Tags: pataki | binladen | SEALs | Obama

Pataki to Newsmax: Bin Laden Killing a Credit to SEALs Not Obama

By    |   Tuesday, 11 September 2012 04:01 PM

Former New York Gov. George Pataki, who was in office during the 9/11 terrorist strikes in Manhattan, tells Newsmax he is tired of seeing President Obama “trotting out a victory lap” over the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

And the veteran Republican politician declares that attempts to blame President George W. Bush for the attacks are “utterly absurd.”

Pataki was elected governor in 1994, defeating three-term Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, and was re-elected in 1998 and 2002. He previously served in the New York State Senate and House.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV on Tuesday’s anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Pataki shares his feelings today about that “terrible day of loss.”

“Eleven years later it feels the same. The same emotion. The same sense of loss,” he says.

“I remember that morning having this unbelievable sense of loss but then understanding that, as a leader, I had to put those emotions aside and we had to work.

“To me it was not just tremendously sorrowful to learn of those who we lost as the course of the day and the next few days rolled in, but I was also proud of how well not just the political leadership but New Yorkers from every walk of life responded.

“It was a terrible day of loss but it was also a day of pride, a day for us to understand that we live in a unique country, the greatest country that’s ever been created, and that the freedoms we too often took for granted others want to take from us, and we can’t let that happen.”

Story continues below the video.

On “Morning Joe” earlier Tuesday, Pataki debated New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald, whose Op-Ed alleges that President George W. Bush received more frequent and detailed warnings about al-Qaida’s plans to attack than have previously disclosed.

Asked what blame, if any, Bush deserves, Pataki responds: “It’s utterly absurd to try to blame President Bush. President Bush would never look the other way when our country was threatened. He is and was as patriotic and loyal and protective an American as we’ve ever had as commander in chief.

“And what bothers me is this selective revision of history where you take this piece of information and this quote 11 years later and try to pretend that somehow it creates this image that actions should have been taken before that date.

“If you want to point fingers, and I don’t think it serves any good, the towers were blown up in 1993, when President Clinton was in office.

“We were aware then of the al-Qaida threat but I don’t think it does any service to try to make a partisan point 11 years after the fact. The fact of the matter is we were attacked, this great country was attacked by those who hate the freedoms we believe in, and we have got to be prepared not just today, but every day to be aggressive in defense of those freedoms.”

President Obama likes to boast about killing Osama bin Laden, but Pataki says Obama’s politicizing the killing doesn’t translate to a legitimate post-9/11 foreign policy that he can really campaign on.

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“I’m tired of seeing him trotting out a victory lap at every political moment and talking about not something the president did, but the heroic SEALs of American military did,” he tells Newsmax.

“Yes, he deserves credit for the decision but he also deserves the blame for changing the intelligence policies which gave us the information to be able to track bin Laden.

“He also deserves the blame for the fact that the Pakistani doctor who risked his life to confirm with DNA to our CIA that in fact this was Osama bin Laden sits in a Pakistani jail today because he was convicted of treason for helping the United States. This is our ally and this administration has done nothing.

“So yes, he deserves credit for authorizing the decision but it doesn’t constitute a policy and it doesn’t give me a high level of confidence that this president understands the nature of the global challenge to our freedom.”

Pataki has called on Obama to apologize to Navy SEALs who are angry at his politicizing of the bin Laden killing. Asked if he believes Obama will apologize, Pataki says: “No, not this president. He’s not going to do that.

“Let’s move on but let’s investigate the leaking that jeopardizes our patriotic operatives overseas. Is there any doubt what the source of those leaks is?

“I remember back in the Bush administration whenever anything would happen, the Democrats in Congress and the media would rise up and say, ‘Oh, you have to investigate this. You have to investigate that.’ Well, here we have hideously [leaked] very classified secure information that, in fact, can jeopardize our brave men and women and jeopardize our policies, and where’s the media? Other than Newsmax and some others where, where is the bipartisan understanding that this is appropriate to investigate?”

President Obama also likes to boast that the United States is out of Iraq. What is the result of the withdrawal, Pataki was asked.

“First of all, we won in Iraq because President Bush had the courage to do the surge and the Sunnis in Andar Province created the Anbar awakening because they understood that some of those Sunni radicals affiliated with al-Qaida were just evil, barbaric people.

“We had the opportunity when President Obama took office to create a long-term, stable, representative government in Iraq. My fear is this president’s decision not to leave one troop behind to try to make sure that the institutions that were just beginning to be established in Iraq operated well.

“It’s easy to just say, ‘Let’s go home.’ But we had won such a costly victory and the opportunity for stability was so real. I hope that it still happens. We have to continue to urge the parties to try to have this pluralistic representative government and to retain some very high degree of independence from the evil rulers of Iran. But certainly if that happens, it’s going to be in spite of the Obama policies and not because of them.”

Pataki agrees with Jeb Bush who says, to his brother’s credit, George Bush kept us safe after 9/11.

“President Bush did, in very uncertain and dangerous times, keep us safe with his policies and we are more aware today than we were 11 years ago on this date and that makes us safer.

“But the world is still a highly dangerous place and you add to that equation the fact that for the last four years, despite their stated hatred of the West and commitment to destroy Israel, Iran continues to relentlessly move toward the development of nuclear weapons. I don’t see how that makes anybody safer.”

Mitt Romney seems to be backing off his previous stance on repealing Obamacare. Asked if think this stance will ultimately hurt him, Pataki says: “It’s pretty clear that Gov. Romney understands the need to repeal Obamacare but when we had the massive Republican victories in 2010, it wasn’t simply repeal Obamacare. It was repeal Obamacare and replace it with reforms that are going to work.

“Perhaps that’s not exactly how Gov. Romney phrased it Sunday but I believe that’s what he means, and the overwhelming majority of American people understand Obamacare is an awful law and needs to go. But all of us understand, as well, that there are some reforms, including some in that law, that will in fact serve to help the American people.”

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