Pakistan: parties in political drag

When we first blogged about the differences between McCain and Obama on Pakistan, we had no idea that this issue would grow to be a central issue in the debates. What’s funny about it is how it leads the candidate of each party to sound very much like he belongs to the other side.

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p>Doesn’t Obama sound like a Republican, with his insistence that US national security should take a precedence over the sovereignity of other countries?

And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden; we will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority. [Link]

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p>McCain, in his objection, is forced to sound like a Democrat, talking about soft power and how American arrogance can lead to more support for terrorism:

You know, if you are a country and you’re trying to gain the support of another country, then you want to do everything you can that they would act in a cooperative fashion. When you announce that you’re going to launch an attack into another country, it’s pretty obvious that you have the effect that it had in Pakistan: It turns public opinion against us. [Link]

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p>No wonder Palin got confused which position she was supposed to support:

“So we do cross border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan you think?,” Rovito asked. “If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin responded [Link]

What I don’t understand is why nobody has brought up the fact that events have overtaken both candidates. They’re acting like there is a debate over whether to respect Pakistani sovereignty when the US already regularly violates Pakistani airspace and has sent special forces in on the ground:

President Bush …okayed the use of U.S. ground assaults in Pakistan two months ago to hunt Taliban and Al Qaeda, including Osama Bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding out in the outlaw border region. [Link]

U.S. violations of Pakistani sovereignty have become routine. The most commonly employed tactic relies on missile-firing drones to patrol Pakistani airspace and attack suspected al-Qaida or Taliban militants. Yet there is also evidence of a growing willingness to put boots on the ground. On Sept. 3, in a widely reported incident, U.S. special operations troops raided a village in South Waziristan, leaving a dozen or more Pakistanis dead. [Link]

The candidates continue with their positions frozen at some point over the summer, with neither one of them raising this change in tactics, and the moderators ignoring it as well. This conspiracy of silence is quite bizarre.

When will somebody ask them what they think of current US policy in Pakistan, and whether these incursions are helping or hurting America’s GWOT? In particular, this question should be posed pointedly at McCain who has said that announcing that being open about a policy of cross-border attacks will undermine popular support in Pakistan and lead to a worse outcome. Senator McCain, is that what you see happening right now?

37 thoughts on “Pakistan: parties in political drag

  1. More reactions here and here. At least by implication, McCain does seem to allege that Obama’s position is close to the more aggressive approach taken by the Bush administration since the summer, which one might infer to mean that he doesn’t agree with it. The media has tended to characterize it that way, and your post implicitly seems to do the same. I’m actually not sure that’s correct — this Daily Times editorial hints at some of the differences in Obama’s approach while also noting the ways in which there may by and large end up being bipartisan consensus about Pakistan no matter who is elected. Still, you’re right that more direct questions to the candidates on what’s happening now could help a great deal to clarify their positions on the recent shifts in U.S. policy.

  2. I’ve noticed that some talking heads are putting words in Obama’s mouth. At the last debate, he said the US would act if Pakistan didn’t, and since he pronounces it correctly, I suppose he would first make sure that he could show that they had refused to act before activating an all out assault.

  3. My interpretation was that both ultimately agreed that the situation demanded that the US ultimately be able to enter Pakistan if required.

    the difference (to the extent there is one) is from 2 things

    1) how much energy do you spend telling Pakistan “there’s a problem over there, go take care of it” before we ultimately go in and take care of it ourselves? (presumably Obama would be the friendlier of the 2? Here, Mccain argues that if you put too much energy into the diplomacy, you risk “telegraphing your punches”)

    2) how much certainty do you need before we pull the trigger? (presumably Mccain would be on more of a hair trigger than either Obama or even W (W was criticized for relying on Mushie’s promises too much))

    My hunch is that this situation will always be murky because a large degree of strategic ambiguity actually helps the cause. As long as Pakistan can’t govern NWFP, its in our interest for the bad guys to not really know what sort of activity on their part will ultimately cross the threshold and prompt a US attack.

  4. it’s a wonder how differently the administrations, consistently, have one set of rules to apply on our soil, and another to apply outside of our borders. sovereignty seems to have no place in america anymore, unless it’s when US sovereignty is violated, or when it is being taught in a classroom. while i understand that there is an issue of national security sometimes, it becomes a slippery slope : 1. how do you prevent (or even dissuade) other countries from doing the same thing within US borders when they think their national security warrants invasion and 2. there is the danger, e.g. as was seen in iraq, that national security will be used as a ruse to further certain other agenda.

