The Osama Hit — It Wasn’t a Gutsy Call

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Any reasonably astute observer of politics knew within hours of Osama Bin Laden’s killing that President Obama would take as much credit for the hit as humanly possible. What we didn’t know is that he’d turn it into a full-blown campaign issue – and that in the process, we’d find that he fulfilled all our worst fears about his weakness in the first place.

This week, President Obama’s campaign put out an ad suggesting that had Mitt Romney been President of the United States, he wouldn’t have authorized the mission to “get Bin Laden.” That ad featured Bill Clinton – yes, the same Bill Clinton who routinely missed opportunities to get Bin Laden – stating that Obama took “the harder and the more honorable path.” Then these words appear on the screen: “Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?”

The answer: the same path as every President of the United States in the history of the country. Even Jimmy Carter (as Romney said)  would have had no problem making this call. The fact that we were all surprised – and face it, we were – when President Obama ordered the hit is evidence that we didn’t expect him to do the right thing.

In fact, as the evidence shows, Obama did the right thing  only after safely ensuring that should anything go awry, he’d have someone to blame. Here’s the memo that then-CIA head Leon Panetta wrote about the Obama order:

Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault.

The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.

Notice anything odd here? There are a few elements that are strange. First, Obama places all operational authority under Admiral McRaven (who, by the way, received exactly zero credit in any of this). To ensure that Obama would be able to throw McRaven under the bus should things go south, he spelled out that the approval was based only on the “risk profile presented to the President.” Any additional risks were to be “brought back to the President for his consideration.”

This is strange language. Typically, it is understood that a president is giving orders based on the risk profile presented – what else would he give approval for an operation based upon? The extra sentence here spelling out how Obama might stop the mission if the risk profile changed  is extraneous. More than that, it’s troubling – military situations are always fluid, and the risk profile constantly changes. Were the military to update President Obama with every change in risk profile, the operation would never take place.

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  • Anonymous

    Without the infrastructure put into place in Afghanistan and Pakistan by GW Bush, including the intelligence accumulated over several years, including that which came from waterboarding (a tiny number of) prisoners, all of the steps of which were adamantly opposed by the dhimmicrats, the Imbecile-in-Chief Obama would have never been able to "order" the killing of bin Laden. "Order" the killing? BS. What he really did was simply allow the process put into place by his predecessor (whom he excoriated always), to come to its conclusion. The killing of bin Laden was really made possible by Bush, not the Imbecile-in-Chief Obama.

  • intrcptr2

    Romney is right, even Carter would have done it.
    He sent Delta Force in after the hostages, and he took credit for the failure (At the time at least), even though it was simply a classic SNAFU.

    This presidency is frightening on so many levels…

  • mrbean

    In order for a single leader's death to be able to pull down a whole group, the organization must depend on a hierarchical structure with a clear chain of command, said Douglas Woodwell, an expert in international conflict and terrorism at the University of Indianapolis. Both the Shining Path and the PKK fit that description, as did the al-Qaeda of the 1990s, when the death of bin Laden might have had a more powerful impact. As a terrorist group, al-Qaeda is a diffuse and franchised social movement, with separate local leaders in Iraq, northern Africa, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Bin Laden may have been a charismatic and powerful symbol of radical Islamic beliefs, and his absence may set back recruiting efforts. But the group's ideology is unlikely to disappear just because their symbolic leader is gone.

  • Randy

    That memo should be repeatedly referred to as the "Cover His Ass Memo".

  • Stephen_Brady

    The notion that any other president would not have ordered the strike is simply ludicrous.

  • H&R_ Barack


    …..would BAN –

    ~ MOOchelle's Expensive massages, top shelf vodka and five-star hotels:
    First Lady accused of spending $10m in public money on her vacations

    • Maxie

      She jus be gettin reperashuns

  • BLJ

    Remember when the Dems and MSM went after President Bush for his "Dead or Alive" comments about Bin Laden shortly after 9-11? My guess is that Obambi was in that circle as well. He is the true definition of a fraud.

    Just like the MSM wants to portray Erkel the II as some sort of super jock (he isn't by a long, long, long shot), the attempt is now being made to make him out to be another John Wayne. Obambi is a sissy and a wimp. He is also a shameless America hating tool.

  • Jonn

    Article is ridiculous and betrays the authors far right bias. The president would obviously have taken a huge political hit if it had gone sour and to suggest anything otherwise is at best Naiive and at worst indicative of a deep bias and attempt to manipulate

    • pi over 2

      The above comment is ridiculous and betrays its author's far-up-B-Hussein-Obama's-colon worldview.

    • kafir4life

      So you haven't been following the MSM's coverage of the Stinky (aka BO) administration or the way they vetted him during the 2008 campaigns?

    • curmudgeon

      any political hit that the muslim in chief might have taken if the raid went wrong is nothing compared to the political hit he would have taken if he went with his heart, and either disallowed the raid, or tipped off the pakis. the muslim traitor sacrificed his coworker to preserve his own political viability…..such as it is.

  • JakeTobias

    I like to think, most of the 9/11 terrorists, would have been less enthusiastic about their mission, if they had known it would result in Bin Laden's acquiring a million dollar home, with all the Viagra, and child pornography, he could use.

  • Ghostwriter

    I agree with Mr. Shapiro. Any president worth his salt would have given the same order. It was that Obama was in office so it was his call.

  • Amused

    Hey Shapiro , did you have to wait for Romney to say that before you began parroting the same ? Go back to

    • Jim_C

      Shades of things to come, I think, Amused. Shapiro is probably the biggest "I'll write whatever you need me to write" chooch on this site.

  • Glenn

    Obama isn't the man HST was. Remember his motto, (The buck stops here)

  • Jon_Adams

    Obama commanding the Seal Team 6. Just shows
    you how far an undocumented alien can get in America.

  • ApolloSpeaks


    Seven months of indecisive dithering preceded Obama's decision to order the raid on Bin Laden's compound, in which time the mission could have been compromised. (Leon and Hillary must have been pulling out their hairs). If Bush, McCain or Romney had been president Bin Laden would have likely been captured or killed before Christmas 2010. Moreover, we can thank Donald Trump for forcing Obama to make up his mind on doing the mission. It's no coincidence that four days before the raid Obama released his birth certificate. Trump's tough talk that Obama was a weakling and embarrassment to the nation was definately a factor in pushing Obama to order the raid-despite the lack of hard evidence that Bin Laden lived in the compound (which is what Obama was waiting for). Romney should exploit this, as should the Donald on his behalf.

    Click my name for more on this subject.

  • Gunner57

    What wasn't a gutsy call was giving natural citizenship to this usurper you coward, Ben Shapiro. I'm glad I'll never be in a foxhole with you – wussy..