Barack Obama: Osama Slayer

Since everything seems to come in threes, it seems both Republicans and Democrats are now fighting over another ridiculous campaign non-issue beside the “war on women” and the “war on dogs”: the slaying of Osama bin Laden.

On the one hand, some Democrats are touting Obama’s role in bin Laden’s execution as a sign of his superior leadership (see the Obama campaign commercial above). Other Democrats are appalled that he would politicize this issue. Certain Democrats are also claiming that Romney would not have taken similar actions were he president and faced with the same decision.

On the other hand, some Republicans have been openly dismissive of Obama’s role, while others are appalled that President Obama would make Obama’s assassination a campaign issue. Moreover, Republicans have scoffed at the idea that Romney would not have made a similar decision. Romney himself noted, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order” in a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to remind voters of the perception that Democrats have traditionally been weak on defense.

Now, even the Navy SEALS and former intelligence officials are weighing in, and what they have to say will surprise you:

Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart.

“But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, ‘Come on, man!’ It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.”

Here’s another quote:

But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot.

“In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.”

And another one:

He’s trying to say that Romney wouldn’t have made the same call? Anyone who is patriotic to this country would have made that exact call, Democrat or Republican. Obama is taking more credit than he is due but it’s going to get him some pretty good mileage.”

And another one from a former military intelligence officer:

In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier – as would George W. Bush.”

For what’s it’s worth, I think President Obama deserves some credit for eliminating bin Laden. That said, I think Obama’s campaign staff is assigning the president far more credit than he deserves. I also think it is ridiculous for the Democratic Party to claim that Mitt Romney, or any other mainstream politician for that matter, would not have made the same call.

Can’t these candidates talk about real issues like how to expand the economy?

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About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Conservative clean energy crusader, national security hawk, financial analyst, engineer, and former military officer.
This entry was posted in Defense, Finance and Economics, International Security, Leadership, Policy, Politics, Terrorism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

88 Responses to Barack Obama: Osama Slayer

  1. Agreed. He deserves some credit in that he did make the final decision (regardless of whether his advisors strongly recommended it to him, which they did).

    However, I agree mostly with the SEAL/military comments. Obama was really “lucky” (if I may say that) in that we found bin Laden right before the State of the Union. He personally didn’t do anything notable to make that happen. Our military just kept working as it always has, and it came together at the perfect time for Obama. Trying to take credit for “extraordinary leadership” is just begging for reprimand.

  2. lbwoodgate says:

    “I think Obama’s campaign staff is assigning the president far more credit than he deserves. I also think it is ridiculous for the Democratic Party to claim that Mitt Romney, or any other mainstream politician for that matter, would not have made the same call.”

    This all sounds like a bunch of sour grapes whining to me from people who would have exploited this to the hilt had their been a GOP president in place. Christ, look what they did at a point when they thought the fight in Iraq was a “Mission Accomplished”. The dressed the clown up in a flight suit and dropped him off at sea on the USS Lincoln.

    The GOP just doesn’t like having their noses rubbed in something they have always falsely claimed about “the perception that Democrats have traditionally been weak on defense.”

    The fact that some of us may not be enthralled with this serving as campaign fodder we are still mindful that any criticism of Obama and the Democrats being weak on defense is now just one more straw man argument laid to rest for everyone, except of course for the extremist elements in the Republican Party who will forever remain in denial.

    This is a political season Sean. When will you realize that hitting below the belt is not strictly reserved for the GOP?

    • “This all sounds like a bunch of sour grapes whining to me from people who would have exploited this to the hilt had their been a GOP president in place. Christ, look what they did at a point when they thought the fight in Iraq was a “Mission Accomplished”. The dressed the clown up in a flight suit and dropped him off at sea on the USS Lincoln.”

      There is no doubt that both parties exploit things like this, and the mission accomplished banner is a key example.

      “The GOP just doesn’t like having their noses rubbed in something they have always falsely claimed about ‘the perception that Democrats have traditionally been weak on defense.'”

      This isn’t a false claim at all. Until recently, Democrats have had a terrible record on defense. Over the past fifty years, they brought the US a string of failures including Vietnam and Desert One. They also wasted resources on campaigns tangential to America’s national interest like Kosovo, Bosnia, and Libya. They also hollowed out the military during the Carter and Clinton administrations (to be fair, Bush Senior contributed to that as well). The killing of bin Laden is the one thing they can claim. That’s it.

