Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hedgerows and Nuance

Josh Marshall gives the typical immediate post-debate analysis here and wonders why Sen. McCain didn't go after Sen. Obama like he said he would. I've already given my answer to that question (hint: something about fear and being old). And Marshall does a decent job of running through the highlights of the debate with an ending pulled from Noam Schieber over a The Plank on Sen. Obama's response to the issue of attacking Al-Qaeda. Sen. McCain continues to argue that a presidential candidate doesn't say things like that. While I think Sen. McCain is wrong, I also think the way Sen. Obama responds is too nuanced to really hit back against the McCain position. The way Sen. Obama approaches the subject now is to hedge it against the Pakistani government's willingness and ability to confront the Taliban and Al-Qaeda directly. A better formulation, I think, is to say that American forces will strike at either enemy wherever they are, particularly if the supposed ruling body will not. If we find terrorist training camps in the Yukon then Canada better prepare itself for a little fire from the sky and men with U.S. flags on their sholders running around shooting at things. Instead of tying the issue up with our concerns over the stability of Pakistan, Sen. Obama should simply side-step it all together by saying, "We will not attack Pakistan. We will attack the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. That they are in Pakistan is beside the point since the aim is not to topple the government but do what the government can't or won't.