qaeda’s sanctuaries in the “tribal areas” of Pakistan.
The issue of what to do with Al Qaeda’s sanctuaries will be the foreign policy issue in the presidential campaign. Obama has put that question on the table. Neither party has a meaningful response. Ladies and gentlemen: what are you going to do about the “Sanctuary Gap.” Unlike the imaginary “Missile Gap” in 1960, the absence of any proposal to deal with “the Pakistani problem” is a real issue in 2008.
The Republicans’ “see no evil” pretend policy will not work, because sooner or later Al Qaeda will strike again. And when it does the party-in-power will be condemned for allowing the sanctuaries t
But the Democrats “play dough” policy of pretending the sanctuaries are not a problem also offers no solution.
Obviously stung, both parties are trying to misrepresent what Obama said yesterday.
Obama did not say he would invade Pakistan with an army. The attempt to portray Barry’s suggestions as some sort of “Obama the Conqueror” plan is ridiculous. He made no such proposal. Generals make those types of decisions. Obama, ever the cautious-one, would allow generals to make tactical decisions. He said he would act on intelligence. In principle, that has been U. S. policy since Bill Clinton’s days. Where Obama went further is to direct that “action” at Pakistan’s tribal areas.
What is so sacred about an area of the world where no government exercises effective control, and where we have allowed sanctuaries to develop? Good question. How do we deal with Osama-in-the-mountains? Obama has asked the right question and given a respectable stock answer. Give chase to Osama, wherever he is found. With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, Bush & Co. have had six years to catch Osama and failed miserably at the task.
“We can’t find him” is not going to be an acceptable response in 2008 when the CIA says Al Qaeda is a growing threat, all managed from a mountain retreat somewhere in an “ungovernable” and “ungoverned” area of the world.
Republicans as well as Democrats will need to address the sanctuary issue. I had already identified that question of the sanctuaries as the principle foreign policy issue in my own campaign and commentary. The American people are going to want answers: why can’t we find him? Why can’t we catch him? Why do we allow the sanctuaries to exist when the CIA states they are a growing threat to America and the world?
Obama, of course, was desperate to find some way of responding to Hillary Clinton’s taunts. But desperate men sometimes tell the truth. There was Obama last night, cloyingly (same old Barry O) saying his speech had been in preparation “for a long time,” and was not a response to Hillary’s attack. But whatever his motives, Obama performed a useful service for the American people: he put the issue of Al Qaeda’s sanctuaries on the table. Both parties will have to come up with answers. To date, Obama is the only candidate with an honest approach.
Game ball to Obama. ContrarianCommentary.com will not “take sanctuary” in opposition when Obama makes an intelligent attempt to challenge the presidential campaign process with the issue in 2008. Desperate or not, Obama has triggered a very, very sensitive issue and confronted both parties with a problem they would both prefer to avoid. The Sanctuary Gap. Which is why the extreme elements in both parties are attacking him. Barry O has pricked their balloon.
We will now see the first true test of the man as a leader.
TOMORROW: THE DEMOCRATS’ DELUSION: PART TWO
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of ContrarianCommentary.com. © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. He is America’s most respected independent foreign policy analyst. Andy has been traveling to the Middle East and Asia since 1970. Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites: ContrarianCommentary.com; AndyforUSSenator.com.