August 1st, 2007
01:45 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama: Shift fight to Afghanistan, Pakistan

Obama discussed his ideas for fighting terrorism on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) –Sen. Barack Obama says he would shift the war on terror to Afghanistan and Pakistan in a speech he delivered Wednesday.

In his speech, Obama, D-Illinois, said things would look different in an Obama administration: “When I am president, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland."

Obama says the war in Iraq has left Americans more in danger than before 9/11.

"The President would have us believe that every bomb in Baghdad is part of al Qaeda's war against us, not an Iraqi civil war," Obama will say. "He elevates al Qaeda in Iraq - which didn't exist before our invasion - and overlooks the people who hit us on 9/11, who are training recruits in Pakistan."

Despite the challenges, and potentially destabilizing effect U.S. military action inside Pakistan could create, Obama said it was important to remain enagaged there. "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again," he will say. "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."

Obama also reiterated his disagreement with the Bush administration's diplomatic posture. "It’s time to turn the page on the diplomacy of tough talk and no action," he said. "It’s time to turn the page on Washington’s conventional wisdom that agreement must be reached before you meet, that talking to other countries is some kind of reward, and that Presidents can only meet with people who will tell them what they want to hear."

Obama also said he would create an international intelligence and law enforcement infrastructure to address terrorist threats from Indonesia to Africa.

Obama delivered his remarks at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iraq • Race to '08
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. luckee

    I really know in politic people only like to hear the nice thinks they'll never see in the reality.Just faux thinks.Obama said nothing wrong.He never said he will invade Pak.he said
    if Pak refuses to end the terroriste activities We will.In my SENS ,Obama is too much serious to do politic.People dont like someone w/honesty.

    August 1, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    obama doesnt even know how much is pakistan doing in the war of terror, he is just being a jerk

    August 1, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Cindy, CA

    You can't end a war by starting new ones. Someone like Obama has a quick tongue and it's obvious no thought process. We need to gain our respect back in the international community and simultaneously strategize on how to go after terrorism. We're more likely to get anti-terrorism support if the international community respects us. It's a big world, we can't do it alone...even though some cowboys think we can.

    August 1, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. dreski, Austin Texas

    We're not lazy, we're stupid. Obama is not talking about invading Pakistan. Reading comprehension will be our downfall. As far as talking with Cuba, Iran and the others.....Sun-tzu Chinese general & military strategist said "keep your friend close, but your enemies closer."

    August 1, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. nogibbons.blogspot.com

    "Were not attacking Pakistan.."

    Exactly. We'd strike Al Qaeda elements inside Pakistan if Musharraf fails to act in time.

    Read for comprehension, Righty.

    August 1, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Josh

    Why do people continue to post mindlessly without reading previous posts or, GASP, the actual speech itself? HE DIDN'T SAY HE WOULD ATTACK PAKISTAN!!!!! HE SAID WE WOULD GO ATTACK THE TERRORISTS IN THE UNGOVERNED REGIONS OF PAKISTAN ONLY IF PAKISTAN DIDN'T DO IT THEMSELVES!!!! Even Bush wouldn't attack Pakistan, and Obama is about 100 times smarter than Bush. OBAMA NEVER SAID HE WOULD ATTACK PAKISTAN!!!!

    August 1, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. nogibbons.blogspot.com

    Hey, look! CNN bowed to pressure and changed the headline. LOL!

    August 1, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Jay Charlotte, NC

    Glad CNN finally changed the headline. Maybe this will get more people to actually read the whole story and THEN comment on it.

    August 1, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Cindy, CA

    People, what would you call the attack of the twin towers? Would you say; it was an attack of the twin towers only or that it was an attack on the U.S? Once you invade another country, it's an attack on that country. I don't care if it's hillside, mountains, rivers or whatever, you go into that country and it's an attack on that country. Please let's vote someone in with some common sense and just a little intelligence.

