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OpEd by Sen. Kerry in the Washington Times: Pakistan

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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:50 AM
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OpEd by Sen. Kerry in the Washington Times: Pakistan

KERRY: Pakistan needs our support
U.S., regional security depends on it

John Kerry
Friday, January 23, 2009


As America's second post-9/11 President takes office, a single country has become ground zero for the terrorist threat we face. The consensus among our intelligence agencies is that top Al Qaeda leaders are plotting their next attack from Pakistan, where the prevalence of religious extremists and nuclear weapons make that country the central, crucial front in our struggle to protect America from terrorism. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has called the border region the "site of planning for the next attack" on the United States.

Pakistan is under enormous pressure from all sides, from tensions with India to a ferocious insurgency in the tribal belt to a financial crisis that threatens the solvency of the Pakistani state. And all of this is being held together by a fledgling civilian government not even a year old. For our sake and theirs, America must do more to help Pakistan.

Crucial to this effort will be finding a winning regional strategy that recognizes the centrality of Pakistan's relationships with neighbors such as Afghanistan and India.

It has become conventional wisdom that the war in Afghanistan can be lost in Pakistan, whose tribal belt offers a sanctuary from which Taliban insurgents launch cross-border raids against us and our Afghan allies. What is often overlooked, however, is that the opposite is true as well: Violent instability in Afghanistan can undercut essential counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan.

More at the Washington Times site.

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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:01 AM
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1. Pres Obama orders drone strikes against Pakistan
From the Washington Post today. (Okay, homework again, compare and contrast the above article from Sen. Kerry with this action from Pres. Obama. What is going on here and what can be reasonably inferred.)

2 U.S. Airstrikes Offer a Concrete Sign of Obama's Pakistan Policy

By R. Jeffrey Smith, Candace Rondeaux and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 24, 2009; Page A01

Two remote U.S. missile strikes that killed at least 20 people at suspected terrorist hideouts in northwestern Pakistan yesterday offered the first tangible sign of President Obama's commitment to sustained military pressure on the terrorist groups there, even though Pakistanis broadly oppose such unilateral U.S. actions.

The shaky Pakistani government of Asif Ali Zardari has expressed hopes for warm relations with Obama, but members of Obama's new national security team have already telegraphed their intention to make firmer demands of Islamabad than the Bush administration, and to back up those demands with a threatened curtailment of the plentiful military aid that has been at the heart of U.S.-Pakistani ties for the past three decades.

The separate strikes on two compounds, coming three hours apart and involving five missiles fired from Afghanistan-based Predator drone aircraft, were the first high-profile hostile military actions taken under Obama's four-day-old presidency. A Pakistani security official said in Islamabad that the strikes appeared to have killed at least 10 insurgents, including five foreign nationals and possibly even "a high-value target" such as a senior al-Qaeda or Taliban official.

It remained unclear yesterday whether Obama personally authorized the strike or was involved in its final planning, but military officials have previously said the White House is routinely briefed about such attacks in advance.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:02 PM
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2. Okay - his my attempt
Obama is responding to the facts on the ground, while Kerry is suggesting the support and help that could be possible from us if they were to start taking the hard steps. Sometimes in the midst of chaos and great difficulty, it can be tough to see that it doesn't have to be as it is and to develop a better possibility.

I am disappointed that Obama used drones as the use has led to many attacks that might have been cancelled if they were people and observation was possible. I thought that Obama was against that - but even if I am right, I realize that time may be needed for transitions in policies or he may have changed his mind after learning the alternatives. It does sound like the Pakistanis agree that they actually hit insurgents.
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