WASHINGTON — President Bush secretly approved orders in July that for the first time allow American Special Operations forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government, according to senior American officials.
The classified orders signal a watershed for the Bush administration after nearly seven years of trying to work with Pakistan to combat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and after months of high-level stalemate about how to challenge the militants’ increasingly secure base in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Barack Obama, August 1, 2007 (via Reuters):
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States must be willing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan, adopting a tough tone after a chief rival accused him of naivete in foreign policy.
Obama's stance comes amid debate in Washington over what to do about a resurgent al Qaeda and Taliban in areas of northwest Pakistan that President Pervez Musharraf has been unable to control, and concerns that new recruits are being trained there for a September 11-style attack against the United States.
Obama said if elected in November 2008 he would be willing to attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government, a move that would likely cause anxiety in the already troubled region.
"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said.
John McCain thought Obama's idea was "naive" at the time. Wonder what he thinks now?
For those of you keeping score, the Bush Administration is already quietly adopting Obama's foreign policy positions on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, and McCain has himself adopted Obama's position on Afghanistan after chiding him for it. This, then, makes the fifth time the Republicans have mocked Obama's foreign policy only to appropriate it as their own later. Or, as it was expressed 4 years ago, being against it before they were for it.
It's not a flip flop, however, because John McCain was a POW.