Foreign Policy

Obama's First Pakistani Scalps

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The Associated Press reports:

Missiles fired from a suspected U.S. spy plane killed seven people Friday on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border, a lawless region where al-Qaida militants are known to hide out, officials said.

The strike was the first on Pakistani territory since the inauguration of President Barrack Obama.

Whether this has much symbolic significance or not, Obama's aggressiveness in Pakistan will certainly come as no surprise to readers of Reason.

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  1. Only surprise is that they didn’t go after Pakistan’s leadership… after all, he’s shown his proclivities toward invading Pakistan.

    So we go from one black hole of a military incursion to another, potentially. Great.

  2. OMG!

    Obama is killing Pakistani civilians!

    Call the UN-
    ACLU-
    Greenpeace- etc.

  3. Barack Obama has never said a word about invading Pakistan.

  4. It’s called a field trip in Obamaspeak.

  5. Barack Obama has never said a word about invading Pakistan.

    How’s this quote:

    “I never called for an invasion of Pakistan or Afghanistan “

  6. Barack Obama has never said a word about invading Pakistan.

    How’s this quote:

    “I never called for an invasion of Pakistan or Afghanistan “

  7. joe,

    You are wrong as usual

    *Golf clap

  8. SIV,

    As usual, you try to show I’m wrong, and shoot yourself in the foot.

    None of those links have Obama saying he wants to invade Pakistan, while the third one has him affirming that he has no intention to invade Afghanistan.

    Did you even bother to read any of them, or did you just see the number of hits and say “Golly, that’s a big number?”

  9. joe … bad form man, bad form. Do a little research and use the Google before you make such a sweeping declaration.

  10. Gotcha,

    The Quote where he affirms that he never said he intended to invade Pakistan is just fine, thanks.

    Own goal, chief.

    Thanks for the help.

  11. Have you people all gone insane?

    You’re all quoting Barack Obama saying he doesn’t intend to invade Pakistan as evidence of his intent to invade Pakistan?

    Are you that desperate to yell “Gotcha” at me that you can’t read?

  12. I have given Obama credit for some of his other policy announcements, but I have to criticize him here.

    Such a brilliant plan – let’s antagonize a nuclear power by committing acts of war on their territory in order to kill 7 guys.

    I bash the inability of freepers to perceive the skewed cost/benefit relationship in the Iraq war, and some cost/benefit thinking is required here too. Unless one of those seven militants was Osama himself, it’s absurd to believe that this raid justified the risk involved in bombing and destabilizing a country with nuclear arms.

    If Pakistan requests assistance against its border area militants, we should consider rendering it – if it doesn’t involve ground forces and can be undertaken at a reasonable cost. But this whole “Hey, you guys suck, why don’t you cower before our might as we bomb your territory” crap is not wise.

  13. Joe,

    Come on, dude. If you say you are going to send your troops into another country against that country’s wishes, that is what is known as an “invasion”. If you follow up your first statement with a promise to never “invade”, you’re just dissembling.

    The goal of permanent occupation and conquest is not a necessary part of an “invasion”. Tell me, can Israel say, “We have never ‘invaded’ Lebanon!” and be telling the truth?

  14. joe,

    Obama’s denial is saying “a word about invading Pakistan”.That he had to issue a denial indicates that what he said sure sounded like a proposed invasion.

  15. Here’s my question. Obama is C-in-C now, so technically, this was carried out with his approval. But are the military and CIA operating under a “you don’t have to check in with Washington” policy for these attacks, one that Obama would have to actually rescind for it to stop?

  16. What? No more weddings in Pakistan? When Bush did this he always blew up weddings.

  17. Actually, Fluffy, it’s knows as a “raid” or an “incursion,” rather than an “invasion,” unless you state that you intend those troops to stay, rather than perform a mission of limited duration then leave.

    The goal of permanent occupation and conquest is not a necessary part of an “invasion”. Not “permanent,” but for some considerable duration, aimed at establishing control over territory.

    The Israelis, for example, stayed in Lebanon for years.

  18. Yes, SIV, when a politician denies a story ginned up by his opponents, it can only mean they were right.

    *rolls eyes*

  19. joe … dissembling as always. Let’s get real … if several hundred Mexican troops crossed our border in order to snuff out some drug-dealing undesirables, against the wishes of our government, would that constitute an invasion??

  20. No, TMOF, it would constitute an incursion, or a raid. The British in 1812 was in invasion.

    Words mean stuff. Why do you think the people so desperate to argue that Barack Obama is just like George Bush are stamping their feet and insisting that exactly the same word that describes what we did in Iraq applies to what Obama has stated he would consider doing in Pakistan, despite the obviously, dramatic differences between the two.

  21. I have given Obama credit for some of his other policy announcements, but I have to criticize him here.

    Such a brilliant plan – let’s antagonize a nuclear power by committing acts of war on their territory in order to kill 7 guys.