  5. Obama is hurting himself. He’s going to be very unpopular in the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan… vice versa for McCain… but the media is purely focusing on what the Europeans think. :/

    Americans are going to get a nasty surprize when they discover how unpopular their president is yet again (if obama is elected) and then they’ll call the rest of the world “ungrateful” :P talk about ignorance and arrogance. heh.

    there’s nothing we can do about it unfortunately… and I’m supporting obama just so that we don’t have a republican president shooting down good policies again.

  6. i can’t help but feel obama is playing to the right when he says these things (maybe this is really only what i want to believe). from a personal standpoint, his campaign has an underlying anti-muslim sentiment (which i realize is supposed to be anti-fundamenalist). i am a democrat, but when he talks about national security issues- Pakistan, Iran & especially Israel, i feel uneasy. at this point though, with zardari around, who knows what will happen. zardari wants the unconditional support of the U.S. but he can’t ignore the factions which oppose his presidency and affiliations. pakistan, though having a history of predictable chaos, has become way more erratic due in large part to the stake the U.S. has claimed in the NWFP; whoever is elected will absolutely need to cultivate a relationship of mutual understanding with the pakistani government.

  7. What I dont understand is why nobody has brought up the fact that events have overtaken both candidates. They âre acting like there is a debate over whether to respect Pakistani sovereignty when the US already regularly violates Pakistani airspace and has sent special forces in on the ground…..The candidates continue with their positions frozen at some point over the summer, with neither one of them raising this change in tactics, and the moderators ignoring it as well. This conspiracy of silence is quite bizarre

    The following dichotomy between the US-Pakistan policy is the reason for dichotomy that you hear in Obama & McCain’s statements - excerpt from newsweek article – Pakistan’s dangerous double game

    the U.S. and Pakistani military have reached a “more than tacit” understanding about the new U.S. tactics, in which the Pakistani side has agreed to allow “hot pursuit” operations by American troops, provided that Pakistani authorities are allowed to maintain complete “deniability.” That means the Pakistanis will be permitted to publicly criticize the United States for any such operations and assert, without fear of contradiction from Washington, that U.S. forces were acting without Pakistani approval
  8. Obama’s is the more sensible policy, and the one which the Bush administration seems to have adopted. As for whether that will make the U.S. more popular or less popular in the Muslim world. First, there is no “Muslim world”. The U.S. earned little thanks for its aiding of Muslim Indonesia after the tsunami, while Muslim nations did little to aid the world’s largest Muslim country in its time of need. Muslim nations have not tried to stabilize Pakistan, despite the increased violence on Pakistani soil. Finally, who do you think gets better treatment in the Middle East – an American, non-Muslim oil executive or a Muslim Pakistani brick-layer?

  9. Steve Coll recently wrote about the issues of Pak sovereignty and covert operations. Two excerpts:

    Previously, the United States carried out strikes inside Pakistani territory using aerial drones. Both Pakistani and American officials have told me that the Pakistani government has approved these attacks tacitly, and indeed, the intelligence collected in some cases may have involved joint covert operations. In public, the Pakistani government often denies its involvement, because the attacks are unpopular; in private, it approves them, in the hope that it will keep the United States off its back and perhaps throw the Taliban off balance.

    and

    On television shows and in the movies, we romanticize covert action of this kind as bold and daring, but military history suggests that it is usually of very limited strategic value. It is usually most effective, as it was during the Second World War, when it serves as a kind of extension or multiplier of a successful overt policy. This may have been the case, too, with the covert action arm of the “surge,” which Bob Woodward has highlighted in his recent book. But covert action fails, as at the Bay of Pigs, when frustrated and desperate Presidents seize on secret war as a substitute for a successful declared or open policy that also involves diplomacy, economic measures, and so forth. The problem with covert U.S. raids in the Pakistani tribal territories today is not that they are unjustified—the Taliban and Al Qaeda are vicious adversaries, and they pose what the national-security lawyers call a “clear and present danger” to the United States and to Pakistan. The problem is that in the attenuating months of the Bush Administration, covert policy has dominated U.S. policy, and often controlled it—and it obviously isn’t working.

