It’s been a year to the day since President Obama announced the heroic mission of the Navy SEAL Team Six that killed Osama bin Laden. But Navy SEALs aren’t taking too kindly to Obama reminding everyone about it in the past few days.
Surprise, surprise: Today is all about politics.
Current serving and ex-Navy SEALs spoke with The Daily Mail for a story published last night, and boy did they have a lot to say. A sampling: Some said the mission was a no-brainer for any president. Some accused Obama of taking credit for their work. Some said it was an attempt to use them as “ammunition” for his re-election campaign.
Here’s Ryan Zinke, a former 23-year SEAL that is now a Republican state Senator from Montana:
“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. I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice — it was a broader team effort.”
For someone not currently engulfed in politics on the other side, let’s go to Clint Bruce, who “gave up the chance of an NFL career to serve as a SEAL officer,” according to the Mail:
“We were extremely surprised and discouraged by the publicity because it compromises the ability of those guys to operate. It’s a waste of time to speculate about who would and wouldn’t have made that decision. It was a symphony of opportunity and intelligence that allowed this administration to give the green light. We want to acknowledge that they made that decision.
“Politicians should let the public know where they stand on national security but not in the play-by-play, detailed way that has been done recently. The intricacies of national security should not become part of stump speeches.”
The debate continues to rage over Obama’s campaign ad, in which Bill Clinton voices over the narrative that Obama made the tough decision that led to the death of the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
Here is the mistake Obama made, though, which makes it so controversial and ripe for attack: The speculation over whether Mitt Romney would have made the same call.
It’s a delicate balance: On one hand, Romney is on record saying that it was not “worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” On the other, how much credit does a politician — even a President — get for the operation?
Romney, for his part, said yesterday that “any thinking American” would have ordered the killing. Today, he issued a statement:
“Today marks the one year anniversary of the mission that brought Osama bin Laden to justice. That mission was the culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and sacrifice by our men and women in the military and intelligence communities. I commend all those who planned and conducted the bin Laden raid, and I applaud President Obama for giving the go ahead for the mission.
Expect this political back-and-forth to continue as part of the foreign policy debate up through the final days leading up to the election.
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