      • This site is such tripe. You try the rational approach, but after perusing some of your articles I can see there’s more cherry picking here than in an orchard. I have some quotes of my own that I can pick and choose to create a narrative that purports to represent the collective feeling of the armed forces. Romney said that HE WOULDN’T HAVE GONE INTO PAKISTAN to get Bin Laden and called Obama naive. Today, Guiliani said of your tin hero Romney, that he has been working to keep us safe? LOL. What? He has zero foreign policy experience and probably rivals Palin on the subject. Maybe he’ll protect us from the Cayman Islands!

        The idea that anyone thinks its inappropriate for Obama use his executive order to kill Bin Laden (BTW – his presidency would have been over if the mission went poorly) in showing contrast between themselves as leaders is off-base. When Romney uses his “business experience” (because loading companies up with debt, sending jobs overseas, and using “creative destruction”) to push a contrast between his private sector experience and Obama’s – where is there a difference. Except that Romney is a manufactured success, just like the last POS you guys kept in office for 8 years.

        • Sigh…

          If you’d paid attention to my post, you’d note that I argued Obama deserved some credit in bin Laden’s execution. I just don’t think he was as central to the process as Democrats would have voters believe. The special warfare operators in the article to which I linked were the closest to the actual operation, so their words deserve far more weight than you’re ascribing to them.

          You are right that Romney lacks foreign affairs experience. That said, he has more executive experience as a candidate than candidate Obama had.

          Moreover, the argument that anyone, when presented with the opportunity to get bin Laden in this context, would not decide to go for it is absurd. The Democrats have no idea what Romney would have done or not have done. They are creating a campaign oriented straw man and tearing it down. Surely you are smart enough to see that. Moreover, Romney’s answer was in the context of moving vast manpower resources into the rejoin to uncover every rock to find bin Laden. That strategy wasn’t the President’s approach either. I’m sure if the question was in the context of taking bin Laden out with a surgical team, he would have answered affirmatively as would any reasonable politician with the exception of a whacko like Maxine Waters.

      • lbwoodgate says:

        “This isn’t a false claim at all. Until recently, Democrats have had a terrible record on defense. Over the past fifty years, they brought the US a string of failures including Vietnam and Desert One.”

        Sean, you really ought to reconsider re-titling your blog that omits the word “rational” in it. The belief that Democrats have had a terrible record on defense is simply not substantiated by the facts. Both World Wars were concluded successfully under Democratic administrations and Vietnam was a failed war but surely not a sign of weakness since we went in aggressively but tried to fight a guerilla war with conventional troops. It failed from this as did Bush II’s war in Iraq. Bush I’s Desert Storm venture was a partial failure because it failed to accomplish what led his son to go back in – killing off the dictator there and establishing a semblance of a democracy.

        I find it interesting too that when bloated military budgets are cut like they were under then Defense Secretary Cheney back in the early 1990’s there is little said about how this is weakening the military but when a Democrat does it for the same reasons, then Republicans hawks are out there rattling their sabers and wringing their hands about how the military has been weakened by the Dems. What they’re really angry about is their home turf is loosing that federal money that creates jobs in their districts. Such hypocrisy.

        “Over the past fifty years, they brought the US a string of failures including Vietnam and Desert One.”

        What the hell are you calling “Desert One”? Desert Storm I was Bush senior’s war. So other than Vietnam, what other wars were in this “string” you refer to?

        “They also wasted resources on campaigns tangential to America’s national interest like Kosovo, Bosnia, and Libya.”

        How so? How can you sit here and complain that Democrats have had a terrible record on defense and yet when they are successful, as they were in Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya, then you say they wasted resources to get it done. Should it have been done “on the cheap” like Rumsfeld’s “shock and awe” campaign. Rumsfeld told the American public at that time is that it would cost no more than $20 billion. The current cost for Iraq alone is over $800 billion and climbing. Not to mention the needless loss of American military lives there. How many were there in Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya? Oh yeah – ZERO

        • “Sean, you really ought to reconsider re-titling your blog that omits the word “rational” in it. The belief that Democrats have had a terrible record on defense is simply not substantiated by the facts. Both World Wars were concluded successfully under Democratic administrations and Vietnam was a failed war but surely not a sign of weakness since we went in aggressively but tried to fight a guerilla war with conventional troops. It failed from this as did Bush II’s war in Iraq. Bush I’s Desert Storm venture was a partial failure because it failed to accomplish what led his son to go back in – killing off the dictator there and establishing a semblance of a democracy. ”

          Well, I did say “over the past fifty years.” The last time I checked World War I ended in 1918 and World War II ended in 1945. I would appreciate it if you got your simple arithmetic right before you accuse me of being irrational.

