A follow-up to yesterday’s very belated bombshell about the future First Gentleman failing to pull the trigger on Bin Laden when he had the chance for fear of civilian casualties. Did you know anything about that, asked Jake Tapper of former NATO Supreme Commander Wes Clark? The one operation I know of, Clark replied, was a proposed ground operation to get Bin Laden — which Clinton allegedly nixed because there were “a lot of logistics.” There were a lot of logistics involved in the 2011 raid on Abbottabad too but Obama didn’t let that stop him, to his credit. What’s Clinton’s excuse? Was Bin Laden not a big enough fish yet, the embassy bombings and USS Cole attack notwithstanding, to risk U.S. casualties? Or was this more a matter of having cold feet after Mogadishu and not wanting to absorb the political blow of another botched mission with U.S. troops stranded behind enemy lines?
Also, did Clinton even mention this to those Australian businessmen? We only got a tiny snippet of audio, but it makes sense that he’d want to showcase his refusal to order an air raid but not a ground raid. His excuse for not bombing Bin Laden, i.e. civilian casualties, made him look magnanimous; he went so far as to say that killing people indiscriminately in the name of killing Osama would have made him no better than a terrorist himself. That’s a harder argument to make in the case of a ground raid, the whole point of which is to maximize your ability to discriminate among targets. That’s why Obama sent SEAL Team Six into Abbottabad instead of simply droning Bin Laden’s compound from the air. They weren’t sure Bin Laden was inside and didn’t want to risk a major international incident by bombing a house belonging to an innocent person in a country with which we’re formally allied. He wanted eyes and ears on the ground. Clinton could have had the same thing, per Clark, but decided against it. How come?