Current and former US Navy SEALs have joined the attacks on President Barack Obama for attempting to take credit for killing Osama bin Laden and using them and Special Forces members as 'ammunition' for his campaign.
Author and former SEAL Brandon Webb told Newsmax that Obama's White House predecessor, George W. Bush, deserves much of the praise for taking out the world's most wanted man.
And other SEALs bashed the president to Britain's MailOnline after Obama released a campaign ad called "One Chance," to coincide with this week’s first anniversary of the raid that killed the al-Qaida figurehead.
The ad features former President Bill Clinton praising Obama's decision to order bin Laden killed, and suggests that his Republican rival Mitt Romney might not have made the same call. It has already been criticized by all sides, with even Arianna Huffington, founder of the liberal Huffington Post, calling it “despicable.”
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Webb, author of the book "The Red Circle" about his work training snipers, told Newsmax in an exclusive interview that Obama "inherited a pretty robust system," from Bush.
"This whole process to get (bin Laden) started when George W. was standing on a pile of rubble at Ground Zero saying to the American people, 'the people who knocked these buildings down are going to hear from us.
"Fortunately, Obama was in a position to finish what George W. started," added Webb.
And Chris Kyle, the former SEAL credited with a record 160 confirmed killings, called the Obama ad “a cheap shot.”
“He's trying to say that Romney wouldn't have made the same call? Anyone who is patriotic to this country would have made that exact call, Democrat or Republican,” Kyle told the Mail’s Toby Harnden. “Obama is taking more credit than he is due.”
Kyle’s comments echoed those of Romney himself. Campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday he said, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” adding that he “of course” would have done the same.
Romney marked Tuesday’s anniversary by visiting a New York City firehouse with Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor on 9/11. He told CBS’ “Good Morning” he gave Obama credit for ordering the attack on Abbottabad, but added, “At the same time, I think it’s very disappointing for the president to try to make this a political item by suggesting that I wouldn’t have ordered such a raid,” Romney said.
Montana State Rep. Ryan Zinke, a former Navy commander who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, called Obama’s decision “a no-brainer” in the Mail article.
“I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call,” said Zinke, a Republican from Whitefish. “Every president would have done the same.
“He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice — it was a broader team effort."
Zinke slammed Obama for exploiting bin Laden’s death. "The president and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable."
One unidentified current SEAL told the Mail, "Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn, he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because his speechwriters are smart.
"But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, 'Come on, man!' It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go."
Former sniper Kyle said Obama shouldn't take the credit. "The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it,” he said.
"But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned, and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot."
The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday claimed that by turning the targeted killing into an election issue, Obama risked becoming the most polarizing president since Richard Nixon.
“Voters aren't likely to believe that any Presidential candidate would fail to pursue the man who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” the Journal pointed out.
“The question all of this raises is—why? Why would an incumbent President feel the need to campaign like this?”
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Fox News’ Chris Stirewalt said the decision to turn the anniversary of the terrorist’s killing into an election issue “mucked up what should have been one of the president’s best days of the campaign.”
“The only thing required to benefit from association with the killing of the most hated man in the nation is to be magnanimous about the whole affair – smile broadly, downplay your own role with a wink and congratulate the brave men who did the job,” said Stirewalt.
“Obama almost managed to do that, but his campaign couldn’t resist going negative.”
The White House is marking the anniversary of bin Laden's death Tuesday with a series of briefings and interviews designed to highlight Obama's decision that day.
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