President Obama's address to the troops would have been fine on its own. But the fact that it comes while his campaign is asserting that Mitt Romney would not have authorized the raid which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden cheapens both the occasion and the office of the presidency. Our troops deserve better than to be used as political props by President Obama.
As former Attorney General Michael Mukasey noted in The Wall Street Journal, we would have never seen this sort of behavior from Dwight Eisenhower or Abraham Lincoln, whom Obama is fond of quoting and, for that matter, George W. Bush, whom Obama is not fond of quoting.
Mukasey also notes that if the operation had failed the buck would not have stopped with President Obama. There would have been a fall guy. In this case, it would have been left to Admiral William McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, to fall on his sword:
A recently disclosed memorandum from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta shows that the president's celebrated derring-do in authorizing the operation included a responsibility-escape clause: "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."
Which is to say, if the mission went wrong, the fault would be Adm. McRaven's, not the president's.So much for that "new era of responsibility" President Obama spoke about when he was inaugurated. It seems to me that President Obama has a different understanding of what responsibility means than most of us. For Obama, when things go wrong he takes none of the blame and when things go right he takes all of the credit. It is the sort of thing you can expect of someone who thinks the world around him.
President Obama simply does not grasp that there's no I in Team Six.