          “Bush I’s Desert Storm venture was a partial failure because it failed to accomplish what led his son to go back in – killing off the dictator there and establishing a semblance of a democracy.”

          Now this is a real stretch. Bush I’s Desert Storm accomplished exactly what Bush I intended to do – liberate Kuwait. He sent 500,000 troops to the Gulf and our country suffered only ~500 deaths – a miraculous statistic.

  3. efgd says:

    With so much more for the average citizen to be concerned about, jobs, housing, education, health care for instance, it saddens me that like the UK relatively irrelevant matters are put on the front burner of debate. Sad. And a tad obnoxious.

  4. Jeff Fordham says:

    Give me a break Sean and try being fair about it:
    “Over the past fifty years, they brought the US a string of failures including Vietnam and Desert One. They also wasted resources on campaigns tangential to America’s national interest like Kosovo, Bosnia, and Libya. They also hollowed out the military during the Carter and Clinton administrations (to be fair, Bush Senior contributed to that as well). ”

    Lets start with Viet Nam. No question that war was built up during Kennedy and Johnson period but the original military advisors were sent to Viet Nam under Eisenhower, and I can distinctly remember Richard Nixon defending and agreeing with the mission in Viet Nam during his 68 campaign. And then justifying moving troops illegally into Cambodia and Laos in 1970 and 71. Then I distinctly remember Nixon realizing the futility of the mission heading into the 72 election and ramping up bombing of the north to bring them back to the negotiating table in Paris. ( which worked) Then I remember the fervent anti communist Richard M Nixon cutting a deal with the communists of North Viet Nam while 147,00 North Vietnamese regulars were camped in the South and waiting to proceed in their quest, which they did exactly within months of the signing of the Paris peace accords. Peace with Commies? Good Job !….and lets not forget the fervent anti communist Richard Nixon going to China……..(but thats for another day)

    Desert one was an impossible mission from the start( pre the intel capability we have today) but I give Jimmy Carter the credit for making the decision to go. I am not sure how you find Carter a failure because sand got whipped up at the desert rendezvous mission in the dark and caused a Helocopter pilot to mistakenly turn into the path of a C-130 on the same mission? That somehow is Carters fault? To me it proves a point that taking the risk and calling the shot is 75% of the battle.

    By your Measure I could say that Ronald Reagan was careless and a failure because he left 300 Marines to sit in a poorly guarded high rise in an open field in Beruit Lebanon, with no real mission… only to have 243 of them DIE in a suicide bombing attack. ( thats far more than the 8 American servicemen who died at desert one) …….And then what did Ronald Reagan do? he pulled every single American out of the Lebanese theatre aka “cut and ran” …..And don’t try to tell me that Reagan had a success in Grenada. That whole mission was a joke from the get go. We sent 8,000 troops and an entire fleet and air wing to remove Grenadian soldiers ( thats a joke) and 700 Cubans most of which were construction workers and their families. The mission cost 134 million which leads me to believe it would have been cheaper to bribe each Cuban with $150,000 dollars to leave

    As far as Carter and Clinton hollowing out the military: Carter was left with the end of a decade of increased military spending in Viet Nam. There was no reason to justify spending levels at that rate as the numbers did not add up. There was a drawdown of troops that no longer needed support. You couple that with Nixon’s SALT 1 agreement with the COMMIES to reduce our ballistic missile forces (which we did in compliance with SALT) you add even less money that the Pentagon needed during that period.

    As far as Clinton…..let me post what factcheck.org had to say when Giulianni blamed Bill Clinton for hollowing out the military in the 2008 debate: “most of the cutting to which Giuliani refers occurred during the administration of George H.W. Bush. At the end of fiscal year 1993 (which was Bush’s last one in office), the Army had 572,423 active-duty soldiers – a far cry from 725,000. In fact, to get to that number, one has to go back to 1990, during the first gulf war. Moreover, Clinton’s cuts in the military, while large, were nowhere close to 25 percent to 30 percent. Between 1993 and 2001, the Army went from 572,423 to 480,801, which is a decline of 16 percent. The entire military went from 1,705,103 to 1,385,116, a decrease of 18.8 percent.

