FLASHBACK: Bush Insisted U.S. Needed "To Be Invited" To Pursue Bin Laden In Pakistan

May 02, 2011 1:42 pm ET — Jamison Foser

When then-Sen. Barack Obama said in 2007, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets [in Pakistan] and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will," the right-wing media immediately freaked out, accusing Obama of wanting to invade Pakistan. But they weren't the only conservatives who insisted on getting Pakistan's permission before taking out Osama bin Laden: so did then-President George W. Bush. Here's an exchange from a September 15, 2006, press conference:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Earlier this week, you told a group of journalists that you thought the idea of sending Special Forces to Pakistan to hunt down bin Laden was a strategy that would not work.

BUSH: Yes.

Q Now, recently, you've also —

BUSH: Because, first of all, Pakistan is a sovereign nation.

Q Well, recently, you've also described bin Laden as a sort of modern day Hitler or Mussolini. And I'm wondering why, if you can explain why you think it's a bad idea to send more resources to hunt down bin Laden, wherever he is?

BUSH: We are, Richard. Thank you. Thanks for asking the question. They were asking me about somebody's report, well, Special Forces here — Pakistan — if he is in Pakistan, as this person thought he might be, who is asking the question — Pakistan is a sovereign nation. In order for us to send thousands of troops into a sovereign nation, we've got to be invited by the government of Pakistan.

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