In an interview that airs tonight on the CBS Evening News, President Elect Barack Obama tells Katie Couric that it is not essential to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, but it essential to tighten the noose and isolate him.
Couric asked Obama what he would do differently to bring Obama to justice. He replied, “Well, I think– I talked frequently during this campaign that we took our eye off the ball when we invaded Iraq. And now it’s done. My job is to withdraw in a responsible way from Iraq and stabilize the situation there. But our real focus has to be on Afghanistan, the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. And we have to put as much pressure on them as possible. I’ve already spoken to my National Security team about how we’re going to do that. And I’m confident that we can keep them on the run and ensure that they cannot train terrorists to attack our homeland. That’s my number one priority as President of the United States.”
Obama said that he would prefer that Obama be captured or killed, but he would settle for Bin Laden not being able to operate, “I think that we have to so weaken his infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function. My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he’s in a cave somewhere and can’t even communicate with his operatives then we will meet our goal of protecting America.”
I think that Bin Laden should not be ignored, but Obama is correct in saying that his first priority should be protecting America from another terrorist. I believe that Bin Laden should be captured or killed, but Obama seems to be saying that if we can get him we will, but that he is not going to make the entire national security strategy about Bin Laden.
It can be argued that if Bin Laden can be isolated and rendered ineffective, this would be just as important as capturing or killing him, but Obama is unwilling to get caught up in the potential political trap of promising to get Bin Laden, only to face consequences if his administration fails. Personally, I understand Obama’s argument, but I don’t agree with it.