Thursday, May 5, 2011

Giving credit where credit is due

I was half amused and half incensed at the response of some Republicans who reacted to the Bin Laden killing by completely ignoring any role the President played in one of the most historical and  risky military actions of years.  It is  similar to the GOP's  strategy regarding the budget debate. Pres.Obama presented a serious plan for debt reduction and the GOP just acted as if it was  tree falling in the woods and no one was there to hear it. Could it be they fear some  side by side comparisons with Obama as a leader  and a budget proposal more acceptable to voters than theirs?

Obama may have not landed in the helicopter, risked his life in a shoot out, but  he participated in the planning,  gave the kill order and the order to proceed and watched the raid unfold in real time. GOP leaders immediately sprang into action dissing the President’s responsibility for the success or ignoring the president and only praising the Seals and intelligence forces A picture is worth a thousand words and it was clear from photos and reports of the situation room that fateful  Sunday  that the President was the Commander in chief of the operation The tension in the room, Obama biting his knuckles and veins on his temple visible, Hilary Clinton’s intensely focused eyes and hand over her mouth said much.   President’s counter terrorism adviser John Brennan called on CNN “ one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory. “
The call was both risky and gutsy.  The US was conducting a military action within a country that was neither sanctioned or informed in advance and that country was a critical ally, but a shaky one. The evidence was not firm that Bin Laden was a) even in the compound b) there was a double of thim there c) if killed, his body or proof of identification could be made d) and  aBlackhawk down and another screw up such as  Carters’s failed attempt in the Iran hostage crisis would probably have ended Obama’s political career. 
The episode will allow Obama to redefine himself as a poker faced strategist who could be deadly effective if achieving his goals, an unusual leader who did not fit into the standard mold. In the run up to the  probably the most defining moment of his political career, he relaxed as he threw comedic barbs at potential GOP candidates in a DC gathering  and ridiculed their “birther” insinuations, having yanked the rug out from under them by producing his long form birth certificate earlier in the week. He did more than a Bush flyover of the devastation  of an epic natural disaster. ,He showed immediate and sympathetic on the ground attention to the victims and mobilized immediate aid.  He was highly visible at a planned space launchings. If anything, he showed he could walk across the street and chew gum at the same time cool as a cucumber, bearing the stress of decisions and historic risks  he knew would come to a head within days.

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