Flashback: The Right-Wing Attack On Obama's "Crazy," "Frightening" Pakistan Terrorism Policy
Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY
Osama bin Laden is dead.
According to the Washington Post, the "surgical" special forces operation that resulted in the terrorist leader's death was authorized by President Obama last Friday after months of intelligence gathering, and was carried out early Monday morning (local time) as a small force of elite American troops descended on Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. According to the Post, the U.S. "did not share any intelligence with foreign governments, including Pakistan's."
The operation was very similar to what then-candidate Obama said he would do in an August 1, 2007, speech: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets [in Pakistan] and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." At the time, however, Obama's position on Pakistan was attacked and mocked by right-wing commentators who claimed Obama had threatened to invade the country.
Rush Limbaugh said in September 2007: "Well, we've got another tape from -- I get these guys confused -- Usama bin Laden. Another tape says he's going to invade Pakistan and declare war on Pakistan and Musharraf, which, ladies and gentlemen, puts him on the same page with a Democrat presidential candidate -- that would be Barack 'Uss-Obama.' " Limbaugh added: "All right, so, we're going to attack Pakistan. Poor Musharraf's going to get it on both ends if Barack's elected."
Fox News' Sean Hannity and Karl Rove repeatedly attacked Obama's remarks, saying over and over that Obama said he would "invade" Pakistan. Hannity called Obama's statement "frightening" and Rove said it was indicative of "the inexperience that he has." Hannity even claimed Obama's Pakistan policy could "potentially create a theocracy with nuclear weapons."
Fox News analyst Ralph Peters called Obama's Pakistan position "loonier than anything he's said about Iraq," adding: "So, we're going to invade the country through which we get our supplies -- that means the routes closed. We can't resupply them by air, and you're forcing the Pakistani military to fight us. This is crazy." Fox News' John Gibson said on August 3, 2007: "Obama suggested we invade Pakistan, this week. He's a loser."
John Podhoretz wrote in the New York Post that Obama "basically promised that, as president, he would invade Pakistan," adding: "This country is never going to insert military forces to conduct a major campaign against al Qaeda inside Pakistan without the permission of that country's government." The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol wrote: "Barack Obama, losing ground to Hillary Clinton because he seemed naive about real world threats, frantically suggest[ed] that he would invade Pakistan."
So, with Bin Laden's death, Obama's Pakistan policy has essentially been vindicated. Should we expect these same right-wingers to revisit their off-base criticism and mockery? Probably not -- they're too busy crediting President Bush.