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned already, but it could be that this was done with a wink and a nod from the Pakistanis.

    And I wouldn’t really call this an invasion, as we were not really going after civilian or military targets in Pakistan. This was a “lawless” area that we shot up.

  22. You people kill me.

    There are all sorts of factual, reality-based, honest objections to be made about Obama’s intentions towards Pakistan.

    A raid could piss off the governmet, and they’d stop cooperating with us.

    A raid could destablize the government, and the fundies could take over.

    Raids do more harm by damaging our reputation than they help by killing terrorists.

    But no, that’s not good enough. There’s a pretty little political narrative you want to tell – Barack Obama is just like George Bush, he’s going to do in Pakistan just what George Bush did in Iraq, I’m so smart for thinking so – but the actual facts just don’t back your narrative up. There is zero zip nada evidence to support the thesis that Barack Obama intends, or has even given any indication of intending, to invade Pakistan.

    So instead of making a legitimate, defensible argument, you play word games, use vague and inaccurate terms to make unlike things look alike, truth be damned.

    Pathetic.

  23. Seward,

    Which of the following is “destroy terrorists” supposed to be the same as?

    conquering territory

    liberating territory

    re-establishing control over territory

    altering an established government

    winning concessions from a government

  24. joe,

    Those are also all true. And they are some of the reasons why an invasion of a type would be problematic.

    There is zero zip nada evidence to support the thesis that Barack Obama intends, or has even given any indication of intending, to invade Pakistan.

    If by invade Pakistan one means that he intends to invade and then occupy the country, no there doesn’t appear to be much evidence of that.

  25. I am so enjoying this.

  26. joe,

    Well, one of the arguments from many circles for sending troops into Pakistan is to win concessions from the government there; namely to force their hand on the issue of the “lawless” regions of that country.

    Indeed, that can seen from the language quoted by Abdul; namely:

    …saying that as president he would be prepared to order U.S. troops into that country unilaterally if it failed to act on its own against Islamic extremists.

    You either straighten up your house or we are sending in troops; and then we’ll get you to straighten up your house.

  27. Seward,

    And they are some of the reasons why an invasion of a type would be problematic.

    Not only are they reasons why an INVASION of any type would be problematic, but why other actions THAT ARE NOT AN INVASION could be problematic as well.

    No, I am not backing down from my insistence on accurate language.

    I also don’t read that quote as a statement about trying to get the Pakistani government to go along, but as a statement about what we would do if they do not.

  28. Episiarch,

    It is possible that a lot of the people who voted for Obama because they expected him to have a less aggressive foreign policy than Bush will be sadly mistaken.

    I hope he will follow Jefferson’s ideal myself:

    “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.”

  29. Barack Obama has never said a word about invading Pakistan.

    Be cool joe and say something like

    Ooops! My bad. What a dumbshit fuckup. Of course Obama has talked aqbout the possibility of invading the tribal areas in NW Pakistan if the Pakistanis can’t or wont’t deal with the Taliban on their own.

    J sub D, no Obama fanboy, agreed with him.

    It helps your credibility when you admit to obvious errors.

  30. Episiarch | January 23, 2009, 10:34am | #

    I am so enjoying this.

    Say, Episiarch, I haven’t seen you write “Meet the new boss…” or even toss out an ironic “Change!” in days now.

    Aw, whatsamatter? Just not in the mood? Funny, days before the inauguration, you decided that spiking the football on the five yard line was a great idea.

    Now, I have to ask: Why so serious?

    Episiarch having to STFU: now THAT’S change I can believe in.

  31. J sub,

    I’m on an accuracy kick right now – you know, that whole reality-based thing – so I’m certainly not going to write something as inaccurate and claiming that Barack Obama has stated that he intendsd to invade Pakistan.

    Because he hasn’t. In fact, he’s stated precisely the opposite.

  32. Mental note: ordering US troops into another country unilaterally does not equal invading that country.

    I had no idea that the Change I will be Believing In, like it or not, would be changes to the English language.

    Sure, sure, a quick cross-border raid wouldn’t necessarily be an “invasion”, but I must say I find it amusing to see people previously unconcerned with nuances and niceties when it came to the use of force overseas suddenly parsing things so closely.

    Of course, I have a really hard time with sending troops into a foreign country to force concessions from its government as anything other than an invasion.

  33. joe,

    No, I am not backing down from my insistence on accurate language.

    Dude, this is a blog conversation.

    …but as a statement about what we would do if they do not.

    So, if they don’t, and we invade, then what are we going to do? What is the next step? If not permanent occupation, then something else, right? If one is going to send in troops to deal with this situation, do you expect that to be the end of it? I don’t. So what is next? So yea, it is very reasonably to assume that would be the next step. Of course the next step could be an occupation, but I am giving an Obama administration the benefit of the doubt on that score.

