From Media Matters for America -- May 2, 2011:
"This Is Crazy": The Right's Mocking Attacks On Obama's 2007 Pakistan Policy
In the wake of Osama Bin Laden's death, the media are revisiting President Obama's 2007 speech promising to take action against terrorists in Pakistan. At the time, the conservative media attacked Obama's policy as "crazy" and "frightening."
In 2007 Speech, Obama Promised To Pursue Terrorists In Pakistan
Obama: "If We Have Actionable Intelligence About High-Value Terrorist Targets And President Musharraf Won't Act, We Will." On August 1, 2007, then-presidential candidate Obama delivered a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center outlining his foreign policy positions:
As President, I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.
I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will. [Barack Obama, 8/1/2007]
NY Times: Operation Has "Echoes Of 2007 Obama Speech"
NY Times: Obama's Comment Was "Eerily Prescient." From a May 2 post at the NY Times' Caucus blog:
In a speech almost 18 months before he assumed the presidency, Barack Obama issued a blunt warning to President Pervez Musharaff of Pakistan: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
The line was eerily prescient, as it turned out. In his late-night statement on Sunday announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama said that the United States had acted inside Pakistan to capture or kill the Al Qaeda leader on just that kind of actionable intelligence.
"Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan," Mr. Obama said. "A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body." [NYTimes.com, 5/2/2011]
Right-Wing Media Attacked, Mocked Obama's 2007 Pakistan Remarks
Rush Limbaugh: Obama And Bin Laden "On The Same Page." From the September 20, 2007, edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: 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." And let's go back to August 1st: "U-Bama" gave a speech on counterterrorism, and here's a portion of what he said.
OBAMA [audio clip]: If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will.
LIMBAUGH: All right, so, we're going to attack Pakistan. Poor Musharraf's going to get it on both ends if Barack's elected. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/20/2007]
Sean Hannity: Obama Could "Potentially Create A Theocracy With Nuclear Weapons." Fox News' Sean Hannity repeatedly attacked Obama's Pakistan remarks:
Hannity claimed Obama said "he would bomb an ally, General Musharraf in Pakistan," and suggested that Obama remarks "say that Barack Obama is not qualified to be president of the United States." [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 8/14/2007]
Hannity claimed Obama said he would "maybe invade an ally like Pakistan and potentially create a theocracy with nuclear weapons," and described Obama's position as "frightening." Hannity's assessment was met with agreement by former Bush aide Karl Rove, who said: "[T]his goes back to the inexperience that he has. Remember, he -- you're right about Pakistan. We've talked briefly about what he said with regard to the rogue state." [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 5/12/2008]
Hannity claimed that "if there's anybody confused in this race, it's the former community organizer who can't decide on dividing Jerusalem, invading Pakistan, or meeting with Ahmadinejad without preconditions." [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 7/16/2008]