SEALs slam Obama for taking credit for bin Laden raid
posted at 10:55 am on May 3, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
Nothing belies the president’s claim that he is not using the bin Laden killing as a political football more than his shameless interview with NBC News on Wednesday inside the White House Situation Room. The alleged purpose of this rare behind-the-scenes look was to show the American people “where it all went down” in May of 2011. The problem for the president is that the real place “where it all went down” is half a world away, in Abbottābad, Pakistan.
That is what current and former U.S. Navy SEALs are now saying in an effort to set the record straight. In interviews with the Mail Online, some half dozen servicemen have spoken up to suggest the president was out of line in his recent boast that “I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did.”
One of them, veteran Navy Commander Ryan Zinke, told the Mail:
The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.
I think 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, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid: “The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.”
An active member of the SEAL Team is franker in his criticism, telling 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.
Another former SEAL, Chris Kyle, notes:
The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.
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.
In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander-in-chief so his secret is safe.
Kyle adds, “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. Obama is taking more credit than he is due but it’s going to get him some pretty good mileage.”
Ultimately, the 2012 election is far more likely to turn on the economy than it is on foreign policy. But as for the take-down of bin Laden, I believe that Obama’s recent bout of braggadocio will diminish his role in that operation the eyes of many Americans. This American wrote on May 2, 2011:
Regardless of your political leanings or feelings toward the current administration, one undeniable winner is President Obama. Osama bin Laden met his maker on Obama’s watch and under his leadership. The president revealed last night that the first actionable intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts came across his desk last August. He used deliberation as commander-in-chief and waited until the time was ripe, then acted decisively—and was victorious. No American service members were harmed in the attack, which successfully neutralized the primary target. If it were not bitterly ironic to do so, the White House might be draped today in a banner reading ‘Mission accomplished.’
I even went on in that article to extol his speech following the raid as one of his best. Today I went back and reviewed the video of that speech, and Obama’s words now seem hollow and self-serving.
It would have been well if Obama had taken his own best advice about “not spiking the ball.” Instead he has done precisely that, demonstrating once again that when it comes to playing ball, he is all small ball and nothing else.
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- Allen West to Obama et al: ‘Get the hell out of America’
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