During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama said that if there was “actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets” available on which Pakistan’s leadership won’t act the U.S. would. And while they most certainly feel differently now, at the time, his then-rivals, Sen. Hillary Clinton, who now serves as his secretary of state, and eventual running mate Sen. Joe Biden, scoffed. Such a statement was irresponsible and naïve, they said.
They probably weren’t the only ones who felt that way, given he was the candidate with the least amount of foreign relations experience. And it may also be why there has been a good deal of debate taking place since the raid that lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden over who deserves the most credit: Obama or former President George W. Bush.
“I think the credit for the focus and the fight and, obviously, the gathering of intelligence over the years is shared by both administrations,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. But, he added, “On the refocus, the revitalization of the effort, to get bin Laden--that was a promise the president made when he was a candidate and one he followed up on.”
While many Republicans praised Obama for authorizing the operation, Sarah Palin and others pointedly thanked Bush and the military and didn’t mention Obama in their responses.
Adam Yoshida at the conservative American Thinker believes that the policies that Bush put into place are what ultimately led to Bin Laden’s capture.
“As the details of the sensational operation that killed Osama bin Laden come to light, it is becoming increasingly clear that while all honor and credit for the successful execution of the mission must go to the superlative members of the United States Armed Forces, the strategic vision that brought this glorious moment into being was that of George W. Bush,” he writes.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, who has on occasion publically criticized the Obama administration, said in an interview that with ABC News that the president deserves the credit for Obama’s death and praised the judgment he exercised in authorizing the raid. Like Carney, he also noted that it’s a tandem effort.
“It started in the Clinton administration, was carried forward-- very aggressively--in the Bush administration and now the Obama administration with the results we're all very pleased to see today,” Cheney said.
He also warned that it’s time for everyone to stop “patting ourselves on the back because we got Bin Laden” and be on the alert for the next possible terrorist attack.
(Photo: AP Photo/Rahimullah Yousafzai)