    Whenever the government is talking about doing something, you have to think what the next four or five things will be a consequence of such.

  34. I’m on an accuracy kick right now – you know, that whole reality-based thing – so I’m certainly not going to write something as inaccurate and claiming that Barack Obama has stated that he intendsd to invade Pakistan.

    Because he actually never said the word “invade”, you see.

    Query: when Israeli troops crossed the border into Gaza, were they “invading”?

  35. Mental note: ordering US troops into another country unilaterally does not necessarily equal invading that country.

    There, fixed that for you.

    I had no idea that the Change I will be Believing In, like it or not, would be changes to the English language.

    Sure, sure, a quick cross-border raid wouldn’t necessarily be an “invasion”,

    Holy whiplash, Batman! From “change the English language” to “techinically, it’s accurate” with only a period and a paragraph break!

    I must say I find it amusing to see people previously unconcerned with nuances and niceties when it came to the use of force overseas suddenly parsing things so closely.

    That’s me: unconcerned with nuances and niceties. That must be why I was such a John Kerry fan.

    Of course, I have a really hard time with sending troops into a foreign country to force concessions from its government as anything other than an invasion. Good thing no one’s claimed that, then.

  36. Seward,

    So, if they don’t, and we invade… You mean incur, or raid.

    …then what are we going to do? What is the next step? If not permanent occupation, then something else, right? If one is going to send in troops to deal with this situation, do you expect that to be the end of it? Based on what Obama has said and done to date, the answer is, hit the target we intend to hit, then leave.

    BTW, we’ve been doing incursions into Pakistan for a couple of years now. When do you think the occupation will begin?

  37. R.C. Dean,

    Well, who actually believes that a force of any significant size would be mobilized for just a short term operation (and that is presumably what it would take, right?)? As a practical matter, it would lead of little value, beyond political theatrics. For a force sizeable enough to tackle the problem it would mean a medium term presence at least.

  38. RC,

    Because he actually never said the word “invade”, you see.

    Nor expressed any intend to engage in any actions that fit the definition of “invasion” so helpfully provided above.

    Query: when Israeli troops crossed the border into Gaza, were they “invading”? Israel went into Gaza for the purpose of gaining concessions from their government, so yes, that was an invasion.

  39. There’s a pretty little political narrative you want to tell – Barack Obama is just like George Bush, he’s going to do in Pakistan just what George Bush did in Iraq

    Who’s saying that? Not me.

    So instead of making a legitimate, defensible argument, you play word games, use vague and inaccurate terms to make unlike things look alike, truth be damned.

    Give me a break. You’re the one using word games, by trying to insist that as long as we don’t duplicate the Normandy landing and Operation Market Garden in Pakistan, it’s not an “invasion”. Even though by your own statement you don’t think unilateral military attacks on Pakistani targets is wise, you are committed to making sure no one can claim that Obama’s previous denial of the possibility of aggression in Pakistan was false.

    Sure, joe, whatever. We’re engaging in non-covert military operations in Pakistan, and the Pakistani government doesn’t want us to do so, but as long as you can parse the difference between “invading” and “raiding” it keeps Obama’s halo shiny so that’s good enough for you.

    I’m going to be a dick and argue by dictionary now, since you want to play word games too:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/invading

    [blockquote]in?vade? ?/?n?ve?d/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [in-veyd] Show IPA Pronunciation
    verb, -vad?ed, -vad?ing.
    -verb (used with object) 1. to enter forcefully as an enemy; go into with hostile intent: Germany invaded Poland in 1939.
    2. to enter like an enemy: Locusts invaded the fields.
    3. to enter as if to take possession: to invade a neighbor’s home.
    4. to enter and affect injuriously or destructively, as disease: viruses that invade the bloodstream.
    5. to intrude upon: to invade the privacy of a family.
    6. to encroach or infringe upon: to invade the rights of citizens.
    7. to permeate: The smell of baking invades the house.
    8. to penetrate; spread into or over: The population boom has caused city dwellers to invade the suburbs.
    -verb (used without object) 9. to make an invasion: troops awaiting the signal to invade.

    Definition #3 is a subset of definition #1, and not a delimiter of definition #1.

  40. joe,

    BTW, we’ve been doing incursions into Pakistan for a couple of years now.

    I don’t believe we’ve seen U.S. troops across the border; it has been operations like this one.

  41. Has anybody else noticed that nobody is even attempting to defend the notion that Barack Obama intends to invade – using the accurate definition provided above – Pakistan, the way we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan?

    That, instead, the people once making this claim are now working to defend the idea that some very different actions can SO be called an invasion?

  42. Spin and parsing aside, I’m struck by one thought. You take this office, enjoying sitting in the White House and thinking grand thoughts about the good–and, possibly, depending on your character, ill–you plan to do, then a few days later you officially have blood on your hands. I can have my hawkish moments, but to actually be the guy who is ultimately responsible for that, whether it’s the right thing to do or not, that’s a tough, would be a hard pill to swallow.