    Compare that with the far larger cuts made during the first Bush administration: In 1989, the military stood at 2,130,229 and the Army had 769,741 soldiers. By 1993, those numbers had declined by 19.9 percent and 25.6 percent, respectively”

    http://factcheck.org/2008/01/nh-debate-the-gop-field/

    As far as Kosovo ………everyone was affected when they saw concentration camps with starving people behind wire……………because of their ethnic make up. While I did not agree with the intervention and the costs…………the fact remains it worked and has worked. I have friends that visited all of Yugoslavia for a vacation in 2007 and they said they got an overwhelming response that they are glad the US and the world came to the rescue.

    Libya? come on dude…..I had put up with Khadafy for 30 years………..thank God he’s gone. Any Republican would love to take the credit for that. You can’t tell me its not because it was a Democrat running the show. My party is disingenuous with this one…………..completely !

    Sean, you really need to review your history a bit more when it comes to the actual facts. It seems as though you threw that one out too quickly as fact. I am not sure how old you are, but I lived through all of what I have described and remember it quite well.

    • “Lets start with Viet Nam.”

      Sure. Democrats massively escalated the conflict, and it took the overwhelming First Persian Gulf victory under Bush senior to get out from under the Vietnam specter that haunted America’s foreign policy since that war.

      “Desert one was an impossible mission from the start( pre the intel capability we have today) but I give Jimmy Carter the credit for making the decision to go. I am not sure how you find Carter a failure because sand got whipped up at the desert rendezvous mission in the dark and caused a Helocopter pilot to mistakenly turn into the path of a C-130 on the same mission? That somehow is Carters fault? To me it proves a point that taking the risk and calling the shot is 75% of the battle.”

      Yes it was, but if it was such a gutsy decision, why didn’t Carter follow through. Moreover, Carter was responsible for gutting America’s human intelligence capabilities – something from which this country has never recovered from — it’s a good thing we have great technical intelligence.

      “By your Measure I could say that Ronald Reagan was careless and a failure because he left 300 Marines to sit in a poorly guarded high rise in an open field in Beruit Lebanon, with no real mission… only to have 243 of them DIE in a suicide bombing attack. ( thats far more than the 8 American servicemen who died at desert one) …….And then what did Ronald Reagan do? he pulled every single American out of the Lebanese theatre aka “cut and ran””

      Had it ended there, I’d agree. However, perhaps you’ve forgotten the little conflict the United States fought against Iran in 1987 and ’88, in which the United States sank Iran’s navy. It ended when we accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger airline (even though the Iranians thought we were really serious then). Then, of course, Reagan also bombed Khadafi in retaliation for the night club bombing in Germany.

      “As far as Clinton…..let me post what factcheck.org had to say when Giulianni blamed Bill Clinton for hollowing out the military in the 2008 debate: “most of the cutting to which Giuliani refers occurred during the administration of George H.W. Bush. At the end of fiscal year 1993 (which was Bush’s last one in office), the Army had 572,423 active-duty soldiers – a far cry from 725,000. In fact, to get to that number, one has to go back to 1990, during the first gulf war. Moreover, Clinton’s cuts in the military, while large, were nowhere close to 25 percent to 30 percent. Between 1993 and 2001, the Army went from 572,423 to 480,801, which is a decline of 16 percent. The entire military went from 1,705,103 to 1,385,116, a decrease of 18.8 percent.”

      I never said Bush Senior didn’t help hollow out the military – please recheck my original post.

      “As far as Kosovo ………everyone was affected when they saw concentration camps with starving people behind wire……………because of their ethnic make up. While I did not agree with the intervention and the costs…………the fact remains it worked and has worked. I have friends that visited all of Yugoslavia for a vacation in 2007 and they said they got an overwhelming response that they are glad the US and the world came to the rescue.”

      Of course it worked, but that does not make it a good use of resources. Obama’s Libyan campaign was extremely successful. It was still a waste of US resources and set the precedent that cooperating with the US to give up your weapons of mass destruction will only open you up to attack. I’m sure North Korea and Iran internalized that lesson.

