In less than one week since the announcement by President Barack Obama that American Special Forces had found and eliminated Osama bin Laden, the American right has done everything possible to spin the accomplishment as something less than what it truly is: an historic achievement by this administration.
Of course there are statesmen and women and, dare I say, patriots on the right who have behaved exactly as they would have if this event had taken place six years ago. However there have been far too many of the chicken hHawks and right wingers who have constructed some type of rationale to criticize and diminish the president’s handling of this affair. Their reaction begs the question: Can this president do anything to please the 15 – 20% of Americans who just cannot stand the fact that Obama is our president?
Many on the right have claimed the majority of the credit for nailing bin Laden should go to the Bush Administration. I say balderdash! Let’s review the facts. By the spring of 2002, the Bush Administration had begun a four year campaign to downgrade the importance of neutralizing bin Laden. And of course, in 2003 the president decided it was prudent to divert our armed forces away from Afghanistan to invade Iraq after lying about that country’s complicity in the 2001 attacks.
But let’s start at the beginning. In the opening days of America’s fight in Afghanistan our civilian commanders had, in essence, allowed the terrorist leader to escape to the mountains that border Afghanistan and Pakistan in an area called, Tora Bora. During the initial invasion of Afghanistan bin Laden was cornered in the caves of the mountainous region but escaped. It would be the first of a series of missteps which would become the rule in Bush’s hunt for the terrorist. In an April, 2002 page one story The New York Times published the following report: “The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge… the intelligence community is persuaded that bin Laden slipped away in the first 10 days of December.”