    In other words, this entire argument is political fireworks, and a distraction from the real issues facing Pakistan and the US.

  10. First, there is no “Muslim world”. The U.S. earned little thanks for its aiding of Muslim Indonesia after the tsunami,..&.. Muslim nations have not tried to stabilize Pakistan, despite the increased violence on Pakistani soil.

    I’m not a big fan of the Islamic world. Even though I am not a fan of the Islamic world, I feel that we must consider the following for perspective/ balance.

    Pakistan has received more aid from Saudi Arabia than any country outside the Arab world since the 1960s (There are a lot more facts here that you will find interesting)

    The US did gain goodwill for its tsunami actions

    Conducted roughly a year after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the poll found that Indonesians “with a favorable opinion of the US” has nearly tripled in the past three years – something experts attribute to American reconstruction efforts in the hardest-hit Aceh Province.

    ??? (see here)

  11. I and my blogging partner noticed this around the time Palin made that comment.

    I actually don’t think McCain comes off sounding like a progressive candidate. The major difference, as I see it, is that McCain takes issue with Obama announcing the invasion. Watch this video. The problem isn’t violating a sovereign nation’s territory; the problem is announcing your intention beforehand. I suppose I basically agree with Vinod’s assessment.

    The fact of the matter is that there simply isn’t that much different between the candidates on the issues of foreign policy. There is simply no anti-war candidate from either the Democrats or the Republicans this round.

  12. Not just on this one, but even on other policies – e.g. the HOLC (buying up individual mortgages; see commentary here: )

    McCain’s playing to win the election in 2008; Obama’s playing to win the conservatives’ vote with conservative policies; he’s playing with a 2004 script.

    He (Obama) may still win, but it’s crazy because in a year when the country is HUNGRY to return to Democratic values, the Democratic nominee wants to run away from them and be bi-partisan and never once mention the words ‘Democrats’ or ‘the Democratic Party’ in a debate or a mailer. Sigh.

  13. 13 · Chevalier said

    He (Obama) may still win

    He may still win? He’s freaking pulling away for gods sake. Short of there being a bradley effect to end all bradley effects, i don’t see how we can whine about the effectiveness of his campaign.

  14. 13 · Chevalier said

    He (Obama) may still win, but it’s crazy because in a year when the country is HUNGRY to return to Democratic values, the Democratic nominee wants to run away from them and be bi-partisan and never once mention the words ‘Democrats’ or ‘the Democratic Party’ in a debate or a mailer. Sigh.

    The problem as I see it is that most Democrats don’t uphold “Democratic values”. The Democratic Congress–which was elected on the promise of being anti-war— hasn’t had a problem voting for billions of dollars worth of War appropriations bills. They’ve also taken impeachment off the table. And really, given that they market themselves as the party of the working class, when was the last time you heard any Democrat (with the exception of Dennis Kucinich) even talk about working people or address the issues that effect us?

    American politics needs something that neither of the two major parties seem to be offering….

  15. 14 · Manju said

    He may still win? He’s freaking pulling away for gods sake. Short of there being a bradley effect to end all bradley effects, i don’t see how we can whine about the effectiveness of his campaign.

    And indeed, In the year of the lord 2008 Anno Domini, that one shall claim the mantle to become The One.

  16. He may still win? He’s freaking pulling away for gods sake. Short of there being a bradley effect to end all bradley effects, i don’t see how we can whine about the effectiveness of his campaign.

    It’s a very large lead. However, the margin on it is +/-2 right? And it might still go down as we get closer to the election. That, combined with a Bradley effect and strenuous voter suppression in key swing states, and it might still be close. You’re right, though, it’s becoming harder to imagine a strategy that could block him.

  17. There hasn’t been much evidence of a Bradley effect in this poll.

    Yeah, Nate’s argument is flawed. He’s arguing that b/c there wasn’t much of a Bradley effect amongst likely democratic voters during the primaries that we wont see it when we look at the general population in a national election. He might be right, but he doesn’t have the evidence for it yet.

  18. 19 · Ennis said

    He’s arguing that b/c there wasn’t much of a Bradley effect amongst likely democratic voters during the primaries that we wont see it when we look at the general population in a national election.

