August 1st, 2007
01:45 PM ET
9 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. Lyn, MD

    CNN at work again...spinning the speech to highlight what the Clinton's want you to hear. What do you bet if hillary had given the same speech they would be talking about how GREAT it was.

    August 1, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. somebody, somewhere

    It is a shame to see CNN only using snippets of Obama's and spinning them to make the story more "newsworthy". It's also sad that the most any of the 24-hour news networks aired of the speech was a couple of minutes of introductory remarks; no doubt, though, had this been a steam pipe popping or a news conference about a murdered woman in which no information could be given, we'd see 3 hours of commercial-free coverage.

    And to th75% of people posting here who just don't get it: I hope you don't vote or make any major decisions; your lack of basic reading comprehension, reasoning, and critical thinking skills is the biggest challenge this country faces.

    August 1, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Lou, Mississippi

    Some of the comments on this blog border on the insane!

    READ THE MAN'S SPEECH and stop acting like 9-11 didn't happen. Osama Bin Laden murdered over 3,000 Americans on American soil. According to our own intelligence reports, his group is stronger than before 9-11. They are going to try and kill us again, what are we suppose to do? Just let them come over here again?

    I thank the Lord for Senator Obama and his approach to this very serious situation. Bin Laden is still alive and all of us know he is in Pakistan.

    The meaning of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. Senator Obama realizes that to catch this murderer we must do things differently!

    I don't care about Pakistan's President I care about my American sisters and brothers! I care about MY COUNTRY!

    August 1, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. AJ Connecticut

    Well, he's getting the million+ Indian votes for sure!

    August 1, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. L.Ramanathan,princeton,nj.

    Till yesterday I had a doubt that Obama could be the next occupant of the Whitehouse.Today he cleared my doubts and I am convinced that he is going to be left out in the race with the display of his "diplomacy".

    August 1, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. Mr. Coffey, Raleigh, NC

    THIS BLOG IS STUPID. No one is willing to admit they only read the headline. We can't do nothing and we can't be pigheaded and rush to war. Then what? Obama talked more about using other methods than an actual war. Can everyone on this blog take the time to read the speech? You might not agree with everything in it but I think we'd all agree the HEADLINE WAS MISLEADING!!!! Man, I'm so sick of this sound bite nation. We were smarter than this.

    August 1, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. lavelle

    I think the Obama campaigen knows what there up against thats why he posted his speach for all to read. And I think in the end Obama will also expose the media for what it has been doing to damn near every American in this country. Spin a story for there own personal gain. Its disgusting they missed every single point of his speach and made it seem as though Obama is trying to just pull out of iraq and blow up pakistan...I wonder if they read the speach?

    August 1, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Yohan, Bangalore , India


    Obama has lost a lot of goodwill in pakistan with this stupid speech amognst moderates. I thought Obama was anti-war and wanted the troops home.
    Why not add Yemen /Sudan and Indonesian after your conquest of Pakistan and Afghanistan Mr. Obama.

    August 1, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Deborah, Vernon, CT

    Please, read his speech at:

    It is important to be informed instead of being ill-informed. I agree with several individuals, CNN is misqouting Senator Obama.

    Please, read his speech for yourself!

    August 1, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. Peggy, Florida

    Most of those who didn't read his speech are probably Clinton and Edwards supporters. Two Senators who didn't read the NIE report before they voted to agree with President Bush in the war with Iraq.

    Sound bites and Cliff notes (if you were in college you would get an F) seem to be what some people want instead of reading the information and making an intelligent comment.

    August 1, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. KD, Dallas, TX

    To Coffey,

    I admitted it. however, I did go back and read the speech. I challenge EVERY one of these responders to do the same. I really am VERY disappointed with CNN. I admired Obama before seeing these headlines, and was surprised at how the headlines came off. And then after reading the ENTIRE speech, I was impressed with Obama all over again. He has very clear vision about what the real threat to our country is and how to begin going about the necessary change. Change will be difficult and a long process due to the past six years of this administration and the unnecessary war they got us involved in ( and of course prior administrations have much blame to take into consideration..for one, by training Al Qaeda to fight the Soviets, etc). I was like Obama and never believed in going into a stupid, not thought out war-Iraq. We needed to focus on what the real threat is....imminent threat versus preemptive me it's the America I believe in. 911 should have been a call to be more informed and eliminate the threat. Instead, we focused on how we could improve our position with oil and lost sight of what was really important.