    Okay, my moment of sympathy is over. Better get used to this, Mr. President. And the criticism, and joe making excuses for you ?

  43. joe,

    “Actually, Fluffy, it’s knows as a “raid” or an “incursion,” rather than an “invasion,” unless you state that you intend those troops to stay, rather than perform a mission of limited duration then leave.”

    We never invaded Iraq.

  44. You’re right, joe, he’s not like George W. Bush on Pakistan. He is more hawkish than GWB on Pakistan.

  45. I though Obama indicated a little too much willingness to operate in Pakistan without any concern about what that would do to our relationship with the Pakistani government, but that was campaigning. I’m willing to wait to see what his actually policy will be.

  46. joe, I remember his Pakistan blunder clearly from the campaign. I thought it very odd at the time. He was getting beat up by Hillary over National Security, and needed to sound tough. He spoke before he thought. Hillary made many of the same points people are making here, and his remarks were reported widely in the press as referring to invasion. He clarified them later, fine. He was probably misunderstood, and didn’t intend to indicate he was ready to invade, fine. But he definitely made those remarks, kind of hard to avoid that.

  47. joe,

    That, instead, the people once making this claim are now working to defend the idea that some very different actions can SO be called an invasion?

    At best one person made that claim, and even that is debateable.

    BDB,

    Actually, that does appear to be case.

    Pro Libertate,

    Well, it isn’t as if the guy was “drafted”; he volunteered for the job and spent many hours pursuing it.

  48. Episiarch having to STFU: now THAT’S change I can believe in.

    It just gets better. joe backing himself into a corner: now THAT’S entertainment I can enjoy.

    I’m kind of bored, so please don’t stop letting Fluffy use you for a pinata.

  49. Fluffy,

    Who’s saying that?
    Mad mike fisk. SIV. Abdul. “Gotcha joe loses thread.” J sub D. TMOF. RC Dean. Is that enough?

    I agree, though, that you have been making reasonable, reality-based, accurate arguments, and not just mouting that line.

    You’re the one using word games, by trying to insist that as long as we don’t duplicate the Normandy landing and Operation Market Garden in Pakistan, it’s not an “invasion”. I’m using the accurate definition of the term.

    Even though by your own statement you don’t think unilateral military attacks on Pakistani targets is wise, you are committed to making sure no one can claim that Obama’s previous denial of the possibility of aggression in Pakistan was false. Barack Obama has never denied the possibility of aggression in Pakistan, and I’ve never stated that he didn’t support aggressive actions in Pakistan. He specifically denied that he intended an INVASION of Pakistan, and I accurately pointed that out.

    It’s not “word games” for me to point out the substantive difference between an invasion and other military actions. The difference between taking over a place, defeating the local forces in the field, and holding it vs. striking a target are substantive and considerable, and blowing that difference off to make a political point is irresponsible.

    We’re engaging in non-covert military operations in Pakistan, and the Pakistani government doesn’t want us to do so, but as long as you can parse the difference between “invading” and “raiding” it keeps Obama’s halo shiny so that’s good enough for you.

    I’m sorry you can only consider the difference between launching another Iraq War, and not launching another Iraq War, in partisan terms.

    I’m going to be a dick and argue by dictionary now You have fun with that. I’m going to continue to use the term as it is defined in the sphere of military policy and international relations, since that’s the relevant standard.

    If you want to draw a conclusion about how terrible I am for doing so, ignore the rather important substantive differences between sending in a force to take over a hostile territory and not, and proclaim some kind of victory because you can find a less precise set of definitions that show the word “invasion” can be used in different ways in different circumstance, you have fun with that.

  50. On the flip side, I do think there is a reasonable distinction to be made between an incursion and an invasion. Turkey regularly sends troops across the border into Iraq to kill PKK terrorists – the press describes that as an incursion, since Turkey’s targets are not controlled by the government of Iraq. There seems to be bit of a double standard here though, since attacking a countries citizens within their own borders, regardless of cause, is universaly considered an act of war.

  51. As usual, people here are focusing too much of lexical semantics.

    Words don’t have stable definitions.
    Their meaning is determined by the context in which they are used.

    This process involves interpretation by humans.

    Differences in interpretation may occur.

  52. domoarrigato,

    We’ve been in Iraq for the past six years, you know. We defeated its army in the field, overthrew its government, and occupied its territory. That’s an invasion.

    On your second point, Obama did indeed state that he would take aggressive actions towards al Qaeda targets in Pakistan. He’s never denied that, and I’ve never denied that. Once again, just to make sure we’re all on the same page, we’re not debating whether he stated or intended to take military action against targets in Pakistan, but whether he intended to invade that country.

