USA Today editorial revived false claim that Obama "said he'd invade" Pakistan

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

A USA Today editorial falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "provoked needless controversy in Pakistan when he said he'd invade to chase terrorists if the Pakistanis did not." In fact, Obama did not say he would "invade" Pakistan; rather, he said, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."

A January 28 USA Today editorial that purported to list Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's (IL) "rookie mistakes on the campaign trail" concerning "international affairs" falsely claimed that Obama "provoked needless controversy in Pakistan when he said he'd invade to chase terrorists if the Pakistanis did not." In fact, Obama did not say he would "invade" Pakistan. Rather, during an August 1, 2007, foreign policy speech, he said, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." Obama subsequently noted that he "never called for an invasion of Pakistan."

Moreover, in an August 7, 2007, blog entry, ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper reported that he had emailed ABC News national security analyst Anthony H. Cordesman to determine whether "the media (and I) overstate[d] the case by using the term 'invade' " in their reports about Obama's statement. Tapper wrote that Cordesman "told me that Obama is correct, what he's talking about militarily would not be considered an invasion."

From the January 28 USA Today editorial, titled "Obama's rhetoric soars, but what does his record suggest?":

On international affairs, while in Illinois, Obama wisely opposed the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. But he has very little foreign policy experience, and rookie mistakes on the campaign trail suggest a potentially risky lack of sophistication at a time when that's indispensable. He seemed naive when he implied he'd meet with hostile foreign leaders without preconditions. He provoked needless controversy in Pakistan when he said he'd invade to chase terrorists if the Pakistanis did not. And he fumbled a question about whether it would be right to use nuclear weapons in Afghanistan or Pakistan, suggesting he didn't understand the subtle way in which presidents have to maintain ambiguity about nuclear warfare, no matter their real intentions.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
USA Today
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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