According to a handwritten memo from then-CIA chief Leon Panetta, the closest thing Obama made to a “gutsy call” in the operation to “get” bin Laden was to put the whole thing in the hands of a Navy Admiral, one “Admiral McRaven,” which is almost certainly 4-star Admiral William H. McRaven, the Commanding Officer of the United States Special Operations Command.
Breitbart points out that even when making the “gutsy call,” he tried to ensure that he had a way to avoid any negative political fallout.
The memo puts all control in the hands of Admiral McRaven – the “timing, operational decision making and control” are all up to McRaven. So the notion that Obama and his team were walking through every stage of the operation is incorrect. The hero here was McRaven, not Obama. And had the mission gone wrong, McRaven surely would have been thrown under the bus.
The memo is crystal clear on that point. It says that the decision has been made based solely on the “risk profile presented to the President.” If any other risks – no matter how minute – arose, they were “to be brought back to the President for his consideration.” This is ludicrous. It is wiggle room. It was Obama’s way of carving out space for himself in case the mission went bad. If it did, he’d say that there were additional risks of which he hadn’t been informed; he’d been kept in the dark by his military leaders.
So, if everything went well — as it did — Obama would take the credit for the “gutsy call.” If it went sideways, he’d blame McRaven, saying the decorated Admiral was the one handling the operation, so everything is his fault.
This is pretty much what we’d expect from the President who voted “present” so many times in Congress. If anyone made a “gutsy call,” it was Admiral McRaven, so kudos to him.
UPDATE: Looks like Obama is even spiking the ball for Admiral McRaven’s touchdown! And he’s doing what he said he wouldn’t, too:
This latest ad contradicts President Obama’s own pledge after he took out bin Laden. “You know, we don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” Obama told CBS soon after the terrorist mastermind had been taken out. He added: “Americans and people around the world are glad that he’s gone. But we don’t need to spike the football.”
With the Obama campaign’s latest ad, it’s pretty safe to say that the president is now OK with “trot[ting] out this stuff” and “spik[ing] the football,” as long as it helps him get reelected.
Shameless. That’s the only word for it.