Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama Continues UAV Airstrike Policy

He talked tough on the campaign trail, saying that he would attack targets in Pakistan, risking war with a nominal ally in the war on terror.

He's been busy in just the first three days of his Administration. Two airstrikes have killed at least 17 people (AP reports 18), and at least five are believed to be foreign fighters, which is to say al Qaeda.

So, while he's on the one hand claiming that he wants to bring about improved relations with the rest of the world and particularly the Arab/Muslim world, he's busy bombing the terrorists who are busy plotting against the US. Where exactly does he expect new intel to come from going forward if his policies thwart detaining such terrorists or open up the courts to lawfare on behalf of jihadis whose intent is to cause murder and mayhem around the world?

At the minimum, Obama isn't exactly going to bring about improved relations with Pakistan (population 172 million, 97% of whom are Muslim) if he continues bombing al Qaeda and Taliban there, not that I find anything wrong with going after al Qaeda wherever they are located. Taking that option off the table would further enable al Qaeda to plot and carry out attacks against the US and our interests worldwide.

This once again highlights the difficulty of saying one thing on the campaign trail, and realizing that national security requires something else entirely. Obama isn't president of the world, despite the press, but is responsible for protecting the United States from further terror attacks. Carrying out those airstrikes are vital to ensuring that al Qaeda cannot plot further attacks and are necessary to disrupting al Qaeda operations from a safe haven - even one that is nominally under control of an ally.

Ed Morrissey also wonders where Obama stands on hot pursuit of al Qaeda into Pakistan, covert attacks on al Qaeda all over the world, and other related operations. President Bush backtracked on raids into Pakistan, but maintained covert ops elsewhere. At the same time, the Left is already trying to find nonmilitary solutions for Afghanistan.

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