The press seems to be busy canonizing Obama as the next Messiah, with one story after another discussing his charisma, his success among minorities, and contrasting his “successful” campaign against that of Hillary Clinton, who is noticed mainly in news stories reporting her impending demise.

I predict that by convention time, Democrats will face the problem that they may have chosen another McGovern, and the irony is that the choice will be that they could have nominated a real challenger, a hard nosed and competent Hillary Clinton.

Novelty triumphs over experience in this case press stories that emphasize the nebulous are missing the real stories…and one story missing from the news is the little fact that Obama’s future foreign policy advisors visited Syria. The visit came about the same time as a major terrorist was killed. Called a “mythic figure” ,( apparantly without irony), by the IHTribune, and a “militant” by the IHT’s NYTimes office, Mugniyah was the Hezbollah terrorist who killed the Marines in Beruit, arranged airline hijackings, and had some complicity in the deaths of a couple thousand of New Yorkers. Few mourned when reports came out that he got himself blown up by somebody who planted a car bomb.

No reports from the Obama camp about all this, though.

Obama has won support by the pacifist left because he opposed the Iraq war and supports an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

So where are the hard questions on these policies by the media?

Another speech may come back to haunt Obama now that the press doesn’t have Hillary Clinton to push around any more.

Back then ABC News called it a “Bold Speech about War on Terror”.

In a strikingly bold speech about terrorism Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Sen. Barack Obama called not only for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but a redeployment of troops into Afghanistan and even Pakistan — with or without the permission of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

“I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges,” Obama said, “but let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. 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.”

The problem?

Well, since then a lot has changed.

At the time of the speech, Musharraf had made peace with tribal areas, essentially allowing the religious extremists alone. But it didn’t work. The terrorists started making trouble, including killing Pakistani troops, and Musharraf sent troops back in. The Islamicist backed polititicians trying to run things in the tribal areas turned out to be incompetent.

As a result of violence, public opinion turned against the extremists in the tribal areas, and the incompetence of those politicians in religious based parties led to these parties losing in the recent election.
So the recent elections turn out to be a defeat for Musharraf but not necessarily a defeat for Bush’s war on terror.

Even Musharraf may not resign: since the Pakistan election system is parliamentary, a coalition must be made between various parties. The Late President Bhutto’s party was the big winner, meaning her husband Zabari will have to make a coalition with Sharif, a leader of another party and different ethnic region, but may need to invite Musharraf’s party into the mix.

So now that the Bush policies have resulted in a shaky but viable reemergence of democracy in Pakistan, where does Obama’s “bomb Pakistan” speech stand?

Making him look naive.

Indeed, within eight hours of the election reports, McCain has used the speech to ridicule Obama:

It’s slightly counter-intuitive that Obama could sound more hawkish than McCain, but when it comes to Pakistan, that may be the case. Last night at his Wisconsin victory speech in Columbus, Ohio, McCain came out swinging against what he perceives as the Illinois senator’s naiveté of international affairs and world events.

Providing a potential sneak preview of his general election talking points, he asked, “Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan?” The likely nominee’s comments referenced a counter-terrorism policy speech that the presidential hopeful gave in August in Washington, DC.

Hmm…sounds like McCain has inherited someone from Clinton’s war room’s “quick response” attack machine.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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