Stirring words from a guy who’s now running for reelection on the idea that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have had the balls to order a hit on Osama Bin Laden. And note the applause he gets for saying it. O will take heat for this clip because it showcases his hypocrisy but all he was doing at the time was playing along with a charade created by Democratic voters. They pretended they were strongly anti-war and anti-Gitmo and anti-executive overreach and anti-“politics of fear” when all they really were was strongly anti-Bush. So Obama, who was already thinking of running for president (it’s no coincidence that these remarks were delivered in Iowa), flattered them by spouting the platitudinous nonsense they wanted to hear on the assumption that they’d forget all about it once he was safely in office. How’d that work out for him? It’s almost too bad that Bush didn’t think to target Awlaki with drones before leaving office since no doubt there’d be some golden soundbites from the Unicorn Prince at the time denouncing “King George” and the “unaccountable presidency,” etc. And his base would have cheered him all the way. Don’t hate O just because he had the good sense to exploit a political scam when he saw one.

Since we’re on the subject of Al Qaeda and Afghanistan, remember how he sold the troop drawdown last night in part by touting the prospect of reconciliation with the Taliban? Here’s how that’s going on their end:

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) Chief testified to the Afghan Senate today that Maluvi Mohammad Ismail, who until last year served as the Military Council Chairman for the Taliban’s Quetta Shura, had recently been executed by rival Taliban members along with 25 other “key rebel figures.” NDS chief Lieutenant General Rahmatullah Nabil additionally noted that the former head of the Taliban’s Recruitment Council, Ustad Yasir, a key ideologue for the Taliban movement, had been among those killed. And regional reports identified two other Afghan Taliban officials who had also been killed: Maulvi Shaheedkhel (Shahid Khel), allegedly the shadow governor of Laghman province, and a Taliban intelligence figure named Maulvi Ahmadullah Wror.

According to Nabil, Ismail and his supporters had been detained by Taliban fighters on the way to an airport in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, as they were preparing to fly to a meeting for peace talks with the Afghan government, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. And in fact, local media reported on April 18 that several high-ranking Taliban members, including Ismail, Mullah Ahad Agha, and Mullah Ghulam Hassan, had been seized near Quetta by Taliban gunmen in early April.

They’re actually purging the more peace-minded members of their own ranks rather than let them talk to the U.S. or Karzai about a deal. Given that any treaty is bound to last only as long as there’s a major American military presence around to guarantee it, it’s a remarkable show of rejectionism that some Taliban would prefer to kill their comrades than let them negotiate even a phony, strategic peace. So much for the reconciliation.

Exit question: Will Romney be allowed to mention that on the trail or would that make him guilty of turning terrorism into a wedge issue? Click the image to watch.