Barack Obama has been making a disgrace of himself and his office using the death of Osama bin Laden as a political prop to disguise his complete lack of any other national security accomplishments. It is unseemly enough to be running around spiking OBL's ventilated melon like a football, but worse is the false narrative that Barry O bears anything but the barest credit for his death. Last time I checked it was a joint operation w/ SEALs, Rangers, TF 160 birds, CIA and a host of other folks actually putting their lives on the line. Now we see Bill Clinton, who failed numerous times to have the guts to take OBL out, narrate a campaign ad for Obama that pretends Romney wouldn't have been as gutsy as O. This is both a flagrant misrepresentation of Romney's words and a grotesque use of one failed President to support another. There are even fairly reliable reports that Obama had the idea polled to see if he would bear blame for a mission failure or for chickening out and saying no go. But once the results said it was politically viable, the story was that bravely brave Sir Barry hollered "Follow Me" and led his minions to the Situation Room to watch the show.
As it turns out, it was even lamer than that. A memo has come to light that shows responsibility was pushed down the chain to ADM McRaven, Commander of JSOC. And you can be sure that if it had gone south, McRaven would have been portrayed as a trigger-happy SEAL who led the Prez astray.
"The timing, operational decision-making and control are in Adm. McRaven's hands," the memo says. "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."
So additional risks have to be run by The President, really? What about the winds on the landing zone, does he make that call? Or if it's raining, does that require more gutsiness? It shouldn't. That is what the operational commander does, assess risks. If you have ever been in a military command and control situation, you can smell the weaseling all over this. If it all works out and OBL gets scarfed up, or as was the case shot in the eye, Barry gets the credit. But that little line about "additional risks are to be brought back to the President" is a world class bit of ass-covering. The second you greenlight an op like this, additional risks begin popping up and there is no way to successfully do the mission if every change requires another poll and another gutsy call. As Murphy's First Law of Combat states "No plan survives first contact". McRaven was teed up to be the scapegoat and you can probably imagine the press conference if the worst had happened:
Obama's Designated Liar- "We must sadly announce that a military operation in Pakistan appears to have gone horribly wrong. A US helicopter crashed near Abbotobad, Pakistan killing all the military personnel on board as well as six Pakistani civilians. We deeply regret this loss of life and humbly apologize to the people of Pakistan for this tragedy and violation of their sovereignty. The President authorized a mission to arrest Osama bin Laden but the intelligence he based this decision on was faulty. In addition he was told that the danger to civilians was minimal, but additional risks that came up during the operation were not brought to his attention."
Nice career you had there Admiral, but the President has political considerations and a reelection campaign to run and so you join the cast of thousands he's thrown under the bus.
If you want to contrast styles of leadership, or more properly contrast leadership with the acts of a politician, look at the letter Dwight Eisenhower wrote before approving the invasion of D-Day to make sure he was on the hook good or bad. Oh and yes Mr. Biden this was one of dozens of military missions monumentally more audacious that your bosses poll-supported call. This is leadership.
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Harve area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.” Eisenhower Library and Museum
Take note President Obama, that is how you lead, from the front. It's the only way.