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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Would Obama Invade a Country that Has Nuclear Weapons?

[Update below]

It looks like he would. (Via memeorandum)

Oh My.

In a strikingly bold speech about terrorism scheduled for this morning, Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will call not only for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but a redeployment of troops into Afghanistan and even Pakistan — with or without the permission of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Obama will say, according to speech excerpts provided to ABC News by his campaign, "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."

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Before I even start on how naive this sounds sounds, lets recap Pakistan's Nuclear capabilities for a second:

A Brief History of Pakistan's Nuclear Program

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that Pakistan has built 24-48 HEU-based nuclear warheads, and Carnegie reports that they have produced 585-800 kg of HEU, enough for 30-55 weapons. Pakistan's nuclear warheads are based on an implosion design that uses a solid core of highly enriched uranium and requires an estimated 15-20 kg of material per warhead. According to Carnegie, Pakistan has also produced a small but unknown quantity of weapons grade plutonium, which is sufficient for an estimated 3-5 nuclear weapons.

Pakistani authorities claim that their nuclear weapons are not assembled. They maintain that the fissile cores are stored separately from the non-nuclear explosives packages, and that the warheads are stored separately from the delivery systems. In a 2001 report, the Defense Department contends that "Islamabad's nuclear weapons are probably stored in component form" and that "Pakistan probably could assemble the weapons fairly quickly." However, no one has been able to ascertain the validity of Pakistan's assurances about their nuclear weapons security.

Pakistan's reliance primarily on HEU makes its fissile materials particularly vulnerable to diversion. HEU can be used in a relatively simple gun-barrel-type design, which could be within the means of non-state actors that intend to assemble a crude nuclear weapon.

The terrorist attacks on September 11th raised concerns about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. According to press reports, within two days of the attacks, Pakistan's military began relocating nuclear weapons components to six new secret locations. Shortly thereafter, Gen. Pervez Musharraf fired his intelligence chief and other officers and detained several suspected retired nuclear weapons scientists, in an attempt to root out extremist elements that posed a potential threat to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

Concerns have also been raised about Pakistan as a proliferant of nuclear materials and expertise. In November, 2002, shortly after North Korea admitted to pursuing a nuclear weapons program, the press reported allegations that Pakistan had provided assistance in the development of its uranium enrichment program in exchange for North Korean missile technologies.

Now lets look at Pakistan's Nuclear Doctrine, shall we?

Pakistan's Nuclear Doctrine

Several sources, such as Jane's Intelligence Review and Defense Department reports maintain that Pakistan's motive for pursuing a nuclear weapons program is to counter the threat posed by its principal rival, India, which has superior conventional forces and nuclear weapons.

Pakistan has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). According to the Defense Department report cited above, "Pakistan remains steadfast in its refusal to sign the NPT, stating that it would do so only after India joined the Treaty. Consequently, not all of Pakistan's nuclear facilities are under IAEA safeguards. Pakistani officials have stated that signature of the CTBT is in Pakistan's best interest, but that Pakistan will do so only after developing a domestic consensus on the issue, and have disavowed any connection with India's decision."

Pakistan does not abide by a no-first-use doctrine, as evidenced by President Pervez Musharraf's statements in May, 2002. Musharraf said that Pakistan did not want a conflict with India but that if it came to war between the nuclear-armed rivals, he would "respond with full might." These statements were interpreted to mean that if pressed by an overwhelming conventional attack from India, which has superior conventional forces, Pakistan might use its nuclear weapons.

To drive the point home, lets take a look at Pakistan's previous ties with the Taliban.


Pakistan's military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, has pledged full cooperation with the United States against terrorism, but Pakistan will need to carry out a U-turn in its policy of support for the Taliban if it is to regain the West's confidence and end its present diplomatic isolation. The stark policy choices the military faces may also require a complete turnaround from twenty years of clandestine support to jihadi parties and the growth of a jihadi culture, which has sustained its policies in Kashmir and Central Asia.

Now, lets do the math real quick here.


Anyone disagree here?

Speak up!!!!!!

If Barack Obama thought invading Iraq was a bad idea, how on EARTH, does he justify saying something this irresponsible?

Does he not understand that public statements such as this are freaking dangerous?

Back to the ABC news story that started all this:

Obama's mention of an "al Qaeda leadership meeting" refers to a classified military operation planned in early 2005 to kill al Qaeda leaders including Osama bin Laden's top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri in Pakistan's tribal regions. First reported in The New York Times earlier this month, the mission was "aborted at the last minute after top Bush administration officials decided it was too risky and could jeopardize relations with Pakistan, according to intelligence and military officials."

In many ways, the speech is counterintuitive; Obama, one of the more liberal candidates in the race, is proposing a geopolitical posture that is more aggressive than that of President Bush. It comes at a time in Obama's campaign when the freshman senator is drawing more financial support from more voters than any other candidate, though he has yet to vault from his second-place position in the polls. One of the reasons for that is that the Democratic front-runner, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, is seen as more experienced and in some ways stronger, a perspective Obama wishes to change.

The speech, to be delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., seems an attempt by Obama to ramp up his campaign to the next phase, where he hopes to seem not only a youthful idealist, but a president who would pursue a muscular foreign policy and protect the United States from terrorist attack.

