Romney attacks Obama over Pakistan warning

WASHINGTON Sat Aug 4, 2007 6:50am IST

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Barack Obama is seen in St Louis in this July 27, 2007 file photo. Republican presidential  candidate Mitt Romney criticized Obama on Friday for vowing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary as the Obama camp issued a strident defense of his plan. REUTERS/Peter Newcomb/Files

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Barack Obama is seen in St Louis in this July 27, 2007 file photo. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized Obama on Friday for vowing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary as the Obama camp issued a strident defense of his plan.

Credit: Reuters/Peter Newcomb/Files

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized Democrat Barack Obama on Friday for vowing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary as the Obama camp issued a strident defense of his plan.

What had been an internecine foreign policy battle between rival Democrats Obama, an Illinois senator, and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, spilled into the Republican arena in the heavily contested state of Iowa.

"I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort," Romney told reporters on the campaign trail.

Obama on Wednesday said if elected president in November 2008 he would be willing to launch military strikes against al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan with or without the approval of the Pakistani government of President Pervez Musharraf.

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

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is one of the Republican front-runners, said U.S. troops "shouldn't be sent all over the world." He called Obama's comments "ill-timed" and "ill-considered."

"There is a war being waged by terrorists of different types and nature across the world," Romney said. "We want, as a civilized world, to participate with other nations in this civilized effort to help those nations reject the extreme with them."

The Obama campaign issued a memo that said the United States has deferred to the "cautious judgment" of Musharraf long enough on how to take out high-value al Qaeda targets like Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"By any measure, this strategy has not worked. Conventional wisdom would have us defer to Musharraf in perpetuity. Barack Obama wants to turn the page," said the memo written by an Obama foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power, the founding executive director of the Harvard University Carr Center for Human Rights policy.

The memo defended a number of statements by Obama in the last two weeks that have drawn criticism from Clinton and other Democratic candidates, such as his willingness to meet leaders of hostile nations without preconditions and his ruling out the use of nuclear weapons against Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"For years, Washington's conventional wisdom has held that candidates for president are judged not by their wisdom, but rather by their adherence to hackneyed rhetoric that make little sense beyond the (Washington area) Beltway," the memo said.

The Bush administration has also vowed to act against al Qaeda in Pakistan and elsewhere based on actionable intelligence. But it also is more inclined to work with and trust in the advice of Musharraf, who is struggling to deal with Islamic extremists in his country and has survived assassination attempts as a U.S. ally.

In Islamabad, the Pakistani government said Bush and Musharraf spoke by phone on Friday and that Bush described the prospect of U.S. strikes against al Qaeda in Pakistan as unsavory.

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ten Years On

Ten Years On

10 years on, tsunami warning stumbles at the "last mile".  Full Article 

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Hopeful Dhoni

Hopeful Dhoni

India's new vintage nearly ready, says Dhoni.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Ali Hospitalized

Ali Hospitalized

Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage