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. Chris

    Too many comments about how we should "cooperate with the Taliban". The Taliban is not a legitimate Afghan government. They're warlords who've taken over the country. No, we shouldn't cooperate with them. That's ridiculous. And Pakistan is a country run by a military dictator as well. The freely elected Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by that government, so we have no obligation to cooperate with the Pakistan government either. We need to do what is in the best interest of ourselves and freedom in general. Those who live in Pakistan/Afghanistan for the most part are living in tyrannical conditions and would love to see THEIR leaders in place, not the dictatorships that are now ruling.

    March 29, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Indlvin

    Killing Bin Laden would make another take over his spot and the same terrorism will continue. Our main aim should be is to eliminate terrorism not just kill one person and be happy. Our attacks should be so bad that any terrorist should have a run of fear in his/her veins to even THINK about causing any harm to any NATION.

    March 29, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. jane

    i think it's refreshing to hear new plans and new goals for our country. The steps that he is willing to take to help the united states come together. it makes me feel more proud to be an american.

    March 29, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. noloatmo

    Obama is just continuing what the Bush government had planned in the last 2 years so, there is nothing new here. The only merit Obama has in all this is to have kept Robert Gates as Sec Def and NOT reverse this strategy of striking in Pakistan when needed. And by the way, to answer those who believe that Bush has failed because he did not capture or kill Bin Laden: Al-Quaeda is a decentralized organization. They don't need Bin Laden to operate. He is just a symbol, maybe a powerful one but just a symbolic figure nonetheless. So the war on terror is much more complicated than "go in, kill a guy and get out."

    March 29, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Art H

    Finally, after frittering away the past several years on the misguided adventure in Iraq, we are back to where we should have been from the start.

    If the Iraq misadventure had not forced us to divert our resources away from Afghanistan, we would have been able to stabilize the place by now and not allow the Islamic extremists to re-group and re-strengthen and spread their tentacles futher inland into the Pakistani heartland.

    Better late than never, even though this time around, we are facing a much more motivated, strengthened and re-supplied enemy, who are well entrenched in the inhospitable mountain regions.

    We need to thank the Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney/neo-con idiots for this situation, who frittered away the world's goodwill by moving into the Iraq mis-adventure and lost the key momentum gained in Afghanistan. The fact that they were able to hoodwink the American public to go along with it, (while leaving Afghanistan undone) was definitely a masterful act.

    March 29, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. BP

    To those Bush-lovers who are griping that Obama is now doing the same thing Bush did, you couldn't be more wrong. Bush went into Iraq and justified it with 9/11–that's pretty disconnected. Obama is doing now what Bush should have done then. I believe that if Bush had stepped up the war in Afghanistan and entered Pakistan rather than entering a completely different country, his approval ratings would have gone through the roof. But, no, this is hardly the same situation–Bush misled the American people by justifying Iraq with 9/11 and WMDs. Obama is going after proven safe havens of those who carried out 9/11.

    March 29, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Scott AZ

    Some change, Bush did the same thing.

    Of course those of you who lives in major cities on the East coast might use some precaution the next time you get into a taxi, the driver might have had a relative killed in Paksitan by a Predator missile strike and might be looking for a little payback.

    March 29, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Chris B.

    I'm glad to hear that the president is willing to defend this nation. If terrorists want to try and hide in Pakistan we will come get them. It's about time other country's and terrorist start realizing that America will come get you if you threaten us. Mabey the United States should just cut off ALL aid to these countries who harbor terrorists

    March 29, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Umesh

    We have no other option but strike in Pakistan. Pakistani army is playing double game – it takes money from us and supports Taliban and other terrorists to fight against us. Actually we should be in Pakistan where the terrorists have safe heavens.

    March 29, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. JP

    I wholeheartedly support the President's policy. While I revere Pakistan's sovereignty as a nation, its feet must be held to fire to ensure that it does not fund, support, or harbor terrorists on its soil and does everything in its power to eradicate these public enemies.

    March 29, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Pat F

    salman aziz: The Taliban murdered thousands of our citizens. We are not inclined to offer ransom and bribes to murderers. Terrorism is not going to work with us. Sorry – maybe if Afghanistan decided to leave the 13th century, we could talk.