You simply have to read the rest of that article, 3 pages and I am still sitting here wondering how this man thinks he will ever be voted for president.

Quite a bit of reaction on this, as you can imagine so here are some choice quotes:

Captain's Quarters:

One of the reasons that Democrats insist that the war in Iraq was a mistake was because it unnecessarily radicalized Iraqis into jihadists. What does Obama think an invasion of Pakistan will do to its population? And if the former was a mistake, consider that Pakistan has a population of over 160 million people. How does Obama think they will react to a military invasion by a putative ally?

Those are just the political considerations. If we march across the border of a sovereign nation without their permission, that's an act of overt war. Pakistan has nuclear weapons, and would be likely to use them in a last extreme. They could certainly shoot tactical nukes at our Navy ships that would have to support an invasion force. They may also be inclined to use them against our new ally, India, in the case of an invasion.

Not to demean Obama's vast military expertise, either, but has he looked at a map of Pakistan? It's shaped like a wedge, with the base on the Arabian Sea and the Waziristan region almost the farthest point from the water. How does Obama propose to create lines of communication for an invasion? Right now we rely on Pakistan for overflight to Afghanistan to supply our troops for the fight against the Taliban there. General Obama would eliminate those lines of communication overnight, leaving the invasion force critically isolated -- unless he thinks we can start resupplying Afghanistan through Iran.

Right Wing Nut House:

What do you believe would happen if American forces invaded Pakistan to go after the Taliban without the permission of the Musharraf government?

Most analysts expect the Pakistani people would pour into the streets in protest, destablizing that already fragile country to the point that it would be possible for a much more conservative, Taliban friendly government to emerge from the chaos. Pakistan is already the most anti-American country in the world following our invasion of Afghanistan. It would be stupid to invade and threaten Musharraf’s hold on power.

Pakistan has 60 nuclear weapons. Need anything else be said about a government with that kind of destructive power in their hands with ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban?

Michelle Malkin talks about Democratic presidential candidates flexing their imaginary muscles:

Looks like the laughingstock Democrat presidential candidates have been eating their Wheaties. Yesterday, it was John Edwards flexing his imaginary muscles at Saudi Arabia. Today, it’s Barack Obama shaking his fist at Pakistan. ABC News reports on the first-term senator’s latest, greatest “bold” idea–invading Pakistan unilaterally. Diplomacy, international law, and the U.N. be damned! Behold, Obama the Cowboy:

Sister Toldjah asks:

Would this be before or after those unconditional meetings he would have with the world’s most despotic ‘leaders’?

Don Surber cracks me up:

Is it insanity or stupidity — or did he really, really inhale in mass quantities?

Pakistan is only the second largest Muslim country, well-armed with fierce mountain people. I live in West Virginia. Please, watch “Deliverance” before even thinking about taking on mountain people.

Good one Don!!!!

Red State points out logistics and geography:

Here's where the complications arise. Look at the countries that border Afghanistan. We have:

Turkmenistan. Repressive dictatorship, according to both Freedom House and Human Rights Watch. The slight thaw in the country is just that: slight. Not nearly enough to justify putting US troops at their logistical mercy.

Uzbekistan. Even more repressive dictatorship, according to FH and HRW. We had an airbase there, but we had to leave after we asked one too many questions about the Andijan Massacre. You may remember that one, Senator Obama: it was quite the cause celebre among the progressives, at least until it could no longer be used as a weapon against the Bush administration. Not that this would stop a hypothetical Obama administration from going back there, and making a deal.

Tajikistan. Repressive. FH gives it a marginally better grade than HRW.; neither likes its treatments of religious minorities and/or women. There's also the minor detail that making a deal with Tajikistan would be pointless anyway: it's a landlocked nation, too.

The People's Republic of China. Unique. They'd be happy to accommodate us, of course. Also of course, the price would be to shaddap about Kyoto, shaddap about their factory system, shaddap about Tibet and shaddap about their ongoing "reconciliation" with Formosa. No, we'd have to stop calling it "Taiwan", actually.

Pakistan. Gee, these guys suddenly aren't looking all that bad, huh? We'll get back to them in a minute.

Iran. The people are nice; the regime they're stuck under isn't. In fact, said regime is everything that the more frothy members of the Left like to accuse the Bush administration of being: fundamentalist, apocalypse-obsessed, homophobic*, misogynistic lunatics who start to dribble when the word 'Jew' comes up. Also bear in mind that the Senator's uncritical willingness to meet with the lunatic-in-Chief who either heads or fronts for that regime is what got him into this mess in the first place.

For those slow on the uptake, let me repeat that only thing that keeps running through my mind at this juncture:


I cannot make it any more clear than that.

[Update] A few moonbats think it is wise to encourage the naive Obama.

Talk about the Blind Leading the Blind.

[Update] 8/2/07- Reaction is in on Obama's naive comments as well as Obama trying to dig himself out of the hole he dug.

[Update #2] Pakistan responds to Obama's "ignorant" comment.

SLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan accused Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of "sheer ignorance" for threatening to launch US military strikes against Al-Qaeda on Pakistani

Aamazing that when we all look back on this, we probably will see this as the comment that ruined Obama's presidential aspirations.

Tracked back by:
Unilateral Attack: Obama Against It Unless It's Him from The Sandbox...