      “Libya? come on dude…..I had put up with Khadafy for 30 years………..thank God he’s gone. Any Republican would love to take the credit for that. You can’t tell me its not because it was a Democrat running the show. My party is disingenuous with this one…………..completely !”

      I actually didn’t agree with taking him out because he cooperated with the United States to get rid of his WMD. It sent a horrible precedent for US counterproliferation policy. Moreover, it put members of a Libyan al Qaeda affiliate in charge of the country. Libya was an operational success, but a long-term strategic failure.

      • lbwoodgate says:

        “Libya was an operational success, but a long-term strategic failure.”

        So you’re suggesting that we should have invested more to make this a strategic success, like Bush did in Iraq? If you’re calling that a success then I have ocean front property for you in Yuma. How would you determine what it would take to make it a strategic success?

        • “So you’re suggesting that we should have invested more to make this a strategic success, like Bush did in Iraq? If you’re calling that a success then I have ocean front property for you in Yuma. How would you determine what it would take to make it a strategic success?”

          Well, given North Korea’s recent missile launch, and threats of another nuclear test, I would say that convincing them to give up their nuclear weapons is fairly impossible at this point after what we did to Libya. By this measure, I would call Libya a strategic failure.

          • lbwoodgate says:

            So, you think we failed in Libya because the nut ball in Korea still shot his firecracker off?

            • Before Obama, US policy was to levy sanctions against regimes that pursued development of WMD, and reward those who eliminated their WMD programs. Qaddafi dismantled his program, and we ultimately responded by overthrowing his regime. As such, the dominant strategy for any dictator is not to cooperate. Otherwise, not having nuclear capability weakens their position. Iran, for instance, has no choice now but to develop nukes because of the precedent Obama set with Libya. Hence the mission there was a strategic failure because it served to increase the incentive for would be proliferators.

              • “As such, the dominant strategy for any dictator is not to cooperate. Otherwise, not having nuclear capability weakens their position. Iran, for instance, has no choice now but to develop nukes because of the precedent Obama set with Libya. Hence the mission there was a strategic failure because it served to increase the incentive for would be proliferators.”

                This is the sort of comment that makes one wonder what planet some conservatives call home. A few bombing raids in Libya isn’t what spurs others to feel they must develop nukes for self-defense. Bush’s decision to launch an aggressive war against Iraq is what spurs others to feel the need for nukes for self-defense. That Bush both did this in spite of the fact that Iraq had abandoned its WMD programs years earlier, and made a grand show of refusing any compromise short of war (the same as happened in Afghanistan, after the Taliban offered to extradite bin Laden and other al Qaida leaders) sends a VERY clear message to every other weak nation who may fall under U.S. scrutiny.

                Iran’s internal politics reflect this quite clearly. Before Bush, the Iranian mullahs had fallen from public favor, and it looked as if their days were numbered. Reformers had won several elections in a row, and even the Council’s favored hardline rightist candidates were having to adopt reformist rhetoric to draw any support at all. After Bush plunges into Iraq, the mullahs crack down. Democracy, which had been on the march, was crushed, reformist candidates often excluded from the process, and we’ve had two fraudulent elections in the a row, wherein the mullahs rigged the game for their “candidate” (who is really just a mouthpiece with no power). This is the kind of desperate, threatened regime that wants a nuclear capability. And if the mouthier rhetoric is to be believed–an important caveat–that’s exactly what they’re aiming for now.

                • You do know that Qaddafi cooperated with the US in the wake of the Iraq invasion right?

                  Had we maintained this carrot and stick policy, North Korea and Iran might have an incentive to cooperate. Now we have a stick and stick policy, so why should they bother.

                  This is classic game theory. In the Bush era, the dominant strategy for a dictator was to cooperate. In the Obama era, the dominant strategy for a dictator is to defect. Do you think it is any accident that Assad decided to shoot his own people rather than cooperate with the United States? It is perfectly rational behavior that I predicted several months ago (Do a search on game theory on this site and you will find it).

                  • “You do know that Qaddafi cooperated with the US in the wake of the Iraq invasion right?”

