These are my impressions in no particular order, so please forgive. Barack Obama, likable.. you just can't deny it. He looks Presidential and wouldn't it be cool to have the first African American in the White House. Yes, but please not Senator Obama. He's confused about a few things and Charlie Gibson did a great job pointing that out plainly so that we all could see.
Mr. Gibson:...Osama bin Laden, as he pointed out, has said it is his duty to try to get nuclear weapons. Al Qaeda has been reconstituted and re-energized in the western part of Pakistan. And so my general question is: How aggressively would you go after al Qaeda leadership there? And let me start with you, Senator Obama, because it was you who said in your foreign policy speech that you would go into western Pakistan if you had actionable intelligence to go after him whether or not the Pakistani government agreed. Do you stand by that?
SEN. OBAMA: I absolutely do stand by it, Charlie. What I said was that we should do everything in our power to push and cooperate with the Pakistani government in taking on al Qaeda, which is now based in northwest Pakistan. And what we know from our National Intelligence Estimates is that al Qaeda is stronger now than at any time since 2001, and so back in August I said we should work with the Pakistani government. First of all, they encourage democracy in Pakistan, so you've got a legitimate government that we're working with, and secondly, that we have to press them to do more to take on al Qaeda in their territory.
What I said was if they could not or would not do so, and we had actionable intelligence, then I would strike. And I should add that Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean, the heads of the 9/11 commission, a few months later wrote an editorial saying the exact same thing. I think it's indisputable that that should be our course.
Let me just add one thing, though, on the broader issue of nuclear proliferation. This is something that I've worked on since I've been in the Senate. I worked with Richard Lugar, then the Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to pass the next stage of what was Nunn-Lugar, so that we would have improved interdiction of potentially nuclear materials. And it is important for us to rebuild a nuclear nonproliferant -- proliferation strategy -- something that this administration, frankly, has ignored, and has made us less safe as a consequence. It would not cost us that much, for example, and it would take about four years for us to lock down the loose nuclear weapons that are still floating out there, and we have not done the job.
Me: Senator Obama if you think that President Bush has not been working hard with the Pakistani Government, you must never watch the news. So tell me please, what specifically you would do that President Bush has not done to "work with the Pakistani government"?
MR. GIBSON: I'm going to go to the others in a moment, but what you just outlined is essentially the Bush doctrine: we can attack if we want to, no matter the sovereignty of the Pakistanis.
Me: Exactly Charlie. What about that Senator?
SEN. OBAMA: No, that -- that is not the same thing because here we have a situation where al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States that killed 3,000 Americans and is currently plotting to do the same, is in the territory of Pakistan. We know that. And you know, this is not speculation. This is not a situation where we anticipate a possible threat in the future. And my job as commander in chief will be to make sure that we strike anybody who would do America harm when we have actionable intelligence to do so.
Me: No um.. that still sounds exactly the same. Since if you recall the government of Iraq claimed to have nuclear weapons at one time, they also claimed to have biological weapons and chemical weapons (and they did have chemical weapons at one time with which Saddam Hussein killed atleast 100,000 of his own people). Then, when U.N. Inspectors tried time and time and time again to get into the country to verify this information, they were blocked. Iraq was given warning after warning which they ignored. And, like Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein made many threatening speeches. Most democrats, even Senator Clinton (this is a very good article on her record) voted to go to war. I guess the difference is possibly how we define "actionable intelligence". You think waiting until a madman has killed 3,000 of our own people is enough intelligence to say that he is probably dangerous, and I think that when a madman has killed 100,000 of his own, he most likely can't be trusted either.