    BDB | January 23, 2009, 10:57am | #

    You’re right, joe, he’s not like George W. Bush on Pakistan. He is more hawkish than GWB on Pakistan. On what grounds do you say that? George Bush has authorized dozens of these raids into Pakistan.

    But more relevant to this discussion, Obama is less hawkish on Pakistan than Bush was on Iraq. Unlike Bush’s intentions towards Iraq, Obama has never indicated a willingness to invade Pakistan.

  53. *shake head*

    joe, joe, joe:

    I was only trying to help you avoid appearing as a petulant little jerk. Apparently you still would rather parse words than admit to an error.

    *shrugs*

    Reasonoids:

    Hey, I tried in good faith and failed. My proficiency in the art of gentle persuasion is obviously lacking.

  54. domoarrigato | January 23, 2009, 11:10am | #

    On the flip side, I do think there is a reasonable distinction to be made between an incursion and an invasion.

    Uh oh, now Episiarch is going to call you teh partisan!

    Ep, just take some more Oxy and STFU if you have nothing to say.

  55. Seward,

    I don’t really mean it that way. I’m just imagining having the job myself. Although I’d love to implement my top 100 things to do as president and otherwise exert my will, the moral burden for me, personally, would be incredible. Unlike most power-hungry people–like, say, Episiarch–I have a conscience.

    domoarrigato,

    A point of commonality here is that when a country doesn’t exert enough control within its borders to stop terror outside its borders, the afflicted will do something about it. If you can’t keep your dog in your backyard, I’ll deal with it for you.

  56. J sub D,

    Let’s work out a little code: when I want your help, I’ll type a series of commas and dashes, like this:

    ,,,–,,-,-.

    Watch for it!

  57. joe lose thread

    reeson commenters numbah 1

    joe numbah ten
    fuk yu jo

  58. You have fun with that. I’m going to continue to use the term as it is defined in the sphere of military policy and international relations, since that’s the relevant standard.

    Fine. Then produce a link to some authoritative body that defines terms as they are used in international relations and military policy.

    Oopsie, can’t do that.

    The UN lumps pretty much all military action under the heading “aggression” and makes no fine distinctions.

    http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/GAres3314.html

  59. Ep, just take some more Oxy and STFU if you have nothing to say.

    The more you back yourself in, the more desperate you become. So much fun.

    (I wish I had some oxy. Just hydro right now.)

  60. Fluffy,

    Here you go:

    Then produce a link to some authoritative body that defines terms as they are used in international relations and military policy.

    But Seward already did.

  61. BTW, I waaaay

  62. Sigh. Tell me, joe, did HTML abuse you as a child?

  63. BTW, I waaaay overestimated the time it would take Obama to start bombing dudes. 18 months?! WTF was I thinking?

  64. WTF?

  65. domoarrigato,

    How did that happen?

  66. HTML touched me where my bathing suit goes!

  67. joe | January 23, 2009, 9:26am | #
    Barack Obama has never said a word about invading Pakistan.

    This is the sentence that SIV claims to refute.

    It’s author, joe, had an intended meaning. His meaning, which he has clarified with a number of posts, indicated that he was referring to a specific type of military action that would be far larger and more sustained than the type that Obama has indicated he might support.

    Focusing on what does or does not count as an acceptable use of the word “invasion” does not resolve the dispute, because usage standards do not define the intended meaning of joe’s message, joe does.

    Communication is cooperation not competition, in other words.

    SIV can’t win a conversation. He can only perpetuate a misunderstanding.

  68. Once upon a time, there was a substantive point on the subject of invasion: that Barack Obama’s intentions towards Pakistan were comparable to George Bush’s towards Iraq – that is, that he intended to invade that country.

    Only surprise is that they didn’t go after Pakistan’s leadership… after all, he’s shown his proclivities toward invading Pakistan.

    So we go from one black hole of a military incursion to another, potentially. Great.

    Once the falsehood of this claim was definitively established, it became a bunch of petulant whining about how terrible I am.

    Are you all really so determined to be able to yell gotcha at me that you can’t acknowledge the difference between what we did in Iraq in 2002-2009 (and counting) and, say, what we did in Libya in 1986?

  69. What does that say about your oh-so-superior humanitarianism and concern about foreign entanglements, that you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge a difference between mounting an operation to take over and occupy a country and, you know, not, if it means failing to score a point about partisan politics against some guy on a blog thread you’ve never laid eyes on?

  70. joe,

    “Once again, just to make sure we’re all on the same page, we’re not debating whether he stated or intended to take military action against targets in Pakistan, but whether he intended to invade that country.”

    I’m not drooling over this argument, but this is not correct as far as I’m concerned. We are argueing over whether he stated he would invade (as the term is properly used) Pakistan.

    Obama’s quote was:
    “There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

    I think Pro Lib’s point about “keeping the dog in the back yard” is spot on. Obama is justified in striking at those targets – not the point at all. It’s still an act of war against Pakistan. If you could support the idea that he never said he would send troops across the border and his quote referred to airstrikes – I’d probably be forced to agree that he never advocated an action which constitutes an invasion.

