In interview with Musharraf, Blitzer again ignored Bush's conflicting statements on Pakistani sovereignty

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

On The Situation Room, during an interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Wolf Blitzer once again touted his September 20 interview with President Bush but ignored Bush's contradictory statements that he would "[a]bsolutely" order U.S. troops into Pakistan to pursue Osama bin Laden and that the United States would have to be "invited" into the country if bin Laden were found to be there, because Pakistan is a "sovereign nation."

In an interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on the September 26 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer continued to tout his September 20 interview with President Bush, during which Blitzer failed to challenge Bush on the contradiction between Bush's assertion during the interview that he would "[a]bsolutely" order U.S. forces into Pakistan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden if intelligence revealed that he was there, and his assertion at a September 15 press conference that the United States would have to be "invited" into Pakistan to pursue bin Laden, because Pakistan is a "sovereign nation." In ignoring the contradiction, Blitzer passed up an opportunity to learn how Musharraf interprets Bush's mixed messages on an issue of presumably great importance to Musharraf. Instead, Blitzer simply told Musharraf that Bush used "[v]ery blunt words" in stating that "if they knew where bin Laden was in Pakistan," Bush would order U.S. troops into Pakistan "[i]rrespective of your sovereignty."

From the September 26 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: I want you to listen to this exchange I had with President Bush in New York last week on the hunt for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda leaders. Listen to this.

[begin video clip]

BLITZER: If you had good actionable intelligence in Pakistan -- where they were -- would you give the order to kill them or capture them?

BUSH: Absolutely.

BLIZTER: And go into Pakistan?

BUSH Absolutely.

BLITZER: Even though the Pakistanis say that's their sovereign territory?

BUSH: Absolutely. We would -- we would take the action necessary to bring them to justice.

[end video clip]

BLITZER: Very blunt words from President Bush. Irrespective of your sovereignty, if they knew where bin Laden was in Pakistan, they would go in there.

MUSHARRAF: Well, my comments are -- I have been giving my comments that this is a sensitive area of -- and our decision is that we operate on our side of the border and U.S. forces and allies operate on the other side.

Now, having said that, we are hunting Osama and [Ayman al-] Zawahiri together. We are on the hunt; we are on the lookout for him. When we locate him, we have to take action; we have to take effective action to do away with him. Now --

BLITZER: What would be wrong if the United States tried to capture or kill bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri, his number two, in Pakistan?

MUSHARRAF: Well, it is a very sensitive issue. We should not be discussing how and who is to deliver the blow, but, whenever we locate him, we have to deal with him. And let's leave it at that and let's not get into the sensitivities and who and how it will be done.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
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