Archive for May 2, 2012
It is a sad observation that sometimes it takes a comedian to open our eyes to the truth. Last night, Comedy Central’s two resident political comedians, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart weighed in on the latest GOP temper tantrum over Barack Obama rightfully celebrating the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s capture and killing, using that achievement in a campaign ad and correctly pointing out that opponent Mitt Romney might not have gone after bin Laden.
One of Obama’s supposed offenses is “spiking the football”, gloating in an unseemly way about the bin Laden killing. Of course, the GOP would know nothing about such behavior. On The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert punctures this myth in one dead-on comment:
Presidents don’t spike the football. You do an endzone dance on an aircraft carrier even if you never found the football.
But it was Jon Stewart and his crack research team on The Daily Show who culled enough video to permanently put to rest any claim the GOP has for righteous indignation. Stewart deflates the GOP two prong attack of Obama’s supposed braggadocio and the terrible offense of conjecturing what Romney might have done.
For those not wanting to watch the videos, the points are:
- Bush spiked the football before the game had even started. (Echoed by Colbert.)
- Ed Gillespie was outspoken in condemning the President for conjecturing what Romney would have done. Ed said in 2004 “If Kerry had his polices in place today Saddam would not only be in Baghdad but in Kuwait.”
- A 2004 GOP campaign ad: “How can Kerry protect us when he doesn’t understand the threat?”
- Obama has repeatedly given credit to those who actually did the dangerous work. “We killed Osama bin Laden.”
- At the 2004 GOP convention, George Pataki, an Obama critic, kissed Bush’s ass. “George Bush protected our country.” Mmmm George Bush did? Or did the soldiers? Why didn’t Pataki give proper credit?
- Adding to the pile on, is criticism that Obama dissed Romney in front of a foreign visitor. In 2004 Bush disses Kerry in front of Iraqi Prime Minister.
- And the bottom line truth of the matter: GOP is just pissed they couldn’t run the current Obama ad.
Stewart allows for the possibility that the Obama campaign ad lacks some decorum. Fred Kaplan on Slate makes no such apology.
Two new investigative reports—a book by Peter Bergen, Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, and an article by Graham Allison in the May 7 issue of Time—thoroughly rebut that notion. [of a no-brainer decision].
Far from the no-brainer that Romney depicts, the secret, high-level discussions leading up to the raid were fraught with intense debate and uncertainty—and Obama’s final decisions, on both whether and how to attack, went against some of his top advisers’ recommendations.
Vice President Joe Biden revealed a few months ago that he had urged Obama not to mount the assault. Bergen and Allison report that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates joined him in the dissent—and they explain why.
In the weeks leading up to the decision, a group of counterterrorism officials, after conducting a “red-team” exercise of what could go wrong in such an attack, estimated that there was only a 40 percent chance Osama Bin Laden was actually in the compound. The CIA put the odds at 60 percent. Bergen quotes Michael Morell, the CIA’s deputy director, as telling the president that “the circumstantial case of Iraq having WMD was actually stronger than the circumstantial case that bin Laden is living in the Abbottabad compound.”
Once Obama decided to attack, an equally weighty debate took place over how to go about it. Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and widely known at the time as “Obama’s favorite general”), recommended dropping a few dozen 2,000-pound bombs from a B-2 bomber. Others favored going in with missile-carrying drones.
Others, however, advised sending in SEAL Team Six, noting that an aerial attack might kill lots of civilians—perhaps even some in neighboring houses—and, in any case, would preclude certain knowledge that the strike had actually killed Bin Laden. Obama sided with the advocates of the far riskier raid.
Gates, still skeptical of the whole business, had been CIA director Stansfield Turner’s executive assistant back in 1979, when President Carter ordered a raid to rescue American hostages in Iran—then watched the operation go down in flames, along with his presidency, when the Delta Force’s helicopter crashed.
Struck by Gates’ concerns, Obama ordered Adm. William McRaven, the special-operations commander organizing the raid, to throw in two additional helicopters for backup. It was a good thing he did, since one of the assault choppers crashed outside the compound. via Barack Obama’s decision to go after Osama Bin Laden: how the president overruled his advisers in ordering the assassination – Slate Magazine.
Kaplan’s headline puts it succinctly: Barack Obama Killed Osama Bin Laden. Period.