On Fox News' America's Election HQ, Ralph Peters falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama has said that the United States "should send ground troops into Pakistan" and "invade the country through which we get our supplies." In fact, Obama did not say he would "invade" Pakistan; rather, he stated: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."
During the July 15 edition of Fox News' America's Election HQ, columnist Ralph Peters, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama has said that the United States "should send ground troops into Pakistan" and "invade the country through which we get our supplies." In fact, Obama has not said he would "invade" Pakistan. Rather, in his July 15 foreign policy speech Obama said: "We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps, and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like [Osama] bin Laden if we have them in our sights." Also, during an August 1, 2007, foreign policy speech, Obama stated: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." Obama made any actions conditional, not definite, and he subsequently noted that he "never called for an invasion of Pakistan."
Earlier in the Fox News segment, Peters also falsely asserted that Obama "call[ed] for" an "immediate withdrawal" from Iraq, but "now it's a 16-month timetable." In fact, Obama has long advocated withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in a process that could last 16 months. As Media Matters documented, in his September 12, 2007, speech in Clinton, Iowa, Obama called for a withdrawal of "one or two brigades each month" bringing all troops "out of Iraq by the end of next year."
From Obama's September 12, 2007, speech:
OBAMA: Let me be clear: there is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was. The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq's leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year -- now.
We should enter into talks with the Iraqi government to discuss the process of our drawdown. We must get out strategically and carefully, removing troops from secure areas first, and keeping troops in more volatile areas until later. But our drawdown should proceed at a steady pace of one or two brigades each month. If we start now, all of our combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the end of next year.
Obama repeated these comments in an October 12, 2007, speech in Des Moines, Iowa, saying, "I have a plan to remove one or two combat brigades a month so that we get all of our combat troops out of Iraq within 16 months."
Also, at a March 31 campaign event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Obama outlined a 16-month time frame for withdrawal. From Obama's comments at the event (accessed via the Nexis database):
I was opposed to this war in 2002. I will bring this war to an end in 2009.
We will do it carefully. We won't do it precipitously. We're going to have one to two brigades out per month. At that pace, it will take us about 16 months to get out.
Now, anybody who says that's a rush, you have to remember we've been in Iraq longer than World War I, World War II or the Civil War. Two years from now, that will have been seven years. This thing was supposed to take six months and cost us $50 billion.
From the July 15 edition of Fox News' America's Election HQ:
HEATHER NAUERT (host): Let me ask you today -- Barack Obama gave a more -- major foreign policy speech. John McCain responded. But one of the things that Obama said today is that, basically, U.S. interests were hurt by the surge in Iraq. What do you think of that?
PETERS: I think that is absolutely nuts, and it betrays both the panic that's starting to set in, in the Obama camp, on military affairs and foreign policy because Iraq's going so well, and it also betrays his utter naiveté. But --
NAUERT: So, you think, because things are going pretty well in Iraq, he's saying, "Uh-oh, we've got to have something else to focus on and things aren't going as well in Afghanistan. So, now let's focus on that, say we took our eye off the ball."
PETERS: Yeah, well, certainly, in his calls for, you know, immediate withdrawal -- and now it's a 16-month timetable -- Barack Obama believes in Barack Obama. He doesn't want to be the guy that turned Iraq -- Iraq around the other way and led us into defeat. So, if he is elected, he'll do whatever it takes. He's not going to pull the troops out of Iraq.
But right now, he can't play the Iraq card, so he's trying very hard to play the Afghanistan card. And frankly, what he's saying about Afghanistan and Pakistan is loonier than anything he's said about Iraq. For instance, the idea that we should send ground troops into Pakistan -- look, our troops only get their supplies, their water, their food, their gasoline, their bullets, their spare parts through Pakistan. So, we're going to invade the country through which we get our supplies -- that means the routes closed. We can't resupply them --
NAUERT: Yeah. Well --
PETERS: -- by air, and you're forcing the Pakistani military to fight us. This is crazy.
NAUERT: A lot of messy issues involved in this one. And Colonel Peters, we're going to have to have you back to talk more about Pakistan and that whole issue there. We appreciate your joining us.
PETERS: My pleasure.
NAUERT: Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, have a good evening.