March 29th, 2009
11:07 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama: U.S. remains prepared to pursue targets in Pakistan

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The president discussed Pakistan during a television appearance Sunday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Sunday that his administration remains prepared to order strikes against "high-value" targets within Pakistan.

Obama reiterated a previous assertion that the U.S. military would pursue extremists within Pakistan's borders after consulting with the Pakistani government.

The U.S. policy doesn't change American recognition of Pakistan's "sovereign government," Obama said during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation." But the United States needs to hold that government "more accountable."

"This is going to be hard," he added. "I'm under no illusions."

Obama said his administration remains determined to weaken or destroy al Qaeda until it no longer presents a threat to the United States.

He added that his administration is prepared to constantly adjust its strategy in Pakistan and Afghanistan as necessary.

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Filed under: Pakistan • President Obama
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. John Colombo

    Obama seems to be falling into the same trap as Bush – but is he really?. Note that he is doing what the majority of Americans want and constantly demand – which is to seek revenge for what 19 guys did to America on 9/11. Of course the problem is that it is stupid to think that killing some "high value" targets in Pakistan is going to make even a slight dent in the capacity of Islamic jihadists to carry out more 9/11 type attacks on American interests. The reality is that a 9/11 type attack ,that can be done by 19 guys and a few thousand dollars, is not preventable. But is that what Obama is really doing? I think not.

    I think what Obama may be doing is creating a very favorable political diversion from the really "tough sell" facing him on the economics issues, for which he is getting a lot of heat. By continuing the popular "war on terror" he will maintain the political capital he will need to sell his economic program.

    I think Obama is a better politician than most give him credit for, but it also includes a level of callous disregard for the casualties of war sacrificed for political goals – something that I do not condone.

    March 29, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Erfan

    justwondering ... I meant Pakistan has been much more stable country than Afghanistan. I would not like to get into details.

    Let not compare Pakistan's stability with western countries. As far as, stability in Pakistan is concerned, Pakistan is in its best stable position right now since we have democracy functioning. However these terrorists elements are trying to de-stabalize Pakistan.

    March 29, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Ken Sawyer

    He will send the troops to Afghanistan with full approval of his voting followers and when the war starts to turn sour, as it might and the draft starts, these same one's ,just like Vietnam Janes will be spitting on our soldiers and calling them baby killers when they return. This ,in their eyes is a just war , because Obama supports it.

    March 29, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. Sam

    > " But the United States needs to hold that government "more accountable."

    I wonder how Obama can achieve that very important goal.

    March 29, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Ken Sawyer

    We still have no friends in the world-only those who want us to fight their wars and pull their fat out of the fire. We should not send any more money to any nation that is not fighting beside us nor buy one product they produce. We could win this war with help.

    March 29, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Jon Samuel

    Catol said "The ball was dropped when the intelligence estimate said that Bin Laden was planning on striking within the U.S. And that was in August, 2001 under VIce President Cheney."

    er .. that would be under President Bill Clinton in the 90s in between being serviced by Monica. Clinton turned down the chance to take him out. Clinton did nothing after the 1st WTC attack and then Al Qaeda followed through on 9/11, After 9/11 as one would expect Al Qaeda went into hiding.

    Now we have a clueless Obama shooting off his mouth about things he knows nothing about. At least he knows enough to keep his mouth shut on Bush's success in Iraq and change the subject and talk about Afghanistan.

    March 29, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. al1

    President bush waisted time in iraq for personal gains, and personal agenda, meanwhile President Obama without waisting anytime knows what needs to be done and going on the right path......What was the point of going in war with iraq? Pakistan is where these bad guys are and we are going after them...good job President obama....I think President bush should be tried for war crime......

    March 29, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. TlalocBrooklyn

    I am stunned that other people are stunned that Obama is moving more troops to Afghanistan. This was something he repeatedly said he would do during his presidential campaign. Over and over again, he said we would draw down troops in Iraq and increase our forces in Afghanistan. In fact, it was something of a campaign promise. I'm for it, others aren't, and there's a legitimate debate to be had; but if you didn't know this was on the agenda, you really weren't paying attention to the campaigns.

    March 29, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Ken Sawyer

    Moderate everything I send. I am too old to fight your wars but most of you sitting there in your cushey jobs and deciding who speaks are there because our sons, fathers and grandfathers made it possible.

    March 29, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. ran

    Yes we should if they are not going to.

    March 29, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. al1

    erfan you have no idea what you are talking about...have you been to pakistan....and what stability are you talkin about....they are stable in one thing that is blowing up stuff...pakistan has never been peaceful...they have attacked India 11 times in last 7 years with suicide bombs...ISI is mixed up with terrorist them selves..pakistan is not a true democratic country in my opinion...

