‘To The Gates Of Hell’ — Just Not Into Pakistan

goldfarb21.JPGTaking a break from this week’s main project of expelling great volumes of sanctimonious gas over whether John McCain falsely shared the “cross in the dirt” story as his own — or only just happened to remember this totally true anecdote right around the time he needed to ingratiate himself with the religious right — McCainblogger Mike Goldfarb falsely attributes some comments to Barack Obama.

Goldfarb writes that last August, Obama “threatened to send troops across the Afghan border,” and now Obama is “criticiz[ing] McCain for not echoing his own ill-advised comments on Pakistan.”

Goldfarb is probably referring to this speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center, in which Obama declared:

If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets, and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.

“Threatened to send troops across the Afghan border”? Looks like Goldfarb just made that part up.

Of course, John McCain had already signaled back in February that we could expect this sort of dishonesty from his campaign when he attacked that speech by claiming that Obama had “suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan.”

Unfortunately for Straighttalk McSurge, that very same week the Washington Post ran a story detailing how, weeks earlier, the CIA had had actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets in Pakistan, and President Musharraf wouldn’t act, so the CIA did. On Jan. 29, a CIA Predator aircraft killed Abu Laith al-Libi, “a senior al-Qaeda commander and a man who had repeatedly eluded the CIA’s dragnet.” The Post described the operation as “the first successful strike against al-Qaeda’s core leadership in two years”:

Having requested the Pakistani government’s official permission for such strikes on previous occasions, only to be put off or turned down, this time the U.S. spy agency did not seek approval. The government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was notified only as the operation was underway, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.

Officials say the incident was a model of how Washington often scores its rare victories these days in the fight against al-Qaeda inside Pakistan’s national borders: It acts with assistance from well-paid sympathizers inside the country, but without getting the government’s formal permission beforehand.

To sum up, the United States scored this victory against Al Qaeda by following precisely the policy that McCain derided, and which, according to Goldfarb, McCain still considers “ill-advised.” (I guess McCain will follow Osama bin Laden “to the gates of hell” — just not into Pakistan?)

It’s clear that it was McCain who was confused here — after all, he was for Musharraf before he was against him — so it’s unsurprising that his campaign is now trying to muddy the record.