Wednesday, July 2, 2008

AP Gives Cover For Obama

Original Link:

Check this out:

Newly uncovered “rules of engagement” show the U.S. military gave elite units broad authority more than three years ago to pursue suspected terrorists into Pakistan, with no mention of telling the Pakistanis in advance.

The documents obtained by The Associated Press offer a detailed glimpse at what Army Rangers and other terrorist-hunting units were authorized to do earlier in the war on terror. And interviews with military officials suggest some of those same guidelines have remained in place, such as the right to “hot pursuit” across the border.

Pakistan, a key U.S. partner in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, has long viewed such incursions as a threat to its sovereignty. Islamabad protested loudly this month when Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama pledged to grant U.S. forces the authority to unilaterally penetrate Pakistan in the hunt for terrorist leaders.

Washington repeated assurances it would consult before any such incursions.

But summaries of the rules of engagement on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in April 2004 say chasing al-Qaida leaders across the frontier was fair game.

So you know the AP went digging to try and find something to take the heat off Obama and his comments.

There’s a problem here, though…these three qualifiers:

“Hot pursuit” of al-Qaida, Taliban and terrorist command-and-control targets “from AFG into Pakistan (must be continuous and uninterrupted).”

If the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, approved direct action “against The Big 3,” listed as Osama bin Laden; his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri; and Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar. The three are still believed to be hiding in the border region.

If the Defense secretary approved such an incursion.

In other words, there were certain criteria in play and, additionally, they had to go up the chain of command…and, unless it was a high-value target worth the inevitable outcry, then the answer would almost certainly be “no”.

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