Obama’s bin Laden Ad is a Hypocritical Low Blow
This week President Obama’s campaign team released a video ad illustrating the intense pressure and triumphant conclusion of the President’s decision to order the raid on the Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding, resulting in OBL’s death.
The story here is not the bulk of the ad itself, but the premise, revealed at the end, that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have ordered the bin Laden raid. This notion is derived from a Romney quote in which he said that war isn’t fought to get one person, that it shouldn’t be a “manhunt”. This does not, of course, mean that Romney wouldn’t have ordered an attempt on bin Laden given the opportunity. Au contraire, he was quite clear about what the U.S. goal should be in pursuing OBL, saying in 2007 that [we should] “track bin Laden anywhere, kill him. Of course we will get him. He will pay, and he will die.”
This statement, conjoined with the rest of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy, leaves no doubt that if SEAL Team 6 was under the order of Commander-in-Chief Romney, he too would have given the go ahead. Only a desperate politician trying to land a much needed campaign punch would suggest otherwise. Only a flailing bureaucrat would twist a heroic act by others into a messianic symbol of one’s own illustrious achievement.
And so, Obama is.
Politicizing bin Laden’s death is something to be expected from an administration with nothing else to boast. Indeed, Republicans are no strangers to using military success as means of political prowess. President Bush’s 2004 campaign centered largely around U.S. progress in Iraq and John McCain’s 2008 bid illuminated his military experience and consequent dedication to this country more than once.
It’s not the self-congratulatory patting on the back of the Obama team that has conservatives in ire regarding this ad, but rather Obama’s disregard for the true heroes of the mission, and an unwarranted and deceptive low blow to Mitt Romney.
There’s nothing wrong with showcasing your administration’s biggest (only) achievement, but doing so at the cost of dishonoring those who actually carried out the harrowing raid by bragging about the fantastical complexity of such a decision is both conceited and shameless political pandering.
Perhaps @katearthsis said it best:
Dear @BarackObama, why must you be so utterly devoid of humility that you’d think that your approval of a mission surpasses its execution?
— Kate (@katearthsis) May 2, 2012
Joe Biden drooled that Obama’s decision was the “most audacious” military tactic “in 500 years”. After you finish guffawing, consider that all of this is after Obama promised not to “spike the football” in regards to killing one man and that there was still work to do.
Those were real soldiers out there putting their lives in danger. It is their act of valor that deserves the glory, not the President’s approval and agreement of orders handed down to him by those more capable of making such a decision (a recently released CIA memo revealed that Admiral McRaven was in charge and made nearly every decision that night, not Obama).
President Obama deserves some credit for the killing of a major U.S. threat under his watch. Just not the unmerited levels of credit he is giving himself. Like so many other things, he’s attempted to make a wonderful American victory all about him. It’s not just, and it’s not right. For a President who can’t take two breaths without spouting off about “fairness”, this ad certainly isn’t fair to SEAL Team 6 or Mitt Romney.
In 2006, Obama claimed “I’ve had enough of using terrorism as a wedge issue in our politics.” So much for that.