    March 29, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. lakhs

    I think president Obama is right. Time has come for Pakistan, a country whose GDP will collapse without American aid, to show some sense of maturity and stop sponsoring terrorism. Islamic terrorism has changed colors since the war on terror began. Instead of hiding in this caves of Afghanistan it now hides behind the sovreignity of Pakistan. If we want to deal with the terror in real terms we stop thinking that the Pakistan Government will take care of it itself with foreign aid. Is there an effective Government in Pakistan? Has there ever been...

    March 29, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Edward

    At least he's going after them where they are rather than attacked a random country and causes them to surface there (Iraq).

    March 29, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Alex

    Good job for a REAL President. People, stop being morons. This is a HUGE change from Bush's policies, remember, all Bush did was get the entire world pissed off at us and then bully them, while Obama actually engages them. You know, if you talk to someone, you look them in the face and speak to them (Obama's tactic) not just do what you want, or they will fight back (Bush's tactic). Educate yourselves, you embarass the US as citizens when you act like you never went to school.

    March 29, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. scott

    Obam is turning out to be a disaster. His two faced policy decisions will come back to haunt him in the next election cycle.

    Change we can believe in? hardly...

    March 29, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. HereWeGoAgain

    I think I've heard this exact same line for the past 8 years! So is this the "change we can believe in" preached by Obama? Just another example of our political reality math: Democrat = Republican!!!

    March 29, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. I. Tareen

    To those itching to pull the trigger on yet another country, please have '3 Cups of Tea' to better appreciate the root causes of hatred and possibly a better approach to eradicating terrorism on a more sustainable basis.

    March 29, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Otto

    It's Sunday and too much kool aid! It was President Obama's idea to go after high value targets in Pakistan; not President George Bush.
    President Obama too heat for saying he would go after those targets during the nimination process last year.

    The Republicans, including John McCain came out strongly and spoke out about that idea. It was not long after President Obama said those words that President Bush began doing exactly that.

    To the poster who wrote it was President Bush idea, you are wrong and it makes no sense writing anything about President Bush in this article.

    It was President Bush who pulled our forces out of Afghanistan and ran to Iraq in the first place. If Bush had completed the war in Afghanistan and caught or killed those responsible for 9/11; our people would have been out long ago.

    Keep drinking your kool aid but in the mean time, get common sense or shut up!

    March 29, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Edward

    At least he's going after Al Qaeda where they are rather than attacking a random country and causing them to surface there (Iraq).

    March 29, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. Dave

    Glad to see BO continuing the war in the Middle East. I was worried during his campaign that he was going to pull out the troops if he got into office. Fortunately, that was just a campaign ploy to lure liberals.

    March 29, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Keith Shelton

    Terrorism is an IDEA. It's not something you can fight with military and bombing runs. You fight ideas with ideas!

    Going to war with Al Queda and the Taliban is exactly what these organizations want because they know they can then have more influence on the surrounding populace. Look at how many Iraqi's turned to Al Queda after the US invaded.

    Declaring war on an idea. Ridiculous. America has a powerful propaganda machine. We need to be using that to battle Al Queda, not our military.

    March 29, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. T

    I did not vote for Obama or McCain. I do, however, agree with Obama's approach to Afghanitan.

    The funny part, though, is that all the Bush/Republican haters who cry about illegal wars, crimes against humanity, war-mongering, and so on...are now completely supporting Obama's surge.

    So I guess they weren't for peace, they were just against a political party.

    Its peoples' complete lack of objectivity that will prevent anyone who claims to be alligned with a political party from ever viewing something neutrally and then making an enlightened decision. Instead, people will automatically oppose whatever one party does and blindly support the opposite without truly considering either side

    March 29, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Eric

    The equation is maddeningly simple. They (Arabs, Taliban) want us dead. We need to kill more of them. Enough so that the losses become unacceptable to their man on the street. This is not peculiar to any one administration or party. The side that kills the most of their enemy wins. Any questions ???

    March 29, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Edward

    Well, well, well, Obama promised to get us out of Iraq. I didn't realize it was just to get us into a bigger war. What is this guy doing???


    He's fighting the war that should have been fought instead of the mistake that was Iraq. Obama never said that he was against wars ... he said that he was against dumb wars.

    March 29, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. steve d

    I did not vote for Obama, but I am please to see he has the courage to
    fight a war to keep our country and the world a safer place.
    I know he is going against his anti-war campaign rhetoric.
    I assume it all changed when he began to read the same security briefs
    Bush and his team were getting.

    March 29, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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