  71. Pro Lib, I forgot to close the quotes in an [a] tag. I sucks at teh htmls.

  72. in?va?sion

    noun

    1. The act of invading, especially the entrance of an armed force into a territory to conquer.

    2. A large-scale onset of something injurious or harmful, such as a disease.

    3. An intrusion or encroachment.

    joe loses the thread.

  73. Pro Lib, I forgot to close the quotes in an [a] tag. I sucks at teh htmls.

    Didn’t you do that while mocking joe’s HTML skillz?

    Come clean.

  74. domo,

    Using the term “invasion” as it is used in the field of foreign and military policy, sending the guys from Predator across the border to shoot bin Laden and leave is not an invasion.

    Using general-usage definitions, it can be classified as such. But then, using general-usage definitions, those hippies going to Woodstock could be classified as an invasion, too.

    To my thinking, the most important distinction is not whether we kill bin Laden with a hellfire missile from a helicopter vs. with automatic weaons fire from a platoon of rangers (in fact, there’s a good case to be made that we’re a lot less likely to kill innocents if we take the latter route). The important distinction is whether we’re hitting an al Qaeda target or trying to take over and occupy all or part of Pakistan.

  75. Epi

    nope, that was Pro Lib – I never throw stones in that department. glass houses and all.

  76. But, then, what does it matter how many civilians are killed or whether we’re keeping several tens of thousands of American troops on occupation duty in yet another hostile country, when you can look right below the definition A large-scale onset of something injurious or harmful, such as a disease. and find something that, if you ignore that there are substantive points to make, allows you to write the sacred words “joe loses the thread.”

  77. Interesting semantic argument going on.

    Of course joe’s statement “Barack Obama has never said a word about invading Pakistan.” is wrong on it’s face, since Obama did say “I never called for an invasion of Pakistan or Afghanistan.” according to the ABC News blog link posted above.

    Obama did say a word about invading Pakistan. He said he didn’t intend for his earlier rhetoric to be taken that way.

  78. “Using general-usage definitions, it can be classified as such. But then, using general-usage definitions, those hippies going to Woodstock could be classified as an invasion, too.”

    I think that’s a bit hyperbolic.

    “The important distinction is whether we’re hitting an al Qaeda target or trying to take over and occupy all or part of Pakistan.”

    I think you are right as far as the substantive real world issue to be dealt with. As to whether or not Obama said some stuff that came out kinda scary – I think he did. To be honest, I’m not really interested in the semantic discussion. I think this goes back to the discussion from the other day about the left v. rights approach to stateless terrorists. Lets agree that it’s a good thing that Obama seems to get that distinction – I’m not sure Pakistans leadership will. Not that they’ll be able to do anything about it.

  79. Obama did say a word about invading Pakistan. He said he didn’t intend for his earlier rhetoric to be taken that way.,/i>

    Lol! OK, point granted. Refuting a point IS saying something about it.

  80. I have made a number of incursions in HTML’s territory, but I clearly have not established control over it, or gotten it to comply with my wishes.

  81. ‘Twas I who mocked joe’s HTML problems, then was attacked by domoarrigato’s unclosed tag. HTML abuse is much more common than most people realize.

    joe,

    Perhaps you should move to the blockquote tag? Probably harder to muck up.

  82. Pro Lib, I was just about to complain that your post invaded mine – Internet Crime, sir! consider us formally at war.

    *slaps Pro Lib with white glove*

  83. SIV can’t win a conversation.

    I can sure win a thread.All I have to do is hand joe a coil of rope and stand back and watch:)

  84. Did Israel just invade Gaza?
    Did Russia invade Georgia last year?

    All are invited to answer the above and explain why or why not.

  85. joe,

    Perhaps you should move to the blockquote tag? Probably harder to muck up.

    You misunderestimate me.

    I’m pretty sure I can screw up the brackets on a blockquote tag, too.

  86. Sorry, domoarrigato, I don’t stoop to dueling with peasants ?

    joe,

    Not brackets, less-than and greater-than symbols!

  87. Did Israel just invade Gaza?
    Did Russia invade Georgia last year?

    An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by another such entity, Check and check.

    generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a territory, Check for Russia i/r/t South Ossetia, Israel in Gaza depends on what “control” means.

    altering the established government or gaining concessions from said government, or a combination thereof. Check and check.

    Both were invasions.

    Now, imagine Israel sending a dozen or two IDFers into the Strip to attack a gang that was setting up a rocket, and throw some satchel charges into a warehouse full of other rockets, then hightail it back to Israel. Invasion?

  88. *shoots Pro Lib in the back as he walks away*

    bastard.

  89. I like your style, domo. Very Malcolm Reynolds.

  90. altering the established government or gaining concessions from said government, or a combination thereof.