    Nate’s point is important in that people attributed a bunch of Hillary’s surprise victories to a Bradley effect. Nate counters that very effectively, and actually points to a reverse Bradley effect due to a groundswell of new voters, many of whom are minorities. The bottomline is that there hasn’t been any tangible evidence of it in recent elections, period. Heck, even the guy involved in the original Bradley effect isn’t sure whether there was indeed a Bradley effect screwing over the eponymous candidate.

  19. The whole attack on Obama revealing the plan and defending McCain in not revealing the plan amuses me to no end.

    1) We all know damn well that if Obama had responded any differently, Rove et al would be all over him.

    2) They were all over him anyway, but then Bush and the White House started doing exactly what Obama proposed.

    3) Obama pointed out that his own stance on it is now the Bush administration’s

    4) McCain however, never says that it’s a bad idea, but that it’s not right to announce that plan to the enemies and Pakistan.

    5) But what did Obama announce? That he will act. Now that’s not giving away the plan to the enemies. Pissing of the Pakistanis, maybe.

    6) The fact that McCain simply says that it’s not prudent to announce it, basically anyone with a working brain should be able to figure out that McCain is just winking and saying, yes, I will do the same thing as well–just not going to announce.

    Therefore I do not understand how McCain is in the right about it. It’s not like the Pakistanis are dumb and think McCain isn’t going to continue what the U.S. is now doing, because all he’s said is that he doesn’t think saying it out loud is a good idea.

  20. Obama pointed out that his own stance on it is now the Bush administration’s

    I didn’t hear that during the debates nor see it in the transcript. Reference please?

  21. 22 · Ennis said

    ,Obama pointed out that his own stance on it is now the Bush administration’s
    I didn’t hear that during the debates nor see it in the transcript. Reference please?

    Well, I’m not sure he has in so many words. (de-lurker, correct me if I’m wrong)

    But part of the Bush Doctrine is a willingness to pursue US military interests in a unilateral way. And the current incursions into Pakistan have been occuring under the Bush regime.

    So when you have Obama essentially stating that he supports continued unilateral action in Pakistan (which he has, as early as a year ago), then it’s not unreasonable to state that he supports a continuation of the Bush Doctrine.

    When you combine this with his other statements about foreign policy, including his infamous statement that “There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position [on Iraq] at this stage. The difference, in my mind, is who’s in a position to execute” , then we don’t need to have him directly state his position is the same as George Bush’s. Simply comparing their policies is enough.

  22. McCain’s playing to win the election in 2008; Obama’s playing to win the conservatives’ vote with conservative policies; he’s playing with a 2004 script.

    Disagree. At the start of his campaign when it was not evident that economy was completely falling apart, Obama’s primary task was to leverage popular sentiment against Iraq war without appearing soft on terrorism, a perception traditionally associated with democratic candidates and one to which Obama was especially vulnerable because of Ayers/Wright angle and McCain’s past. Gaining credibility on national security issues was a strategic requirement for his campaign, not a tactical need to secure a particular group of voters. A consistently hawkish position against terrorist camps in Pakistan/Afghanistan was the only way to accomplish that, and I think he nailed it.

  23. Disagree. At the start of his campaign when it was not evident that economy was completely falling apart, Obama’s primary task was to leverage popular sentiment against Iraq war without appearing soft on terrorism, a perception traditionally associated with democratic candidates and one to which Obama was especially vulnerable because of Ayers/Wright angle and McCain’s past. Gaining credibility on national security issues was a strategic requirement for his campaign, not a tactical need to secure a particular group of voters. A consistently hawkish position against terrorist camps in Pakistan/Afghanistan was the only way to accomplish that, and I think he nailed it.

    Yes. And I love peace (and puppies! and cuddly babies!) as much as the next guy, but Obama’s strategy of dealing with non-state actors such as the tribes in NWFP seems like the most realistic, over Bush’s oedipally motivated ideology of waging war against known state actors such as Iraq, which have only marginal relevance to the immediate terror threat to the US. Even on Iran and North Korea, McCain’s ostrich like strategy of somehow not talking to Iran and a “league of democracies” (let’s pretend Russia and China don’t exist!) is doomed to failure, given that these other powers have enough military and political muscle to allow rogue nations to stay that way. You need effective carrots to entice these countries away from globally destabilizing actions, and the only way that is going to happen is by engaging them.

