“If Pakistan cannot or will not act…”

A “war of words” has broken out between the US and Pakistan over the former’s decision to launch a “unauthorised unilateral action” resulting in the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani soil.

There were some relevant comments made at the first White House press briefing [2 May] following Bin Laden’s death.  At the start of the briefing the Obama Administration Press Secretary, John Carney, quoted Barack Obama in July 2008 – “We must make it clear that, if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high level terrorist targets like Bin Laden if we have them in our sights.” [Added emphasis]

When questioned by reporters, the President’s Counterterrorism Advisor, John Brennan, states that the US “didn’t contact the Pakistanis until after all of our people, all of our aircraft, were out of Pakistani airspace.”

Who made the decision, then, that Pakistan could not or would not act? And how was that decision reached?

During the press conference John Brennan also claimed that Osama Bin Laden had “engaged in [the] firefight”, was “hiding behind women” and that Bin Laden’s wife “served as a shield” when she had been shot.  He qualified those points with a “reportedly” and a “it is my understanding”.  Subsequently, the Administration’s Press Secretary, John Carney, clarified the situation.

The Telegraph’s Toby Harden has some other questions about the White House’s account.

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  • RepublicanStones

    Talk about foot in mouth syndrome.

    No doubt the ham-fisted approach the White House has taken in revealing the details of the raid, is a boon opponents of Obama, who will no doubt use it to take a little height of his projected bounce.

  • Pete Baker

    “Talk about foot in mouth syndrome.”

    Well, RS, the new approved version is that Bin Laden was unarmed, but resisted ‘capture’.

    So they shot him in the head. Twice, I think.

    As for the “unauthorised unilateral action” on Pakistani soil.

    They [the US] didn’t trust them [the Pakistani authorities].

  • pippakin

    I’m relieved Bin Laden is no more and I doubt anyone is surprised that the Pakistani government were not informed….Pakistan wants American money and it does not want to be attacked, but it is a deeply religious country with many fundamentalist Islamists, some of them in the Pakistani armed forces….

    Conspiracy theorists and those few appalling, usually elderly, apologists for terror are having a field day. If only the US had had the common sense to announce the mass murderer had been executed and refuse to give further details, instead they have provided the bullets for those anti American elements to fire. Too open but very American.

    It might not harm Obama though, Americans wanted Bin Laden dead. The only thing likely to tarnish the euphoria of that ‘triumph’ would be his resurrection and it makes no difference how many days go by, that is not going to happen.

  • Greenflag

    President Obama is to lay a wreath at ground zero as a ‘closure ‘ moment for the families and victims of the 9/11 atrocity . He also made a decision not to public pictures of the dead Osama Bin Laden .

    Sounds just about right to me .

  • Henry94

    I don’t see the need for pictures. If he isn’t dead he won’t be long telling us.

  • Greenflag

    ‘If he isn’t dead he won’t be long telling us.’

    Indeed -the video would already have been played on Al Jazerra


  • lamhdearg

    Meanwhile in world news.
    A reasonably large piece of shit has hit the N.A.T.O. fan.

    “It is “highly likely” that Nato aircraft were behind a deadly overnight raid on a Pakistani border checkpoint, a Nato spokesman has told the BBC.”.

    “Killing 24”


    30 Sept 2010: Nato helicopters kill two Pakistani soldiers, prompting nearly two-week border closure in protest
    22 April 2011: Supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan halted for three days in protest over drone attacks
    2 May: US announces Bin Laden’s death and says Pakistan not warned of raid
    2 June: Top US military chief Adm Mike Mullen admits “significant” cut in US troops in Pakistan
    10 July: US suspends $800m of military aid
    22 Sept: Outgoing US Adm Mullen accuses Pakistan of supporting Haqqani militant group in Afghanistan; denied by Pakistan.

    Chief of Army (PAKISTAN) Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had strongly condemned the “blatant and unacceptable act”, and demanded “strong and urgent action be taken against those responsible for this aggression”.

  • lamhdearg

    Pakistan has ordered a review of all co-operation with the US and Nato after the alliance struck a Pakistani army checkpoint, killing at least 24 people.

    A committee chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also decided to cut supply lines to Nato in Afghanistan.

    Mr Gilani called the attack a “grave infringement of Pakistan’s sovereignty”.

  • lamhdearg

    The Pakistani government has given the US fifteen days to vacate an airfield in Balochistan province after an alleged cross-border attack which killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers