This weekend, the "brave & bold" politicians of the Administration are giving their interviews of the fear they felt watching the Seals destroy the most wanted man in the world. They have rolled out a video of Bill Clinton suggesting Mitt Romney would not have had the balls to let the Seals do what Seals do. Leon Panetta took reporters on a magic plane ride where he told them of his daring do and how he had to ask what happens next on the mission he purportedly planned and ran, in the middle of it. Obama, Hillary, Panetta, & Biden have expressed their heroism and fears while watching Seals do what they personally never did, could, or would.
"Boldly risking his own political hide and rushing to the video screen to watch others risk their lives on the other side of the world, the ruler of the Western World, Obama, suffered neck strain, and observed the gasps of his political colleagues while overcome with the smell of Biden and Hillary, for nearly an hour, before declaring himself, the only man on Earth bold enough to control the remote. As the mission was initiated, he made jokes to reporters, belying his fears that the mission wouldn't fall on an historic date. As the enemy sold the classified equipment left behind, he confidently walked to the podium, certain watching that screen would get him re-elected." Proposed citation for the Adminstrators of the Republic.
Why do these politicians believe that they acted heroically by watching a video screen of someone else put their lives on the line on the other side of the world? Because it was "politically risky." Bill Clinton didn't have the balls to do it when he had the chance in the 1990's. The driving force of their fears was not, getting shot at, but getting voted out of power. Their concern was not for the men on the ground, but for their own power being lost. There was real concern that their paychecks were tied to the lives they had risked and the life they hoped they could take. This Ain't Hell addresses the political campaign of this, as well.
During the 2008 election campaign, the junior Senator from Illinois espoused the use of unfettered bombing campaigns into Pakistan. At the time, Pakistan was an ally. At the time, they had captured more Al-Qaeda terrorists than any other ally. At the time, I argued that alienating this ally was the wrong policy. As of April 2012, this Administration still has not repaired the damage it started in 2009.
On July 15, 2008, at the Woodrow Wilson Institute, the then junior Senator from Illinois said he would increase drone strikes in Pakistan, without consultation with that ally, an invasion of Pakistan sovereignty. I said then, that this was not the way to treat an ally, not even a reluctant ally. I pointed out that conducting military strikes in a foreign country was an act of war, and there would be repercussions. Whether or not the plane has a pilot is not what makes it an act of war. Dropping bombs is the act of war.
In March of 2009, it was already apparent that the Obama Administration was doing everything wrong in "AfPak," and particularly, in alienating Pakistan.
From 2001 to 2009, Pakistan had participated in international diplomacy/politics. They had authorized the US to conduct UAV/military attacks on its territory, against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but publicly protested those attacks, weakly. Domestic policies required them to publicly protest what they had secretly approved. The current POTUS severed the alliance, by increasing the quantity of attacks with no regard for the ally's input.
"American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. To abandon this area now - and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance - would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies." Obama, 2009, West Point
It seems now, that he never truly endorsed Victory in Afghanistan.
The deadliest years in Afghanistan have been those since 2009, which account for more than 75% of all violence there since 2001. Pakistan has gone from ally to obstacle. Egypt, Tunisia, & Libya have all fallen prey to Islamism, while Iran's premier ally in the region continues to slaughter its own people in the streets, while the UN sends people to watch, and Al-Qaeda and other Islamists build up the probability that Islamism, not democracy will win regardless of the outcome. Yemen and Somalia are more dangerous than ever, while Islamist attacks have spread to Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, and elsewhere.
Apologists, for the policies that brought this about, argue that killing OBL while giving allies to the enemy has somehow made the world a safer place. They argue that blowing up TV stations in Libya wasn't a war and supporting protestors slaughtered in the streets of Tehran would have been irresponsible.
It seems the SeALs aren't exactly happy with the way Obama is playing this either.
September 24, 2008: Pakistan, an Ally under Attack
October 2008: The left claimed that the Petraeus Plan rested on Diplomacy alone, abandoning the "Troops are Targets" argument of 2007.
March 2009: The Obama Administration was already alienating Pakistan.
November 2009: 2009 became the deadliest year in Afghanistan (now 3rd)
October 2010: The"new" strategy of Al-Qaeda to use "lone wolves" was pre-planned.
April 2012: Obama Administration still can't repair their damages to the Pakistani Alliance
April 2012: Panetta describes his harrowing experience to reporters, watching others risk their lives, as the Administration rolls out the "bravery" of the politicians political campaign.
Jonn Lilyea, at This Ain't Hell, doesn't find the bravery in watching a TV screen either.