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Obama's actions show steel in his spine

Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile

Let's establish a fact straight off: The killing of Osama bin Laden was a risky, yet unqualified success for America. Since 9/11, bin Laden had been hanging over our daily lives. The terrorist bin Laden infused our politics: Former Vice President Cheney made political hay during the election of 2004 by barnstorming America and talking about a bin Laden-planted nuclear bomb in one of our cities.

Today, as a result of bin Laden's death, our national self-confidence is being restored. Yet, we all know that there remains a serious threat, and it is important that our leaders remain resilient in keeping our nation safe and secure.

At the time of bin Laden's death, Tom Gara, a Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times in Dubai, tweeted: "Seriously, Obama doesn't care where you are, he'll just straight up kill you. The dude sees to the death of (U.S.) enemies."

There's a rule here: If President Obama would have gotten the blame if the raid had failed, then he deserves the credit for its success. Yet, crediting Obama is not what is at issue. The issue of the bin Laden raid is about leadership and sober judgment backed by sound intelligence.

But there's politics, too.

The Obama campaign ran an ad raising the issue of the bin Laden raid as a matter of leadership, and contrasting Obama's decision with former Gov. Mitt Romney's words back in the last campaign season, that he, Romney, would not focus on capturing bin Laden.

Republican Sen. John McCain feigned outrage over Obama's ad, issuing a statement, not through his office, but through the Republican National Committee: "Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad."

As The New York Time's op-ed columnist Ross Douthat wrote in his column, "Impugning a rival's judgment, as the Obama camp's Bin Laden advertisement just did, is precisely what a presidential campaign is for."

In the 2008 election, retired Air Force Gen. Merrill A. McPeak said of Obama: "He's our best hope of restoring our security and standing in today's world. The old Washington hands have let us down. We need a new leader to lift America." Well, the old Washington hands are back, and they don't want to admit they were wrong.

Obama made good. He kept a repeated campaign promise, clearly stated in July 2008: "We must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights."

At the time, McCain himself took exception to Obama's resolve to pursue bin Laden into Pakistan, incorrectly calling it an invasion of another country. Romney told a Reuter's reporter, "I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours ..."

But, here's the kicker: McCain himself took Romney to the woodshed over the same Romney words quoted in the Obama ad -- where Romney said he wouldn't focus on bin Laden. Politico reported McCain was hesitant to respond to Romney's comments, but that he "would make an exception for a national security matter."

McCain said, "It takes a degree of naivete to think (bin Laden's) not an element in the struggle against radical Islam." But, almost five years to the day that McCain responded to the same Romney words the Obama ad quoted, as "national security matter," McCain now calls it a "cheap political attack."

Would McCain see these following words by conservative columnist Byron York as cheap and political: "Perhaps Romney should watch the tape of the planes hitting the towers again."

Jeff Fecke of Lakeville, Minn., understands grandstanding. On Twitter, he took a humorous approach and tweeted: "Obama should be more humble about killing bin Laden. He should, like, just land on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit."

The example that McCain and Romney treat us to is that Republican politics demand they never, ever, give their opponent credit for anything. Romney appeared on "CBS This Morning" and flip-flopped almost in the same sentence. Romney said Obama deserves credit for stopping bin Laden, then said "anyone" would have given the order to go into Pakistan -- an order Romney is on record twice as saying he wouldn't issue.

Since this brouhaha broke in the news, the president made a trip to Afghanistan to visit the troops and sign an agreement with Afghanistan that outlines our objectives beyond the 2014 troop withdrawals. Bottom line: The Afghans will take over the defense of their country, and our troops will leave.

Obama is bringing the war to a responsible end. In a televised address to the nation from Bagram Air Base, the president stated, "The agreement we signed today sends a clear message to the Afghani people: As you stand up, you will not stand alone."

It's about time we bring our troops home safely and responsibly.

Donna Brazile is a senior Democratic strategist, a political commentator and contributor to CNN and ABC News, and a contributing columnist to Ms. Magazine and O, the Oprah Magazine.

Comments

ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 4 months ago

This column was obviously written before the story came out that President Obama had "lawyered-up" documents ready in case the raid on OBL went astray. Those documents would lay the blame squarely at the feet of the military. Obama is an absolute joke. The USA cannot stand another 4 years of him. He has used the actions of our brave men and women as a political stunt.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 4 months ago

D. Brazile........another dope smoking Liberal dope without the brains God gave a billy goat.

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VSU 2 years, 4 months ago

Only crackheads, Pot smokers and brainwashed fools would vote Obama in for another four years, in fact they are the ones who voted him in in the first place.

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