    March 29, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. harry1

    How about protecting the integrity of US Borders and taking our troops out of foreign harms way and putting them on our borders.and protecting the American people. Why do we have to send troops and money to countries that hate us.....Enough!!!!!!

    March 29, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. paul diers

    What does this president think he is doing? Lets see, drawing down troops in iraq, while an unstable neighbor, iran, sits by ready to pounce. Increasing troop strength and sending billions of dollars in afghanistan, which is a wasteland and will never become a productive nation, while at the same time trimming the defense budget. Many veterans of the armed services right now are being told they are not welcome back. I don't think the american people got what they were promised when he was elected..i wont even mention the multi trillion dollar deficit, and the U.S. on the brink of going broke. Mr. Obama you need to take care of the american people..not big business, i.e. your campaign contributors, throwing good money down the drain..i.e. all your ridiculous bailout plans. Stop worrying about Pakistan and worry about the american people..or very soon there wont be a homeland to protect.

    March 29, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. Adnan N Kiani

    I think Obama gave a good speech and a good interview today as well. However, I am not too much surprised by the comments people wrote here. This shows the limited knowledge of people regarding that region. Extremism and fanaticsm is every one's problem, whether its in the Middle East, Ireland, Germany or South Asia. I must say that in order to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan one has to have a fair policy which does not favor one country and harm others. There is concrete proof that Pakistan's neighbours are injecting millions of dollars to destabilize the country and world has to acknowledge and tackle that problem to alleviate Pakistan's concerns. At the same time US government has to reach out to common people and this should not be through corrupt leadership of Afghanistan. World has to stop blaming ISI for every problem. Until and unless Afghanistan's corrupt government is not held accountable and there's no change in the life of a common man this war will continue to linger on. I think President Obama is a good leader who has sent a sensible and important message to the world and I am sure his policies will help improve the image of US abroad.

    March 29, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I am so tired of hearing people say Bush made us safer. How is that possible when he never went after the enemy who is still at large. If Bush had done his job instead of going after Saddam and WMDs because he threatened to kill his father the terrorist wouldn't be all over the world growing stronger in numbers.

    March 29, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Meka

    Thank you President Obama . . . GO TO THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM!

    March 29, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. al

    we shold all support President Obama as he is trying to do the right things for Americans. We got to stop aiding the Pakistani as they have not held on their promise. I think after giving them so much money they have spent it on terror attacks in India and the world...Let's go to war with Pakistan and wipe them out completely.
    as for bush going to war, he has not accomplished anything and the main reason is that he was at the wrong place.....President Obama has picked the right path and place and we should support the war with pakistan to bring peace....

    March 29, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. pakyaw

    The Prez had a lot ot potential 60 days age. Now he has:
    Transformed a market economy into a socialist economy..Castro must be laughing to heaven and back.
    Bring home the troops by sending them home (Afghanistan). We can see from this what the big agenda is.
    Attacking targets in other sovereignties, trend setting?
    If the Us wants security, they already know the color and characteristics of the eyes, background etc of every visitor.
    They should take the same money that they want to invest in Eastern Europe for a defence shield and do it in their backyard...since the opions all say that america wants to keep out terrorism out of America.
    My opinion is that all of this is not to keep out terrorism out of the shores of America but to soldier the world over, thereby constantly sharpening their machetes. The soldier that sharpens his machete is the soldier that is prepared to conquer.

    March 29, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. jim carroll

    MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN 17,000 plus 4000 and more to...

    Mr. President, if you had caught Osama bin Laden yesterday, would you be sending 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan? It may not be the most important thing in the world to catch bin Laden. There is more than one kind of warfare. Osama used USA planes to take down the World Trade Center. Pretty smart if you look at it from a point of view that everything is fair in war. But is bin Laden being much smarter now by sucking the USA into a black hole in Afghanistan? Generals are somewhat like football players: they know how to run the same plays that they learn in high school and nothing more. If my street finder can direct my car to any location, and if you can find a cell phone in a jungle, and with all of our satellites, technology, our missile systems, our bombers and our Navy—why should we ever go on a war mission that we can’t get back home in time for dinner with the family? Mr. President, don’t get bogged down in Afghanistan like President Johnson did in Vietnam and miss a great opportunity to make America a great place for everyone. Anyway you would be more likely to find Osama in Saudi Arabia than in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
    How is 4000 more troops going to solve the problem. The terroist that
    bombed the trade center the first time and the second time were trained in America not Afghanistan. Ask Russia about Afghanistan. I see a big black hole and rhe things at home not getting done. Wake up, Mr. President. Please , go to the internetfreepress and read all...

    March 29, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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