Military action may sometimes be moral and constitutional, but not smart

Independent Institute
by Ivan Eland

11/24/08

“President-elect Barack Obama — showing the obligatory toughness toward foreign ‘evildoers’ needed (especially by Democrats) in American political campaigns — pledged to use the American military to go after al Qaeda in Pakistan. Of all people, his hawkish rival, Senator John McCain, who supported the unprovoked U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, criticized Obama’s approach toward Pakistan as unnecessarily incendiary. McCain’s criticism of Obama’s proposed tactics, however, was undermined by the outgoing Bush administration’s same policy. The administration has been sending unpiloted drones deeper and deeper into Pakistani territory to attack suspected al Qaeda and Taliban targets and has, on at least one occasion, used heliborne U.S. Special Forces to launch a ground attack on such sites within Pakistan. So this policy has at least some bipartisan endorsement. It also appears to have some moral sanction resulting from the right to retaliate against the perpetrators and enablers of the September 11 attacks on the United States. But the real question is whether such reflexively aggressive measures are smart policy. For the answer, some enlightenment can be gained from examining the actions of past presidents...

//www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2375


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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