The Osama Strategy
by The Milton Measure on Friday, May 18th, 2012
With the November presidential election nearly five months away, Barack Obama is beginning to juggle daily issues in the white house while managing a re-election campaign. With the economic recovery still too fragile and incomplete for Obama to tout it as a success, the President hopes to capitalize during the campaign on some of his foreign policy accomplishments. The greatest of those accomplishments is the killing of Osama Bin Laden, an action which the President wishes to use in underscoring his decisive and effective prosecution of the War on Terror. However, the Republican Party and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, appear determined to counter any Obama campaign attempts to use Bin Laden’s death for political gain.
With the one year anniversary of Bin Laden’s death drawing near, Republican critics are accusing President Obama of “politicizing” the event for the purpose of winning re-election. Republican pundits have commented that Obama was simply “dancing in the end-zone” or that the mission was “one that even Carter would have carried out,” implying that the decision to enter Pakistan and kill Bin Laden was far too easy to be praiseworthy. The Obama administration did not sit back and let the fact that Mr. Obama had presided over the killing of one of the most infamous terrorists in the world be used against them; rather, they released an ad which praises President Obama for ordering the raid on Bin Laden’s compound, and questioned whether Romney would have ordered a similar mission.
Ultimately, the Republicans’ argument lacks a basis and is simply an act of political posturing. Romney fails to recognize that the decision was not Obama’s alone; Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had long and agonizing discussions on how to approach the situation. In the end, the decision boiled down to either completely bombing Bin Laden’s compound, or sending in Navy Seals to take out the Al-Qaeda leader. Weighing the pros and cons of each course of action, Obama chose wisely. While the lives of the Seals would not have been risked with the bombing, important information within the compound could have been lost. In short, the choice was not simple at all. Moreover, if Obama had not carried out the mission, the Republican candidate would likely have used Bin Laden’s continued fugitive-status against the President.
In the end, any of Obama’s numerous potential decisions would have been attacked come election season. The Republicans’ main concern is that Obama may or may not be “showboating.” Obama’s decision to order the raid on Bin Laden was not a small event, but one of great magnitude; he should be recognized for having the fortitude to order this mission and he should be congratulated for it. The public should not be persuaded by rival Presidential candidates, who simply have no reasonable opposing argument and attempt to minimize all that the President has done while in office. Obama has not had as an amazing term as many expected he would, but the killing of Bin Laden is surely not one of the President’s disappointments. If it seems like he is “spiking the ball in the end-zone” as he, and the nation, rejoice in the momentous event that the killing of Bin Laden represents, then so be it.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=3500