Le mot juste on the Obama campaign’s demagoguery:
Arianna Huffington, founder and editor-in-chief of the The Huffington Post, called the Obama campaign’s decision to tout the assassination of Osama bin Laden in a campaign advertisement ”despicable.” The ad questions whether presidential candidate Mitt Romney would have ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
“I don’t think there should be an ad about that,” Huffington said Monday on “CBS This Morning.” “I think it’s one thing to celebrate the fact that they did such a great job (with television specials). All that is perfectly legitimate. But to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.”
[. . .]
“. . . What the ad does is questions. … (The ad) quotes a snippet from Romney and uses that to imply that Romney would not has been as decisive. There’s no way to know whether Romney would have been as decisive. To actually speculate that he wouldn’t be is, to me, not the way to run a campaign, on either side.”
And as though he wanted to reinforce Huffington’s point, here is Barack Obama himself:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the killing of bin Laden. I wonder if you would share some thoughts on that anniversary. And I also wanted to mention that your likely opponent says, “Anybody would have made that call, even Jimmy Carter.” So I’m curious to see what you would say about that.
And, Mr. Prime Minister, if I may, on the same topic, you mentioned the international fight against terrorism in your opening remarks, and I wonder if you could reflect on President Obama’s record here and if you think from an international perspective the U.S. is playing it right in marking this anniversary? Or if you think it — you might advise against excessive celebration?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me make a couple of points. First of all, Christi, I hardly think that you’ve seen any excessive celebration taking place here. I think that people — the American people rightly remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens. And it’s a mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams and our military teams; a political process that worked. And I think for us to use that time for some reflection to give thanks to those who participated is entirely appropriate, and that’s what’s been taking place.
As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden. I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. That’s been at least my practice. I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did.
If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.
Is this the part where I point out that the president is trying to pretend he never said that he would not want to make bin Laden “a martyr”? Is this the part where I point out that the president’s campaign is doing precisely what Senator Obama decried Hillary Clinton for doing back in 2008? Is this the part where I point out that just as the president changed his mind on the issue, and decided to kill bin Laden when the opportunity presented itself, there is every reason to believe that Romney would have done the same thing?
And is this the part where I point this out as well?
Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign.
[. . .]
Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘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.’
Mr Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that MR Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid. ‘The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.’
[. . .]
A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart.
‘But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.
‘But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot. . . .’
Why doesn’t the American media interview these former SEALs? After all, they seem to have some very educational things to say on this issue.
UPDATE: An excellent post by Peter Feaver.