Is McCain Against Taking Out Al-Libi?
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg
McCain just accused Obama of threatening to bomb our ally Pakistan, and saying that this somehow shows his inexpreience. Actually, what Obama suggested last spring was that if you have actionable intelligence, sometimes unilateral action and targeted strikes are necessary to take out terrorist targets. This seems like an odd attack for McCain, especially since the front page of the Washington Post this morning tells me this:
In the predawn hours of Jan. 29, a CIA Predator aircraft flew in a slow arc above the Pakistani town of Mir Ali. The drone's operator, relying on information secretly passed to the CIA by local informants, clicked a computer mouse and sent the first of two Hellfire missiles hurtling toward a cluster of mud-brick buildings a few miles from the town center.
The missiles killed Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander and a man who had repeatedly eluded the CIA's dragnet. It was the first successful strike against al-Qaeda's core leadership in two years, and it involved, U.S. officials say, an unusual degree of autonomy by the CIA inside Pakistan.
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.
So is McCain against taking out a top Al Qaeda operative
Al Qaeda's no. 3? Is that what he defines as inexperienced?