In its third and final excerpt from Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s Wars,” The Washington Post revealed that the U.S. military has identified and secretly targeted about 150 terrorist camps in Pakistan, but that the Obama administration is waiting for another terrorist attack on the United States before bombing the sites.
In May, Woodward reports, President Obama sent his national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, and CIA Director Leon Panetta to Pakistan. At a meeting in Islamabad, Jones told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari that, if there were a successful future terrorist attack against the United States, “Obama would be forced to do things that Pakistan would not like,” Woodward wrote.
“No one will be able to stop the response and consequences,” Jones told Zardari. “This is not a threat, just a statement of political fact.”
According to Woodward, “Jones did not give specifics about what he meant. The Obama administration had a ‘retribution’ plan, one of the most sensitive and secretive of all military contingencies. The plan called for bombing about 150 identified terrorist camps in a brutal, punishing attack inside Pakistan.”
But some critics of the president are wondering why America should have to wait for another terror attack before going after so many known terror camps, where Islamist operatives are undoubtedly being trained for attacks against the United States, Israel, and our allies in Europe.
A Washington Times editorial on Tuesday warned, “It’s a mistake to wait for an attack on our homeland. If the plan is in place and the targets selected, why not attack them now?”
The conservative editorial page even offered some political counsel to the president: “If America suffers a major terrorist attack on President Obama’s watch that could have been pre-empted, he won’t be able to count on the national unity Mr. Bush enjoyed nine years ago.”
Gen. Jones and spy chief Panetta both told the Pakistani president that, as Woodward described it, “There might be no way to save the strategic partnership” between the United States and the Pakistani government if a successful attack struck the U.S. homeland.
“If that happens, all bets are off,” Panetta told President Zardari, according to Woodward.
Pakistan, with a strong presence of both Taliban and high-ranking al-Qaida terrorist operatives, is the only Islamic state in the world possessing nuclear weapons.
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