    But going back to Pak/Afghanistan, military incursions alone are not the solution. The remaining question of longer term relevance is what the US position will be on ineffectual governance, as we are seeing in Pakistan and Afghanistan. So far, Obama has, sensibly IMHO, voiced strong opposition to the idea of putting friendly dictators in power, but Karzai/Zardari (the latter to a greater degree) do not seem to have the military or political muscle to root out internal insurgency. What, then, is the answer? This is probably the biggest strategic question Obama will have to answer when it comes to these countries. While propping up dictators, pumping in arms, and aligning the US with the “least evil” alternative in these countries is tempting in the short term, we have repeatedly seen that the long-term results are savory neither for the US, nor for the countries themselves.

  24. He had mentioned it in the Democratic debates. I’ll need to scour through the Dem. debates transcript to find it. He didn’t mention it in the presidential debate, that’s true. Why, I have no idea. Perhaps it’s not smart for his chances to mention it and let people know of the heightened activity going on? I don’t know.

  25. My original post was more going in a time line to make the point that I don’t see why the McCain camp would even make it an issue. Because to me, it makes no sense. McCain is just saying “wink, wink, I agree with Obama, but I don’t think it’s smart to say it.” Even though Obama isn’t giving away some super secret fighting tactics.

    To me, if you think about it. At this stage, what difference would it matter? Like the Pakistanis are going to trust/like McCain more simply because he says, “I won’t go around announcing it.”

    Also to point out that if Obama hadn’t given his answer the way he did, and tried to walk the fine-line, they would have no doubtly pounced on him (though at the time, the White House was walking the fine line) on his weakness on fighting terrorism.

    I don’t know if my point makes it more clear now.

    But there must be a reason why Obama hasn’t mentioned the fact in the Presidential debates, but has in the Democratic debates. Don’t know what that is, though.

  26. He had mentioned it in the Democratic debates. I’ll need to scour through the Dem. debates transcript to find it.

    Well, he couldn’t have mentioned all of it then because the news that incursions had been authorized by the President came out only 2 months ago which, I think, was after the last primary debate. But if you could find what he said, I’d be quite interested.

  27. The whole “we will kill obama/hunt him down” was the one moment where Obama made me cringe.

  28. 28 · Ennis said

    He had mentioned it in the Democratic debates. I’ll need to scour through the Dem. debates transcript to find it.
    Well, he couldn’t have mentioned all of it then because the news that incursions had been authorized by the President came out only 2 months ago which, I think, was after the last primary debate. But if you could find what he said, I’d be quite interested.

    No, but the the airstrikes had begun to sow the seeds.

    And you know, looking back at the transcripts, he did only mention it in passing. I thought he had said it much stronger than that. Maybe I was conflating a few of the other “Bush has taken my policies that I proposed even before he accepted them” speech with this issue.

    But he did bring up the topic. With respect to Pakistan, I never said I would bomb Pakistan. What I said was that if we have actionable intelligence against bin Laden or other key al Qaeda officials, and we — and Pakistan is unwilling or unable to strike against them, we should. And just several days ago, in fact, this administration did exactly that and took out the third-ranking al Qaeda official.

    That is the position that we should have taken in the first place. And President Musharraf is now indicating that he would generally be more cooperative in some of these efforts, we don’t know how the new legislature in Pakistan will respond, but the fact is it was the right strategy. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/26/us/politics/26text-debate.html?pagewanted=all

    Like I said, perhaps the reason he doesn’t bring it up at all now, is because it has now become a ground assault. And it may not be the best thing to bring up. I don’t know.

    But the original idea was that Obama would not adhere to Pakistani sovereignty–which still holds whether it is from the ground or from the air.

  29. Nate’s point is important in that people attributed a bunch of Hillary’s surprise victories to a Bradley effect. Nate counters that very effectively, and actually points to a reverse Bradley effect due to a groundswell of new voters, many of whom are minorities. The bottomline is that there hasn’t been any tangible evidence of it in recent elections, period. Heck, even the guy involved in the original Bradley effect isn’t sure whether there was indeed a Bradley effect screwing over the eponymous candidate.

    I want to disentangle a few different issues

    1. Is there a Bradley effect on the individual level, i.e. are there people who claim they will vote for Obama for social desirability reasons, but who have no intention of doing so. There are reasons to believe that this might still exist, and little reason to believe that there is an opposite effect at the individual level, i.e. people who say they are voting for McCain but really intend to vote for Obama.