    August 1, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. KD, Dallas, TX

    Thank you CNN for changing the heading to this thread. I cannot believe that what I once felt a very respected news reporting station would misrepresent the truth like that. I always felt that many of the other channels were not giving us honest news, or were swaying it towards one political party or person. Then to see that CNN manipulated words so much, it worried me. I have come to be so discouraged by how the Bush administration manipulated facts and people's emotions to get what they wanted...a war that we DID NOT need to be in and quite possibly an election. I thought we were getting through that kind of country. To me Obama represents change. We so need change in Washington. What worries me about today's prior headline in this thread is that there are so many, many ignorant people in this country. They will live with that headline just as they still live with Iraq being involved in 911- a complete NON TRUTH. Manipulation causes so much difficulty and we cannot afford to have it influence the "#1's anymorem there are way too many ignorant, quick to judge people in our country. I am trying to be patient as a #2....one who never supported Bush's stance and saw what he was doing VERY early on. Please report news correctly for all of our sake.

    August 1, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. John S. Chicago, Illinois

    I tried to post the entire speech like 10 times earlier when the negative headline was up and the moderator removed my post each time. As far as im concerned CNN IS NO LONGER A CREDIBLE NEWS SOURCE. Its obvious that they are not PROVIDING THE PUBLIC WITH AN UNBIASED POSITION REGARDING THE MOST IMPORTANT NEWS OUT OF OUR COUNTRY.

    I WONDER WHO ACTUALLY HAS THEIR HANDS IN CNN"S POCKETS ANYWAYS> I've always pictured it to be some crazy old coot with a long white beard and hair, and a long white smock, held up in a germ free bio-hazard proof stable type room on the top floor of some huge building or like a mile below the earths crust just pushing buttons to have robots do his/her (her? cmon seriously) bidding.

    I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THAT ANYONE IN THE MEDIA IS ABLE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT ANYMORE, THEY SHOULD ALL BE HAVING HAUNTING NIGHTMARES.

    August 1, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. Chima Ordu, York, PA

    Once again, people are rushing to condemn Obama's position without even reading his entire speech. Even our lazy ass media and the pundits...no one has taken the time to actual READ the damn speech before rushing out with incorrect headlines about what Obama said. I'm particulary annoyed that the same people on the right who supported Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend when she said the exact same thing 2 weeks ago on the Sunday talk shows are now expressing this fake outrage at Obama.

    Where is the intellecual honesty in this country? At least Obama is being honest in what his approach will be, and I'm sure he knew he would get attacked for it.

    I'm reading comments on some blogs about this from people who obviously have not taken the time to READ THE SPEECH, and they are going on about Obama advocating a unilateral invasion and occupation of Pakistan and bla bla bla.

    I feel so sad that we as Americans have become so lazy when it comes to getting the information critical to making important decisions such as picking a President. Obama did not advocate some reckless policy...it's a well thought out and realistic policy that weighs the realities of relations with Pakistan against the critical need to destroy Al Qaeda which is propped up by Pakistan.

    August 1, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    To all of the racist on this post...

    Newsweek
    A new study finds that blacks on death row convicted of killing whites are more likely to be executed than whites who kill minorities. It also concludes that blacks who kill other minorities are less likely to be executed than blacks who kill whites. The authors of the report say their findings raise serious doubts about claims that the U.S. criminal justice system is colorblind.

    If Bin Laden was black and we had no intrest in the Middle East he would be done! The reason not to go after him is because of money and political control. The more money and political power people make off of the fear of Bin Laden the longer he chills in the shade sipping iced tea. Wake up America!

    August 1, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. cliff jones, honolulu hi

    To the blogger that wrote Obama was the only senator that he knew that didn't vote for the war, what world are you living in? Obama was not a U.S. Senator when we went to war. He didn't have a vote in the matter. Further more, anyone that wants to go over and rumble with Pakistan who is surrounded by nuclear weapons capable countries is nuts! Obama's reactionary bloggers should go on back to school. This time learn something about politics and the rest of the world.

    August 1, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. James, Cincinnati, OH

    Fitting that he would deliver this speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, since it was Wilson's "scholarship" that embarked 100 years of "making the world safe for democracy." Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq prove the implausibility of that notion. It seems, Obama is intent on more of the same–more war, more fear-mongering, more robbing of U.S. social programs to bolster foreign markets and "democratic" dictatorships. Yawn.

    August 1, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Bill, Covina, California

    Great......another idiot to lead us into another conflict. Hey! Did anyone ever think that if we left Pakistan alone that they would just maybe leave us alone? Obama supporters, please make sure you know everything about the person your voting for.

