Give Obama Credit For Bin Laden

Monday, 07 May 2012 03:53 PM

By Chris Freind

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If you’re wondering why America can’t make even basic decisions, there are two answers: extreme partisanship and willful hypocrisy.

Forget the desire to seek truth. Many on the right and left are simply incapable of seeing the real picture. And those rare souls who rise above partisanship are viciously discredited by their own, branded “traitors” and “sellouts.”

obamagotosama.jpg
Obama gets his due from this Virginia Beach shop window.
(Getty Images)
Incessant calls for “bipartisanship” are pure campaign posturing. Once the election is over, personal attacks begin anew, demonizing adversaries for miniscule partisan advantage.

We see this now with the right’s barrage against President Obama for his “politicizing” the killing of Osama bin Laden, an attack that may backfire as it repels swing voters from the GOP and pushes the president closer to re-election.

There are countless articles that bash Obama on everything related to the bin Laden raid. Outside of throwing red meat to those who aren’t voting for Obama anyway, this misguided strategy is destroying whatever credibility the right may have had. Some common themes include:
  • Obama deserves no credit for the raid.
  • It is George W. Bush who really should be praised for nailing bin Laden (as Obama was just lucky to be on watch when the terrorist was located).
  • Navy SEALs deserve all of the credit, as they are the “real heroes” who did the job.
  • The president never thanked the SEALs or the intelligence community, instead taking all the accolades for himself.
  • A Republican would never politicize high-profile killings, war or terrorism, especially in front of a foreign leader.
Good thing George Bush never politicized Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, the capture of Saddam Hussein, WMDs, or anything related to national security. Interestingly, since national security was the only issue in which Bush held an advantage over the Democrats (after 2004), there seemed to be many “non-specific color-coded heightened terror alerts,” especially right before elections.

Of course Bush politicized security matters, even in front of a foreign leader (the Iraqi prime minister). But to some on the right, those things are simply not acknowledged, conveniently overlooked, or hypocritically justified. Which is why they have trouble winning the hearts and minds of The Great American Middle.

And because Obama wasn’t carrying a machine gun means he had nothing to do with the raid? So a coach should get no credit when he guides his team to championship because he isn’t on the field? Parents don’t deserve recognition for their children’s performance because they aren’t taking the test? CEOs shouldn’t be lauded when profits are up because they weren’t on the widget line?

And would the same “Obama wasn’t physically there” litmus test be used if Bush had been in office when bin Laden was killed? Not a chance.

If U.S. personnel were killed or captured, or the helicopters crashed into a Pakistani house, you can bet the ranch the president would have been crucified for incompetence. You can’t have it both ways. He either owns the mission or he doesn’t.

Were the SEALs courageous and competent? As always, yes. Are they unknown heroes? You bet. But we don’t live in a military dictatorship. We are led by a civilian president, and the military works for him. The SEALs didn’t go in until authorized by the president, and, while that decision now seems like a no-brainer, it was more complicated than the general public will ever know. The civilized world owes a debt a gratitude to the SEALs, and they deserve high honors for their precision work. But without question, much of the credit must go to their leader.

The president did congratulate the SEALs and everyone who helped make the mission a success. Let’s not forget that without good intelligence agents, there wouldn’t have been a raid.

And for a president who doesn’t “deserve” credit, here’s an irony. Barack Obama and his family will, for the rest of their lives, have a literal target on their backs from bin Laden supporters. Paybacks are tough, and as we have learned, Muslim fanatics redefine “patience.” Obama will always wonder if his house will be car-bombed or if his children are safe. For all the dangers the SEALs faced, they will never have those worries. When their missions end, they’re done. Not so for the president.

For a guy whom the right tags as anti-American and in bed with the Muslim community, ordering the assassination of radical Muslims’ ultimate hero doesn’t exactly fit that mold.

Obviously, the right does not have a monopoly on hypocrisy. It’s just more pronounced because Obama occupies the big prize. It was no different when Bush was in charge, as the left refused to give him credit when the Fort Dix Six were captured, avoiding a mass killing spree.

I was a critic of W. (and by no means am I on the left), yet I gave him total credit for that security victory, since it happened on his watch. Only fair, even though Bush did not physically participate in the operation.

Mitt Romney would do well to chide those attacking Obama for something that any president would do: take credit for killing the world’s most dangerous thug. Regardless of Obama’s stances on other issues, the decapitation of al-Qaida by whacking bin Laden stands as a mammoth achievement.

As commander-in-chief in the world’s most public job, Barack Obama will receive the greatest amount of credit. For anyone who doesn’t like that, one question: Would you rather have bin Laden still walking among us?

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Friendly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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