Crediting the Proper President

President Barack Obama

By now, we’ve all heard the new whisper campaign. “President Obama deserves credit for following the Bush policies that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.”

The fact is, that is pure CRAP.

The worst possible nightmare to Republican leaders, would be that traditional conservative voters might no longer believe that they are the party of national security. Should that happen, their base would collapse. So, when the threat of Osama bin Laden was eliminated by a Democratic president, the spinmeisters went to work immediately. They can’t exactly reclaim the title, so they settled for the next-best thing; try to force president Obama to share the credit with George W. Bush.

It’s only been 36 hours since the news of the bin Laden operation was announced, yet I’ve already heard the “Bush gets some of the credit too” meme by at least a half-dozen high-level Republicans. Rush Limbaugh said it on his show, Andy Card said it, as have John Boehner, Condoleeza Rice, Sean Hannity and Eric Cantor. This CAN’T be a coincidence. Someone (most likely Karl Rove), sent the word out to give Obama credit, but be sure to slip in the line “And we thank him for following president Bush’s policies.”

Here are some facts: In October 2001, while the pile of rubble was still smoldering at Ground Zero, President Bush made the decision to send the CIA into Afghanistan before the military (a decision I supported, by the way). The plan was, that after they had paved the way with their intel work, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would follow up at once with his obligation to send in the bulk of the troops. But he was upset that he had been upstaged by George Tenet’s CIA, so he was uncooperative. The CIA waited a full 30 days before Rumsfeld’s reinforcements arrived. Rumsfeld was taking it personally that the CIA would get the glory, and his hissy-fit wasted valuable time. Additionally, when we finally had Osama bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora, president Bush outsourced the job of capturing him to Afghan warlords (gosh, in the most corrupt country on earth, what could possibly go wrong there)? The Afghans were either bought off by bin Laden’s men, or they simply looked the other way. Whatever their motives were, they gladly accepted the money the Bush administration gave them, and Osama bin Laden slipped away into the night… and lived in luxury for an additional nine and a half years!

Adding insult to injury, George Bush and his cadre of neocons soon ignored what was happening in Afghanistan, and shifted their focus towards their original prize, Iraq. And the rest is history. Afghanistan, the stepchild war, languished as the Pentagon dumped $1 trillion+ and 4,425 lives into removing Saddam.

Somebody, please indicate to me which part of this “policy” the current president followed?

Candidate Barack Obama swore before the American people on October 7, 2008 that he would kill or capture Osama bin Laden. The reaction from the right was widespread laughter. They painted him as too inexperienced, too weak, and most importantly, too un-American. After all, how could a guy whose middle name was Hussein, possibly be tough on terror.

Well, he kept his word, unlike George Bush, who in eight years, achieved absolutely nothing. And now that Public Enemy #1 is dead, the Republicans would have you to believe that the invisible guiding hand behind president Obama’s success came from George W. Bush. Don’t you believe it.

There are hundreds of people who deserve recognition for dispatching Osama bin Laden, but George W. Bush isn’t one of them. Beginning with the remarkable Navy SEALS Team 6, who pulled off one of the most spectacular operations since Entebbe. I regret that we as a nation can’t thank them to their faces, as their continued success requires anonymity. But it is my hope that one of them might read this article, and know how utterly awe-struck the nation is by what they’ve accomplished. And of course, the balance of the credit goes to president Obama, for both keeping his campaign promise, and reducing the threat from al Qaeda. He put his presidency on the line, just as surely as the SEALS put their lives on the line. That was raw courage — something else we haven’t seen in a decade.

And lastly, Over the past two and a half years, president Obama has pointed out several times; “We didn’t create this war/economy/environment, we inherited it,” which is true. And without any hesitation, the canned Republican response is; “George Bush isn’t president anymore, you are. This is all your baby now.”

Yes it is. And as unpleasant as it is that the wars, the economy and the environment ARE now Obama’s baby, so too is what happened Sunday night. George W. Bush no more deserves a soupçon of credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, than he does for being an Ace fighter pilot during the Vietnam War.

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