    August 1, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. A. Los Angeles California

    I believe other politicians have said this same thing before. Even republicans have describe this same "new" plan. Obama is clearly not cut out to be my president. HIp HIp HILLARAY!!!

    August 1, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Jeremy Neill Huntington Beach

    Thank you for making so clear the dirrerence between Pundits er, I mean politicians, and people. The fact that no news organization has put on anyone who actually agrees with Obama's position on pakistan: just say what you mean: "Silly naive negro..." What would people have said right after 9-11 if some politcian would have oppossed such a strike when we knew exactly where Bin Laden is like we do now? I didn't here ANY of your pundits talking about what an assenine idea going into Iraq would be in 2003. This is the first time I have ever considered voting for Obama stricly for your reaction to him; for the "naivite" of speaking the truth plainly without regard for the kabalistic "knowledge" that some truth should not be spoken. The fact that we (and your orgnization suporting it essentially) as a nation are willing to attack a nation showing not to have had any impact on national security until now, but unwilling to attack a nation we know to be harboring Bin Laden himself because they have a nuke....what message does that send to the world? GET A NUKE and we won't attack you! Wake up. Your propagada like support for the status quo is undermining our national security!, jeremyneill@earthlink.net, jeremyneill@mac.com

    August 1, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    This battle between Obaby and Hillarious is just precious.

    I for one am thoroughly looking forward to watching them tear each other to shreds! Will make for some great TV!

    August 1, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Erik

    All of these senators and so-called experts coming out against Obama are frauds! Dodd, Biden and Clinton stood before the American public vowing to get the terrorist then authorize a war with a country that has nothing to do with Sept 11! Then when Obama lays down the law and tries to focus back on the original mission they attack him. They say don’t announce when you are going to attack. To you frauds out there it’s a punk move to hit a man when he's not looking. This is why the world hates us! A real man or woman will look you in the face and say what's real. Obama did not say he wants war he want justice! He's a real senator and soon to be president!

    August 1, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. Gareth Nisbett, Kennewick, WA.

    Is Mr Obama out of his mind? To send unwanted troops to (or start military actions in) a foreign country, in this case Pakistan) makes him no better than the individual who currently resides in the White House. I am no particular fan of Ms Clinton but I had hoped that Mr Obama would be a candidate I could vote for. With naive foreign policy views such as the above I will have to write him off as a potential for President.
    The Democrats seem to have shot themselves in the foot. I did not particularly want to vote in another Republican but Fred Thompson is rapidly becoming my candidate of choice.

    August 1, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  22. Outraged Political Activist

    I cant say it enough. Be informed before you vote, blog, or even open your mouth.

    I feel he is being mis quoted. I slightly disagree about his solution but he is right on the money with his claims.

    Read his speech before commenting on it.

    August 1, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. Dan, TX

    After thinking about this a bit. I do think Obama overreached a little. The chances of there being overwhelming actionable intelligence sufficient to risk offending/destabilizing Pakistan is slim. If there were such intelligence, then yes, we should take action. But the reality is that it is unlikely we will ever have that intelligence (without Pakistani assistance). So, it may score some political points domestically, but I think it is more realistic to simply state that we should focus on finishing the job in Afganistan. That includes action in territories belonging to Pakistan, but the reality is that it is only going to happen with joint US/Pakistan action. Politically, it is probably good for the US audience to say what he said, but it is just talk.

    Having said that, I appreciate Obama's views and I regard him highly.

    August 1, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. Randy, Alpine, California

    Barack Obama is so right on this issue. I hope everyone is listening.

    OBAMA 08!

    August 1, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. Erik, Powell, TN

    Sorry guys, 'our allies in Pakistan' don't control the region that Obama is talking about. Northern Pakistan is a virtual anarchic state controlled by warlords and religious fantastics. Musharraf is afraid to quell that 'quiet rebellion' and his weakness has produced another pre-9/11 Afghanistan that is destabilizing the entire region. Launching strikes within that area would not be viewed as an act of war by Islamabad. It would make Musharraf nervous for his own sake, yes, but that region is, for all intents and purposes, a rogue state independent of Pakistan. With that said, it's simply common sense to pursue actionable intelligence into the region. Though I do understand Republican fears of that day when a Democratic President brings Osama bin Laden to justice.

    August 1, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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