    So, if Obama sends troops over the border with Pakistan without intending to conquer it, but does so without any diplomatic engagement with the Pakistanis at all, that’s not an invasion.

    But if he sends troops, etc., and asks/tells the Pakistanis that he will keep doing so until they establish real control over those areas, that would be an invasion, yes? Because he is seeking concessions from the Pakistanis?

  91. R C Dean,

    I would parse it that way.

    *steps on Pro Libs slowly cooling body on the way by*

  92. Like when Mal tried to give the money back to Niska’s henchman in “The Train Job.” The second guy accepted, after Mal kicked the first one into the ship’s intake for not accepting.

    domoarrigato,

    I’m not that easy to kill.

  93. RC,

    In both cases, what Obama would be “seeking” is the destruction of whatever al Qaeda targets he has in mind, not any concession from the Pakistanis.

    …generally with the objective of…altering the established government or gaining concessions from said government…

    The objective of such a raid wouldn’t be to get anything from the Pakistanis, but to hit the al Qaeda target.

  94. Missiles fired from a suspected U.S. spy plane killed seven people Friday on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border

    Maybe it was a mistake. Like the oath of office. Or Joe Biden.

  95. Or when Mal got in that duel using swords and then Inara distracted his opponent just before he was going to kill Mal.

    domo, your first shot puts him down. Then you gotta put one in his brain. Then you know he’s dead. Then we go home.

  96. I’d like to take a break from haggling with joe over whether Seward’s wikipedia definition is more authoritative than my dictionary.com definition to say:

    An important thing to keep in mind is that no one else gives a shit about this.

    Did you notice that?

    The press doesn’t care about this. They can’t be bothered.

    Here’s the press’ big issue today: there was no video of the second swearing in. There was audio, but no video. So the press is complaining that this means Obama is not governing transparently.

    Got that? Bush can lie about rendition, invoke national security privilege, refuse FOIA requests, etc. – and it doesn’t matter. But Obama releases audio and not video of an event, and that’s not transparent enough.

    Can the press make it any more obvious that they don’t care about the facts of what the government is doing at all, they just care about having video to show? No one in the press corps thinks that there’s any information about the second swearing in that they don’t have [and it’s an unbelievably trivial issue anyway] but they don’t have a picture and that drives them insane.

    Discussing conducting an invasionary raid on a nuclear power – not so important.

    Press didn’t get video of an inconsequential event they know all about anyway – very important.

    Fuckers.

  97. The objective of such a raid wouldn’t be to get anything from the Pakistanis, but to hit the al Qaeda target.

    But this would mean that the US didn’t invade Cambodia.

    Blah blah blah we will never get anywhere on this subject.

  98. Forgot the damn safety round. Pro Lib, good luck with that sucking chest wound.

  99. Can the press make it any more obvious that they don’t care about the facts of what the government is doing at all, they just care about having video to show?

    That’s not really it, Fluffy. The press never really cared about what the government is doing. They care what Obama is doing, but not in a reporting kind of way, but in a MTV Real World kind of way.

    Obama’s what’s fascinating them right now, and they’re pissed off that every second isn’t being videoed. Pakistan? What? Oh look Michelle is picking out White House china!

  100. Fluffy,

    Let’s hope nobody gets bit by a shark. Especially a blonde.

    an invasionary raid I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you! I’ll fucking kill you! 😉

    But this would mean that the US didn’t invade Cambodia. You mean when we bombed it? We didn’t invade Cambodia. We bombed it.

  101. The press never really cared about what the government is doing. They care what Obama is doing, but not in a reporting kind of way, but in a MTV Real World kind of way.

    Yep.

  102. I love this! How quickly things turn. Obviously it’s not just Joe, but semantics matter so much when you’re defending someone at any cost. Bill Clinton “did not have sex with that woman”.

    Joe, when you say that Obama “never said a word about invading Pakistan”, take your own advice! Words do “mean stuff”. He has said many words about it, but that’s not to say he’s called for it. You made a mistake, and said something factually untrue. It’s ok, we all make mistakes! You’ll gain more by admitting it and moving on. We won’t think less of you.

    Pick your battles, lest you become just like the reflexive Bush defenders that sound exactly like you just did.

  103. joe,

    “We didn’t invade Cambodia. We bombed it.”

    That I know you are def wrong about. Incursion/Invasion argument aside, we did a hell of a lot more than bomb it.

  104. Occupying a country, not occupying a country – semantics! Mere semantics.

    Only teh partisan would consider such a distinction substantive.

    He has said many words about it, but that’s not to say he’s called for it. Oh, ok, just as you’re not niggling about semantics.

  105. domoarrigato,

    Well, that’s why I asked. I was unfamiliar with that episode.

    Something like 10,000 troops there for two months – sounds like an invasion to me.