    2. Is there a Bradley effect at the aggregate level – i.e. will our polls overpredict the chance that a black candidate might win? Your counter-argument is that we might be underpredicting his chance of victory because we don’t know who the likely voters will be this time round, i.e. because minority turn out might be higher and b/c many new voters have been registered. I concede both of those points, but that’s a failure to predict the likely voter, something that is conceptually distinct from the Bradley effect, even if it serves as a countervailing influence in this election. It’s a bit sloppy to lump them together. Nate should know better, seeing as his father is a prof at MSU who is an expert on surveys.

    The fact that our aggregate predictions have been right during the primaries may be due to multiple causes. It could be that likely primary voters are less likely to lie to pollsters for reasons of social desirability. Or it could be that they are lying, but the effect is washed out by increased turnout from minority voters. The second case is one where you have two errors that happen to be cancelling out, but you’re really doing failing to predict the behavior of two different groups wrong, and simply getting lucky about the bottom line.

  30. 1. Is there a Bradley effect on the individual level, i.e. are there people who claim they will vote for Obama for social desirability reasons, but who have no intention of doing so. There are reasons to believe that this might still exist, and little reason to believe that there is an opposite effect at the individual level, i.e. people who say they are voting for McCain but really intend to vote for Obama.

    Data is king. The data indicates that this effect did not exist in the dem primaries, and as I pointed out in my previous comment, it is somewhat questionable whether the original Bradley loss was indeed due to a Bradley effect in the first place.

    The second case is one where you have two errors that happen to be cancelling out, but you’re really doing failing to predict the behavior of two different groups wrong, and simply getting lucky about the bottom line.

    I agree. But why do you want to weigh one racial effect highly (counting white voters who lie), and ignore the other (counting black voters who are not represented)?

  31. 29 · sunzari said

    The whole “we will kill obsama/hunt him down” was the one moment where Obama made me cringe.

    Me too. The more I think about it, the more possible similarities I see with the Johnson Presidency. Making OBL so large in his own and the public imagination, by saying this kind of thing – not to mention OBL’s own non-state actor buddies – risks creating a Che Guevara effect.

    And BTW, today, 10 October, is the day Che Guevara was captured and executed in 1967 – 41 years ago, when Obama was 5+.

  32. I agree. But why do you want to weigh one racial effect highly (counting white voters who lie), and ignore the other (counting black voters who are not represented)?

    You have to fix both problems. But even if we didn’t see a difference in the bottom line, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a group of voters lying to pollsters, which is an issue for the pollsters (many phone poll workers are African American, hence the social desirability effects. However, they don’t report the data broken down by race of worker, even though we know that respondents behave differently on some key issues).

    The data indicates that this effect did not exist in the dem primaries

    Dem primary voters are around 20% of the party, and an unrepresentative slice at that. Generalizing from a bunch of democratic party activists to the voting population at large is a bit odd. You wouldn’t do so with the content of their opinions. I’m just saying that I’m waiting to see what happens as we study this issue further, but in my mind the jury is still out.

  33. I agree. But why do you want to weigh one racial effect highly (counting white voters who lie), and ignore the other (counting black voters who are not represented)?

    Identifying likely voters is a problem that the polling industry is already highly engaged with, they tweak their model all the time. However, they aren’t as engaged with social desirability effects in political polls, in part b/c they’re contextual and not as consistent. That’s why people are more concerned with the second.

  34. Maybe someone can clear this up for me: Pakistan has not been able to effectively govern the NWF for the past 60 years. The NWF is a breeding ground for Islamic militants (Taliban and AQ) who have attacked the US, Pakistani nationals in the urban areas of Pakistan, and various people in a number of other nations. Never mind all the human rights violations that have gone on there in the past six decades in the name of militant Islam, (because who cares about that). Pakistan has been spending money “defending” itself from imaginary impending attacks from their neighbor instead of using the bajillion dollars that America has given them to fight these “terrorists”. And… Obama is bad for asking the Pakistani government to do their job? I don’t give a damn whether he sounds like a Republican or a Democrat. The Pakistani government should be held accountable for their total indifference to this mess. And McCain’s stance that we shouldn’t talk about these things “out loud” is indicative of a party that doesn’t have enough respect for Pakistan to be honest about their future intentions.