Daily Video

September 12, 2008

President Bush Secretly Oks Border Raids Into Pakistan

The New York Times reported Thursday that President Bush two months ago secretly approved orders for cross border raids from Afghanistan into Pakistan without prior permission from the Pakistani government.

While the US has carried out airstrikes in the region for months this is a break in strategy as it puts US military troops and CIA personal on the ground in an allied country without permission. While the US military insists the raids are part of a greater Afghanistan strategy, the army chief and newly elected government of Pakistan have roundly denounced the raids.

In this video Robert Grenier, a former CIA official and Vikram Singh, a former Defense Dept. Official discuss the broader implications in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region as well as the possible problems with engaging in yet another ground war.


“I think that we need to maintain a laser-like focus on al-Qaida, because that is a threat not just in the immediate region, but in the U.K., United States and beyond.” Robert Grenier, former CIA official

“With a raid, you are more likely to be able to have more intelligence collection come out of an operation. That is to say, you can capture, rather than just kill. So, there are definite advantages to raids in that — in that narrow — in that narrow sense.” Vikram Singh, former Defense Dept. Official

“As opposed to the tactical advantages, there are also some strategic disadvantages that Vikram was just referring to. It further radicalizes the area, and it makes it much more difficult for the Pakistanis to succeed in the long-term objective there, which is pacification of that area.” Robert Grenier, former CIA official

“Pakistan and Afghanistan kind of do need to be viewed as one big problem, an insurgency’s and international terrorists’ safe haven that happens to cross a border.” Vikram Singh, former Defense Dept. Official

Warm Up Questions

1. What is the war on terror? Who are we fighting?

2. How does the United States decide where and when to use military force?

3. Where is Pakistan? What countries border it? Why is that important?

Discussion Questions

1. Should the US send ground troops into an allied country without permission?

2. Under what conditions should the US government secretly send troops into another country?

3. What do you think about viewing the Afghanistan/ Pakistan region as one battleground? How would you feel if you lived in Afghanistan or Pakistan?

4. Research some other instances when the U.S. military acted secretly. What was the result?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

Pakistan country lesson plan

New York Times: American Forces Attack Militants on Pakistani Soil

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