In President Obama’s brazen attempt to use the killing of bin Laden to gain a political foothold in the area of foreign policy, he has sparked a conversation about who actually is responsible for finding and killing bin Laden.
There is no doubt that President Obama deserves credit for making the right call, and for anyone to try to deny him of that, should really just rethink the whole thing for a while. However, for the President too not give credit to the men and woman who gave him the chance to make this choice, is just as asinine.
Jose A. Rodriguez Jr, who is the former Director of the National Clandestine Service (D/NCS) of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has an op-ed over at Washington Post that stakes the claim that without Bush era capturing and interrogations of al-Qaeda terrorist, none of this would even be talked about. If Obama wants to say that Romney would not have killed bin Laden, the same can be said about him. Obama may not have approved the methods that were used to gain the intelligence that led to bin Laden’s whereabouts in Pakistan.
Rodriguez rightly points out that when Obama was running for President, he had claimed that the methods that were used were “unproductive and contrary to American principles” and that the president was wrong on both counts.
“Shortly after bin Laden met his maker last spring, courtesy of U.S. Special Forces and intelligence, the administration proudly announced that when Obama took office, getting bin Laden was made a top priority. Many of us who served in senior counterterrorism positions in the Bush administration were left muttering: “Gee, why didn’t we think of that?” said Rodriguez.
The Bush administration worked tirelessly to get bin Laden since before the attacks on 9/11. President Obama team rightly made the choice to build onto information that was already available to his team. Rodriguez contends that they would not have gotten a chance to make the call to kill the most wanted terrorist if not for the capture of an al-Qaeda terrorist, one of them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terror organization’s operations in Iraq.
According to Rodriguez, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was obstreperous and uncooperative, even after being taken to a CIA “Black Site” and it was only after using the “enhanced interrogation techniques” (not waterboarding) did he tell Rodriguez and his team that bin Laden had stopped communicating by anything other than using one courier who went by the name of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Armed with the pseudonym of bin Laden’s courier, they went and asked other detainees if they had ever heard of the name. Apparently, Khalid Sheik Mohammed damn near freaked out when he was confronted with the name, and interrogators later intercepted communications between KSM and other inmates at the black site saying that the other inmates were not to talk about the courier.
A few years following this Rodriguez had become the head of the National Clandestine Service; and the CIA was able to discover the true name of the courier. This had led them to bin Laden’s compound. Rodriguez points out that Obama has closed the “Black Sites” that had led to the information that led to Americas most wanted enemy.
“This past weekend, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin attacked statements made in May 2011 by me, former CIA director Michael Hayden and former attorney general Michael Mukasey regarding what led to bin Laden’s death. They misunderstood and mischaracterized our positions,” said Rodriguez, who went on to say “No single tactic, technique or approach led to the successful operation against bin Laden. But those who suggest it was all a result of a fresh approach taken after Jan. 20, 2009, are mistaken.”
In addition to the story of the intelligence that led to finding and killing bin Laden, recently some of the current and former Navy Seal members have publically criticized President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden. Some are accusing him of using Special Forces operators to be reelected.
Ryan Zinke, who is a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said ‘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.”
Even Arianna Huffington, who is founder of the left wing web site Huffington Post, has said, “We should celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It’s one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room… all that to me is perfectly legitimate, but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.”
Former New York Governor George Pataki has also called the ad Obama used to try to paint Romney as unwilling to go after bin Laden as “despicable” stating that he is appalled by the whole thing.
It can never be good for the president when people who normally respect him are upset at him of the use of the killing to gain political points.
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit said, “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.”
It has been reported that according to a former intelligence officer, bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration was aware of bin Laden’s whereabouts in October 2010, but he delayed taking action. If this is true, then he risked letting the terrorist leader escape.
The former intelligence officer stated, “In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier – as would George W. Bush.”
Since Seal team six is highly classified, many members feel that Obama is putting them in danger.
BuzzFeed reported that, “Chuck Pfarrer, a former member of Seal Team Six, published a book length account questioning the official version of the story. The controversial book was viciously attacked—a JSOC spokesperson called it a “fabrication”—and it was widely dismissed by the press.”
The real irony of team Obama using this as a political wedge is that his administration is fond of saying that the country should be careful not to spark more violence towards the troops that are still fighting the war. I guess their lives are less important once Obama needs a spike in his poll numbers.
To be honest, it makes sense for Obama to point towards the successes we have had when it comes to talking foreign policy, and conservatives can pick bigger fights with the president. Obama surprisingly has kept much of what the Bush administration built, and rather than denying Obama these victories, it would be better to point out that Obama ran on something different.
Obama’s Chicago team is making a mistake using the killing of bin Laden so much, so soon. This faux pas will severely limit the potency of the issue later. Obama could have reminded voters that bin Laden was killed one year ago, and then used the issue later on. Nevertheless, when the president is so bent on not talking about the economy, this will be just one more issue that the he will attempt to talk about to divert attention away from his record. Republicans can still criticize Obama’s foreign policy, and they can start by pointing out that we may not even be in Afghanistan come 2013 if the president would have granted the troop levels his commanders had asked for.
Marc A. Thiessen explained how Rodriguez’s piece shows that Nancy Pelosi was lying when she said that she had not been briefed about the use of waterboarding.
“We were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used,” Pelosi said, then she later changed her story. “We were told explicitly that waterboarding was not being used.”
This is just more proof that Democrats will say anything to win, even at the risk of weakening the ability of our national security apparatus to defend against blood thirsty terrorist. If ever there was a reason for Republicans to give Obama his bin Laden kill, and then talk about what he hasn’t done, it is the fact that our military men need to have strong leaders backing them. Obama wants to blame Bush for everything from the economy to weakened prestige on the global scene, but he absolutely does not want to give credit were it is due.
There are a lot of people who gave the last 11 years of their lives combating terrorism, and it is a tad bit insulting that this administration is complacent with not giving them the credit they deserve. It is not surprising thought, liberals always feel the end justifies the means.