New York, Sept 27 : Going by party lines, Republican Party's presidential candidate John McCain should be strictly following his partyman and US President George Bush's policy of attacking Pakistan to root out terrorism, but during the first presidential debate it was Democrat Barack Obama who appeared to toe Bush's policy.
Ridiculing the ten billion dollar aid which the US administration had paid to the Pakistani military with little result, Obama essentially argued on Friday night that Bush should have carried out military action inside Pakistan "years ago".
Obama also argued that he would take the war to Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's cave door, whether Pakistan cooperated or not. And, it on the other hand, McCain argued that without Pakistan's cooperation, any such operation was doomed.
For months, McCain and Obama have argued over whether Iraq was the right war to fight in 2003, but last night they delved for the first time into the problems one of them will face on Jan. 20 after assuming the presidency -- Whether America has to be ready to carry out military action inside Pakistan, an important ally, and against Iran's nuclear program.
"It was Obama who seemed more aligned with President Bush's current policy of authorizing American special forces to cross the Afghan-Pakistan border into Pakistan's tribal areas that Al Qaeda and the Taliban have used as a sanctuary," said an article in the New York Times.
According to the paper, McCain took the position that Bush had taken until this summer, when the President gave up on the Pakistani government in frustration. Lately, without going public, Bush loosened the reins on American forces to go into sovereign Pakistani territory.
Obama said it was and always has been Pakistan's tribal areas and the neighboring areas of Afghanistan which have been the "central front" in the war on terrorism.
But, on the other hand, McCain said that Iraq was the central front, noting that Bin Laden himself had declared that as the battleground with America.