Remember all that McCain campaign rhetoric about how Obama’s August 2007 statement on the need for sporadic pursuits of Al Qaeda into Pakistan without prior diplomatic notice showed that he was an irresponsible loon who should never be commander-in-chief? (and a few Democrats sounded off as well before Obama won the primaries)
Well just look at what’s been happening on the Bush-Rumsfeld watch for the last four years, as is hardly surprising given the Bush Doctrine (despite the administration’s inconsistencies in its application) on apprehending terror suspects. The policy of mounting covert missions against terror teams across national borders as required is one that I even find fairly sensible in countries such as Pakistan where Musharraf is stuck between the political difficulties of alienating voters who support al Qaida if he actively cooperates and the fact that al Qaida would depose him if they could.
Highly-publicised attacks by US forces across the border from Iraq into Syria last month and from Afghanistan into Pakistan’s tribal areas in September make up only a small proportion of operations carried out, almost all of them in secret.
The freedom of special forces to go into other countries at short notice, without needing to go through the time-consuming bureaucratic decision-making normally involved in Washington, was approved in a 2004 classified executive order – “al Qaida network exord” – by the then defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.
It came after a series of botched missions, in particular in East Africa, in which there was a failure to inform in advance the US ambassador to Kenya. As a result, Rumsfeld effectively ceded control to the CIA.
What is somewhat more surprising is that apparently Bush hasn’t even been making case by case decisions on such incursions. Having the CIA in oversight of special forces for such sorties makes some sense, but wouldn’t the expectation be that the president would still be the one making the “go” decision?
IOKIYAR spin in 3-2-1…