Did Obama's Unilateral Strike Policy in Pakistan Already Exist?

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In summary, some months ago, Obama stated that as President, he would strike terrorists in Pakistan without getting Pakistan's permission if they refused to act on actionable intelligence. This statement caused controversy and was misinterpreted by then-President Bush as an intention to invade Pakistan. However, it turns out that the US has been conducting unilateral strikes in Pakistan with the assistance of sympathizers within the country, and has a base there that allows for launches without government permission. This suggests that there may already be some agreement between the US and Pakistan, as seen by the muted response from Pakistani leaders. This contradicts the initial interpretation of Obama's statement and shows that there may be more going on behind the scenes than what is publicly known.
  • #1
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Some months ago Obama stated that he would, as President, strike terrorists in Pakistan without getting Pakistan's permission.

Obama: "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. ... If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."


He took a lot of flak for that position. In fact, his words were misinterpreted (by GWB, no less) as an intention to invade Pakistan.

Bush: "I certainly don't know what he believes in. The only foreign policy thing I remember he said was he's going to attack Pakistan and embrace Ahmadinejad, which — I think I commented that in a press conference when I was asked about it."


Turns out, we've been doing unilateral strikes into Pakistan all along.

Officials say the incident was a model of how Washington often scores its rare victories these days in the fight against al-Qaeda inside Pakistan's national borders: It acts with assistance from well-paid sympathizers inside the country, but without getting the government's formal permission beforehand.


This sounds EXACTLY like what Obama said he would do as President!
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  • #2
There should be no safe haven for terrorists, so long as America understands that ,and would not mind if a terrorist was assassinated by another country on its soil, then there should be no problem.

I sure would not have minded if any government assassinated an IRA terrorist were he ever he/she was.
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  • #3
What do you think this means:
With all signs pointing to a unique target, CIA officials ordered the launch of a pilotless MQ-1B Predator aircraft, one of three kept at a secret base that the Pakistani government has allowed to be stationed inside the country. Launches from that base do not require government permission, officials said.

Perhaps the CIA has been granted permission to perform some operations within Pakistan borders? Why else allow a base for these weapons to be established? Has the Pakistan Government condemned the attack? It has been three weeks now since the attack.

What does Pakistan say about it?
  • #4
From the same source,

"Publicly, reaction to the strike among U.S. and Pakistani leaders has been muted, with neither side appearing eager to call attention to an awkward, albeit successful, unilateral U.S. military operation. Some Pakistani government spokesmen have even questioned whether the terrorist leader was killed."

I'm not surprised to learn that there are cloak-and-dagger operations going on in that part of the world. You know, and I know, there's a whole lot more going on beneath the surface, things that we might only find out about when we're very old, if ever.

My point is the MSP widely misinterpreted Obama's statements, and even ridiculed him for being naive.
  • #5
lisab said:
My point is the MSP widely misinterpreted Obama's statements, and even ridiculed him for being naive.

But my point was that we don't know that some form of agreement already exists between Pakistan and the US at this time. They have authorized the establishment of bases to launch these types of missions, after all. That is very different than what Obama suggested last August. He suggested that if we approached Musharraf with actionable intelligence and he refused to act that we would.
If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."
That is clearly an adversarial condition. Nothing is publicly known about the Pakistan government's acquiescence in this matter by blanket authority granted to the US (as suggested by the placement of the airfield on Pakistan soil). Pakistan's muted response actually reinforces the notion that some agreement already exists.

What is a unilateral strike in Pakistan?

A unilateral strike in Pakistan refers to a military operation carried out by one country without the consent or cooperation of the Pakistani government. It is often used as a tactic to target terrorist groups or individuals within Pakistan's borders.

Why is the United States often associated with unilateral strikes in Pakistan?

The United States has been known to carry out unilateral strikes in Pakistan due to its ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and protect national security. Pakistan is considered a key location for terrorist activity, making it a target for US military operations.

What are the potential consequences of a unilateral strike in Pakistan?

The consequences of a unilateral strike in Pakistan can vary depending on the specific circumstances and targets of the operation. However, it can potentially lead to diplomatic tensions between the countries involved, civilian casualties, and backlash from the Pakistani government and its citizens.

How does international law view unilateral strikes in Pakistan?

International law does not explicitly prohibit or condone unilateral strikes in Pakistan. However, it does require countries to respect the sovereignty of other nations and to only use force in self-defense or with the approval of the United Nations Security Council. Unilateral strikes may be considered a violation of this principle.

What are some alternative strategies to unilateral strikes in Pakistan?

Some alternative strategies to unilateral strikes in Pakistan include diplomatic negotiations, targeted sanctions, and providing support and resources to the Pakistani government to combat terrorism. These approaches may be more effective in the long-term and can help improve relationships between countries.

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