9.30.2008

who just doesn't understand?

During the debate, I wanted to vomit every time McCain said "Senator Obama doesn't seem to understand..." It was pretty clearly a tactic (not strategy) decided upon pre-debate. I didn't know if he was goading Obama or what. It was annoying to me, a left leaning Democrat, but I figured it must be intended for the undecided voter, and I wondered if it worked. Well, at least one undecided voter told me it didn't, that McCain came across as an ass. This person credited Obama for not slinging veiled insults back. So that was heartening. I need to stop seeing these debates through my eyes. Obama has my vote; I need to take into account how the "independents" react. If Obama needs to do somethings that don't exactly please me, I understand.

Anyways, what the hell was the point of this? Oh yeah. So one of McCain's "Obama doesn't understand" jabs concerned Pakistan.
"There was a failed state in Pakistan when Musharraf came to power," McCain responded. "Everybody who was around then and had been there and knew about it knew that it was a failed state."
Failed state? Everybody knew? Surely the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan at the time, William Milan, must have known.

There are a number of interesting books, including a forthcoming one by me, that cover the 1999 coup by the Musharraf-led army. You might want to look at those already published by Steve Cohen, Hasan Abbas, Hussain Haqqani (long before he became the present Pakistani Ambassador), and especially Ian Talbot’s updated history of Pakistan.

I think that all of them would agree that, while there were a lot of things wrong in Pakistan during the years leading up to the 1999
military takeover, Pakistan was not a failed state as we normally define such states. I am on record as stating publicly that, having come to Pakistan from Liberia a year before the takeover, I had a pretty good idea of what failed states look like, and it was not one

Via Yglesias.
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