There is some reason to believe that the coming Obama presidency will be much more hawkish than many people have anticipated. To step back in time for a moment, let us recall Obama’s controversial remarks back in August of 2007 during the heated primary elections. In regards to Pakistan, then Senator Obama had this to say: “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”
Naturally, this created much stir and spin through the hub-bub of the election cycle; name calling and clarification ensued. But as usual, the spin obscured the essence of the reality. It seems, in fact, that the Bush administration, as if Obama’s comments somehow reminded them of their earlier delusions of grandeur, responded to Obama’s comments by implementing them. These comments from investigative reporter Robert Dreyfuss illustrate my point:
In both of these cases, [referring to attacks on Pakistan and Syria] they seem to be the logical expression of a decision that was made over the summer by the President, allowing US Special Operations Forces to conduct these cross-border or hot-pursuit raids into countries—in Pakistan’s case, an ally, and in Syria’s case, an adversary, I guess—to conduct these cross-border raids against people who the United States decided that it didn’t like, based on intelligence. We have, you know, extremely aggressive intelligence
methods and surveillance and drone aircraft and everything else that watch these people, sometimes for hours or days at a time. And it, in turn, raises the question now of whether the United States might consider similar raids into Iran, which is in—over the past two years, has been increasingly blamed by the United States for supporting militant activity by especially Shiites in Iraq, based in training camps and transit facilities and so forth, both outside Tehran and along the Iran-Iraq border.
I describe this as kind of a parallel doctrine to the Bush Doctrine, where you had earlier the Bush Doctrine that said we can conduct preventive military action against countries that, you know, we perceive to be possibly threatening. In this case now, we’re conducting Special Forces or commando attacks against bases or facilities in countries that we think are harboring people who are conducting attacks on American or allied forces. This is a very, very, very troubling thing. If you go back to the origins, the beginning of the so-called war on terrorism, this is what it was supposed to look like.
Bush, it seems, is setting a dangerous precedent and playing a deadly game in the process. By anticipating Obama’s proclivities to engage in violent violations of national sovereignty, the Bush administration will now pass on a bad habit that will be extremely difficult for Obama to break. And this as Pakistan’s government is practically begging the US military to end missile strikes in Northwest Pakistan.