President Obama may not be the first president to mingle politics with war policy but he’s adept at it. He had been quiet on Afghanistan for about a year until the past week when he arrived there on a surprise visit to sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the Afghan president. He spoke to a gathering of troops and, of course, along the way mentioned that it was the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The president is milking what he can out of the fact that he ordered the raid that resulted in the killing of bin Laden.
The Obama camp tried to make political points by saying that if Mitt Romney had been president he wouldn’t have ordered the Seal raid that killed bin Laden. Romney’s forces, of course, denied that and said he would have ordered the raid.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Michael B. Mukasey, a former U.S. attorney general, took the president to task for claiming bragging rights for the killing of bin Laden. But the president also had an escape clause that if the raid failed, he would not be to blame.
Mukasey wrote that a recently disclosed memo from the then-CIA Director Leon Panetta shows that the president’s celebrated derring-do in authorizing the operation included a responsibility-escape clause: “The timing, operational decision making and control are in Adm. McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the president. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the president for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, get out.” Which is to say, if the mission went wrong, the fault would be Adm. McRaven’s, not the president’s, Mukasey wrote.
When first elected, President Obama was asked which president he would model himself on and he said Lincoln. Mukasey noted that when the Civil War ended, President Lincoln took no credit for it and addressed the difficulties of Reconstruction. And, Mr. Obama is no Gen. Eisenhower, who when he ordered D-Day, the invasion of France, June 6, 1944, prepared a statement that if the attack failed he and he alone was to blame.
President George W. Bush, when Saddam Hussein was captured, gave the credit to the men and women who served in Iraq. He did mention himself at the end of his talk by saying he congratulated our fighting forces and intelligence agencies for their work. He took no credit for the capture.
As Mukasey said, such examples are worth mentioning every time the president claims bin Laden bragging rights.
Political commentator Dana Milbank wrote in Wednesday’s Missourian that President Obama is “Campaigner in Chief” because of his spending of taxpayer dollars using Air Force One to travel the country and world supposedly on government business when he really is campaigning for re-election. His re-election comes first!