Tuesday, May 3, 2011

President Obama deserves more than just a little credit for the Bin Laden killing

  Amidst the aftermath of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, there are those who have taken issue with the idea that President Obama is getting too much credit for this. Actually, the charge seems to be that Obama is "taking" too much credit for this. Some of the claims: 

"Let's be clear on this: OBAMA DID NOT KILL BIN LADEN. An American soldier, who OBAMA just a few weeks ago was debating on whether or not to pay, did. OBAMA just happened to be in office when our soldiers finally found the POS and took him out. This is not a OBAMA victory, but an AMERICAN victory!!!!!! REPOST IF YOU AGREE!!! If it's true give credit where credit is due."  (Various Facebook posts)

"For the record, ladies and gentlemen, in his brief announcement last night President Obama used the word 'I' ten times, the word 'me' three times, the word 'mine' five times, and the word 'my' three times."  (Rush Limbaugh, Washington Times)

"Obama's speech Sunday night was the worst EVER." (Conservative Talk show host Mark Levine)

Last Thursday afternoon, in a meeting with his Senior Intelligence, Military and Diplomatic teams, Obama had three options presented to him:

1) Bomb the compound from above-The safest for the US military personnel, but wouldn't provide any evidence of Bin Laden actually being there. Plus, anyone in that area would be killed, including innocent bystanders. 

2) Continue to gather more intelligence-Maintain the status quo. Politically, the safest route to go. 

3) Go in with a ground strike- Special Ops forces would gain access to the compound, make their way into Bin Laden house, capture and or kill him, but take possession of the body. By far, the riskiest plan for all parties involved. 

  The advisors were split among the three choices. Obama said he wanted time to think through the options. Early the next morning, he authorized ground forces to act. He indeed said yes, but he also said no to two of the options. This notion that he basically "just got out of the way" is foolish. He worked with his experts, he listened to the suggestions, and then took some time to consider the ramifications and then announced his decision the next morning. You and I take a night, a few days, a few weeks to decide any number of things. None of which have as many consequences as his decision that morning involved. That Obama should be criticized for taking that extra few hours is difficult to justify. 

  Consider the things that could've gone wrong. Perhaps Bin Laden wasn't there after all. Think of the embarrassment and explaining that would've been required to the Pakistani Gov't. Or, what if it failed for some other reason and soldiers were injured, killed or captured? The blame would've fallen directly on Obama. This choice of a ground attack carried grave risks if anything went wrong. Fortunately, it didn't. Other than the helo crashing, with no injuries, the operation seems to have gone off without a hitch. 

  This is a classic example of leadership. Choosing the safest path, may have been the most politically prudent. It was not chosen because Obama wasn't shaping the operation to fit his political needs. 

  Seal team six performed admirably. The mission was a success. They are not the guys you want dropping in to see you in the middle of the night. 

  I, me, we, etc...

  I've reviewed the text of the speech several times and counted the actual uses of the various words above. 

"I" was used 7 times...

"my" was used 7 times...

"we" was used 40 times...

 What was he supposed to say when "I" or "me" were the right words to say?  This is a perfect example of noise. When someone resorts to auditing the number of times various words are being used, its basically an epic fail. Its a disgrace. Its a shame when people we know to sincerely love this Country resort to spreading these kind of silly claims. It happens over and over again, regardless of who's President. Regardless of party. Its petty. 
  I fail to find where in the speech from Sunday that President Obama pats himself on the back. He thanked the intelligence community, the soldiers who carried out the mission, and offered acknowledgements to the families of the 9/11 victims. 

  If someone can show me where he took a personal victory lap, I'd appreciate it. 

  Our President supported the continued pursuit of OBL. He could've called off the dogs anytime, but in fact, it was one of the earliest things he ordered upon taking office. It was a "top priority." When presented with recommendations, he considered each and made a decision within a day.    Had he chosen a different path, the outcomes could've been different. Hindsight being 20/20, it does appear he made precisely the correct call. To say President Obama deserves zero credit for his part in the operation is unfair. He played an important part in sustaining the hunt for OBL, and apparently making the correct choice when it came to deciding how it all should go down. 

EDIT: A friend reminds me this morning about the veritable "treasure trove" of intelligence via computers, hard drives, thumb drives etc. that the Seals were able to acquire by taking the approach Obama wound up choosing. Another reason to applaud the time Obama took to make  the best decision possible. Thanks, Joe...



  1. I also didn't see any evidence of a victory lap or excessive credit grabbing in Obama's speech.

    Since Obama was a critical part of the decision-making process (ultimately, the decision rested entirely on his shoulders), any faithful retelling of the events that occurred required he reference himself. Such is the English language that referencing oneself demands the words "I" and "me" and "my."

    I guess I just don't get what Rush (and others) are seeing here. For the most part, I was pretty happy with the even tone and word choice in the speech. (I say "for the most part" because I personally could have done with quite a bit less 9/11 visual imagery, although I understood its purpose in the speech.)

  2. ANOTHER choice Obama had to make was to give a sober, factual speech or plan a photo-op event to spread the news. He chose wisely.
    Just to put it out there, it's so hard for me to avoid sarcasm because logic seems too easy to denigrate and the absurdities, half truths and outright obstruction are so pervasive that THEY have become the news, not the actual news. (off topic- I'm also fed up with the ridiculous photos of politicians that accompany EVERY SINGLE story, blurb or belch.)
    So Bill-again, I respect you for trying.