  106. Sometimes you have to bomb people in pakistan, it helps sucker my political opponents out intot eh oppen so that my NSA opponents database can fill in some question marks.

  107. So when a thread gets to comparisons to Hitler, it’s called Godwin’s Law.

    What do we call it when a thread gets to semantic arguments of misinterpretation of previous posts? Joe’s Law?

  108. Barack Obama has never said a word about invading Pakistan.

    Why would you bother when you can just fire missiles over the border?

  109. joe’s biggest flaw? Hubris.

  110. — That damn Obama, no different from Bush!

    — Wait a second Hamid, Obama does not plan to invade us. He is just sending drones inside of our borders to rain bombs on our civilians.

    — Oh, (chuckle), you are right, my friend. I overreacted. What was I thinking! I just lost sight of the trees for the sake of the trees.

    — Obama is a good man. He will snipe at us from afar. He might even go all out Gaza on us, in time, but he will never actually invade.

    — what is that sound?

    — one of Obama’s drones, over there is a nice ditch, lets go jump in it for cover while continuing this conversation.

  111. Paul,

    You’d launch an invasion when you have objectives that go beyond hitting a target – when you want to capture and control territory, or destroy a military force, or overthrow a government.

  112. “OK, you’re right, joe. ‘Invade’ has a specific meaning, and Obama has given no indication that he intends to do that. Using his statements about strikes into Pakistan to claim he’s looking to do something comparable to the invasion of Iraq are wrong.

    Still, I don’t think his ideas about even limited strikes are wise, because…”

    Is that really so hard?

  113. If your goal is to make substantive point about Pakistan and Obama’s policy, it’s not hard at all.

    If your goal is to convince yourself that spending several months posing as wordly by writing “Meet the New Boss” and then seeing what’s happened over the past two days doesn’t make you look like an idiot, it’s very hard.

    If your goal is to write “Gotcha, joe! I am avenged for all the times you made me look bad,” then it’s well-nigh impossible.

  114. You know, every new administration, Democratic or Republican, does seem to come with some dramatic, but limited, attack on some foreign locale. It depends on who the current new “bad guy” is of course. Which makes me wonder whether this is as much political theatre as anything.

  115. It’s a branding thing. You don’t want the public to confuse your war with another president’s, would you?

  116. If Bin Laden (or other senior Al Queda leaders) are tracked down somewhere in Pakistan, and the Pakistani government won’t (or isn’t able to) do anything about them, I not only approve of, but I would in fact demand that Obama take them out.

  117. “””It is possible that a lot of the people who voted for Obama because they expected him to have a less aggressive foreign policy than Bush will be sadly mistaken. “””

    Trying to finish the job Bush started in Afghanistan, which most of us knew would probably require moving into Pakistan, is not evidence of a aggressive foreign policy equal to Bush.

    I agree with Geotpf. But it would not be a new war, just an expansion of the current one.

  118. But it would not be a new war, just an expansion of the current one.

    Like Iraq in 2003

  119. Just keep telling yourself that.

  120. Seward | January 23, 2009, 4:29pm | #

    You know, every new administration, Democratic or Republican, does seem to come with some dramatic, but limited, attack on some foreign locale. It depends on who the current new “bad guy” is of course. Which makes me wonder whether this is as much political theatre as anything….

    Pro Libertate | January 23, 2009, 4:34pm | #

    It’s a branding thing. You don’t want the public to confuse your war with another president’s, would you?

    The military has been launching targeted strikes like this against al Qaeda targets in Pakistan for over a year now. This is, like, the thirtieth such strike.

    If you’ve a gripe here, it’s that Obama HASN’T implemented a change, HASN’T reversed Bush policy.

  121. Don’t you guys remember that, in the middle of the uproar over Obama’s statement in that Democratic primary debate about launching such strikes, Bush launched one? That was, IIRC, the summer of 2007.

  122. “Don’t you guys remember that, in the middle of the uproar over Obama’s statement in that Democratic primary debate about launching such strikes, Bush launched one? That was, IIRC, the summer of 2007.”

    That would be a damning indictment of our inconsistency IF this were a site for Bush admin. shills.

  123. “This is, like, the thirtieth such strike.”

    I always enjoy the teenage valley-girl-isms inserted into writing.

  124. “If your goal is to write ‘Gotcha, joe! I am avenged for all the times you made me look bad,’ then it’s well-nigh impossible.”

    Joe, I’ve caught you making contradictory statements just days apart numerous times. When I occasionally deign to point it out (when I can actually remember the threads the two or more statements were on and find them) you get pissed off and complain about play Gotcha.

  125. That would be a damning indictment of our inconsistency IF this were a site for Bush admin. shills.

    Instead, what that comment is is a correction of the factually inaccurate statement that appears immediately before it. You know, the ones quoted?

    I didn’t think that was so hard to follow.

  126. Nobody cares what you think about me, economist.

  127. Whether this has much symbolic significance or not

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