    August 1, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Bindex, Nicosia Cyprus

    You guys have all gotten it wrong, please people learn to READ and UNDERSTAND issues before you start commenting on them he never said he will invade pakistan, he only said he will attack the terrosist in the region of Pakistan which we all know is not controlled by the Pakistani government if they fail to act. Even if it is politically damaging to Musharraf, we should hit this region of Pakistan if we know where the terrorists are,when the isrealis felt that Sadam hussien's nuclear reactor was a treat to the they went into iraq and destroyed it, if the US a has a very sound intelligene that osama bin laden is in a location in the pakistani tribal areas and the government of pakistan fails to act ,they US will go in and take him and his cohorts out swiftly so that he doesnt pose more treat to the US, thats what barack obama said and i believe any sensible person will believe that too,he made some very strong proposals on how to tackle terrorism and i must confess am really impressed thought he lost my vote but now i can't vote for any body else but him, i was about to make a commet berating him and what he stands for but after i read the full speech i knew i was very wrong lets learn to read before we make assertions.

    August 1, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. A, Houston, TX

    Why would you want to go into Pakistan and destabilize a country who has a minority population of extremists, and the majority is trying to fight them off. Also they are a nuclear state. Is this guy nuts or what??? I am a die heart Democrat but this is just illogical to destabilize an area that is already in a very sensitive position thanks to Mr Bush!! I hope Hillary has more brains than this guy otherwise I will have to give my vote to some independent!

    August 1, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. viva, germany

    I really appreciate Mr.Obama's comments. Pakistan is the country that historically nourishes Terrorist to wage proxy and bloody war against other nations. Till now the world did not feel the heat of that. Now its high time to cease that and put the Pakis on right path of developing theri nation.

    August 1, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Mike, Coarsegold, Calif.

    God help us if this nit-wit becomes President.

    August 1, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. John, Pittsburgh,PA

    Obama is a Genius. Be sure to READ the speech before you post your ignorant negativity. There is a lot more to it than what the headlines say. Your comments are naive. You allow the media to form an opinion for you. Do your research...then make a judgment. Here’s the link for your convenience:

    August 1, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. cliff jones, honolulu hi

    Its a little late for invading Pakistan. The US should have done that after 911. Is Mr. Obama living in the wishful world of the past? It is these kinds of comments that shows just how inexperienced he is. He needs a few more years to make the transition to the national speed of things.

    August 1, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. Steve, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Obama is the only Senator that I know of that did not vote to go to war in Iraq after 9-11. That took guts. Everyone was gung ho to go to war with Iraq after 9-11. Obama was the only Senator who question why do we need to go in Iraq? One expert on Iraq said that the United States will be in Iraq for at least the next 50 years to try to straighten the mess out we got into. My question is why are we still in Iraq? The Iraqi's don't want us over there. There is a major Civil War going on right now over there and we are caught right in the middle of it. Bin Laden and the majority of al Qaeda are in a different part of the world. Our resources and money should be in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Like Homer Simpson would say "Duh". Obama should be the next President of the United States. No doubt in my mind about that.

    August 1, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Jon Schenkemann New York, NY

    pakistan and its rogue nuclear weapons are the menace to whole world. Pakistani goverment is sheltering terrorists and lying to the American public.

    Obama will put a stop to this terrorist drama and make them face justice. I have not heard any other candidate state any plan other than Obama.

    August 1, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |

    If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen."
    – ABC News, Sept. 5, 2006.

    August 1, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. Kim, Mpls, MN

    This campaign is inside my head!! This is exactly what needs to be done!!

    Thanks for listening Senator Obama.

    August 1, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Sarah, South Bend, WA

    Up until now, I wasn't decided about Obama. Now, I really, really do not want him to win the primary. We are already at war in two countries. We do not need to take the war into a third.

    August 1, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Ryan, Boston MA

    CNN did not highlight any of the important messages in Obama's speech. Here is a particularly inspiring paragraph:

    America is at war with terrorists who killed on our soil. We are not at war with Islam. America is a compassionate nation that wants a better future for all people. The vast majority of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims have no use for bin Ladin or his bankrupt ideas. But too often since 9/11, the extremists have defined us, not the other way around.

    Read his speech. I believe in Obama and give my FULL support to his campaign for presidency.

    August 1, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Saleem London

    I am an outsider from pakistan and after fully reading his speech,i believe you guys have the right man to choose as a president, mind you if the pakistani government knows of people that pose a treat to them in the kasmir area of india where the indian government has no control, they wont hesitate to strike them out.thats what i believe he said he will do, and he said he will do it only when the pakistani government fails to act. You have to go to the tribal areas to know that the government has no control of those regions.

    August 1, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Marc Abramson, Evanston, Illinois

    Obama wants to attack Pakistan? What's his exit strategy? Musn't we get approval from the U.N. and Congress first? Won't that make the rest of the world hate us? Won't that create more terrorists? Just insert the other Democratic anti-war talking points here and you'll see what a gift that fool Obama just gave us. He'll never be President.

    August 1, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12