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White House Won’t Rule Out Troops for Pakistan War

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2009/03/white-house-won.html
President Obama has just laid out his new war strategy. And he’s made it clear that the fight is both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. So I asked Dennis McDonough, with the National Security Council: Does that mean U.S. ground forces in Pakistan? Or more drone attacks? “I’m not going to comment on the notions you laid out there,” he answered, during a White House conference call with bloggers. But during a separate press conference, Bruce Reidel, who recently completed a strategy review of the region for the White House, offered some hints. “Thus far, our policy sees Afghanistan and Pakistan as two countries, but one theater of operations for our diplomacy, and one challenge for our overall policy,” he said. “We have very concrete proposals for increasing economic assistance to Pakistan, proposals that have already been put forward by the Congress. We’re also looking at what we can do on the military side.” Michele Flournoy, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, added, “I certainly believe we are going to be increasing our intelligence focus in this [Afghan-Pakistan] theater, and as opportunities arise that may increase the pace of operations, as well.” Richard Holbrooke, the administration special envoy to the region, said about Pakistan: “of all the dilemmas, problems and challenges we face, that’s going to be the most daunting, because it’s a sovereign country and there is a red line. And the red line is unambiguous and stated publicly by the Pakistani government over and over again: No foreign troops on our soil.” Last week, Holbrooke said “we must respect” that “red line.” Yet, when given the opportunity today to state unambiguously that U.S. troops won’t go to Pakistan, administration officials didn’t give a clear answer. If anything, they side-stepped the question.
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March 27, 2009 - Posted by | Imperial Hubris

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