                    You do know that Qaddafi had been trying to disarm in this way for four years before the Iraq invasion? Starting in 1998, the Libyans had repeatedly tried to cut a deal with the Clinton administration to dismantle the WMD program in exchange for a loosening of sanctions, but Clinton still refused to deal because, among other things, they were trying to pressure Qaddafi to comply with U.S. and UN demands regarding the Lockerbie bombing case. Bush continued this policy. When that matter was finally settled, the Bush administration took the deal. The invasion of Iraq had no bearing on it. If anything, the invasion would have encouraged Qaddafi to back out of the deal.

                    More broadly, even suggesting something like the Iraq invasion would do anything except encourage the development of nukes at the earliest possible time is, to put it as kindly as possible, counterintuitive, and not born out by what we know.

                    • “The invasion of Iraq had no bearing on it. If anything, the invasion would have encouraged Qaddafi to back out of the deal.”

                      Now that’s just pure speculation. The timing of all of it is what’s interesting.

                      “More broadly, even suggesting something like the Iraq invasion would do anything except encourage the development of nukes at the earliest possible time is, to put it as kindly as possible, counterintuitive, and not born out by what we know.”

                      Well that’s not true. Libya is an example that disproves your statement as does Syria in the context that the Syrians know the US won’t take action, so they ignore our calls to end the violence. That said, Iran proves your case. In other words, it works both ways based on one’s adversary.

              • lbwoodgate says:

                Seriously Sean? You continue to skewer the facts to fit your preconceived notion of reality. Long before we assisted in outing Khaddafi we were employing those very tactics you described about sanctions to get both Iran and Iraq to back off of their nuclear ambitions. It clearly didn’t work. Ratcheting it up to the next level may or may not work either but clearly the concept of sanctions was not moving in the direction we hoped.

                And let’s be clear here. We only got involved in Libya because it was clear the people there wanted a regime change, not primarily to send a signal to Tehran. It was important that the US be on the right of history on this rather than try to shift later and make ourselves look foolish after the fact.

      • Jeff Fordham says:

        Hollowing out the military…….did you see my link and the text stating by factcheck that :
        “most” of the defense cutting to which Giuliani refers occurred during the administration of George H.W. Bush. ……..take a look.

        Jimmy Carter was supposed to follow through with a hostage rescue after the element of surprise was gone ….after the crash of the helo and C-130 ?…..and their mobility cut by 60% ……. give me a break.

        Then you add that Jimmy Carter gutting our human intelligence capability……..but once again you fail to review your history correctly. In 1971 Richard Nixon made the first attempt to “reorganize” the CIA in a directive ordering the CIA to consolidate and make more efficient use of their resources……which led to layoffs etc. Then in 1974 the first attempts at restricting the power of the CIA were implemented through the “Hughes& Ryan Amendment” to the foreign assistance act of 1961. This decreed that the president and the CIA and other intelligence agencies to now report all foreign covert operations to the the appropriate congressional committees. This bill was voted for by many Republicans and then SIGNED by Gerald R Ford into law. Ford had also signed an executive order banning all assassination attempts. Then in 1975 you had the Republican vice president Rockefeller chair another committee that pressured the CIA with regards to domestic surveillance, and keeping data on over 300,000 American citizens. The outcome led to the hiring of 2 new deputy directors who were to.. in effect…to further regulate intelligence activity. President Ford then ORDERED implementation of almost 30 of the Rockefeller commission recommendations……he also implemented the “intelligence oversight board” which was established “within” the executive branch of government to monitor all intelligence activities. This executive order was signed by Ford on Feb 18th, 1976 ( EO11905).

        If you think the Church committee established in 1976 restricted our intelligence community guess again…………..all that the Church committee did was to highlight the many practices that the CIA and the NSA were guilty of… in their 6 volume report……………….and besides, Gerald Ford agreed with most of the reports findings, and the committee was quite pleased with several of the executive orders Ford had already implemented.

        Early in 1978 Jimmy Carter signed his own executive order endorsing the Ford assassination ban and more rules regarding DOMESTIC collection techniques by the intelligence community. Following his first executive order, the house tried to established the” National Intelligence Reorganization and Reform Act of 1978.” The bill called for the creation of a “Director of National Intelligence” with broader powers than the DCI to serve as head of the Intelligence Community. The Director of National Intelligence would have retained leadership of CIA with the authority to delegate this responsibility to a Deputy or Assistant Director at the President’s discretion. The bill also contained a long list of restricted activities, provided specific missions and functions for each element of the Intelligence Community, stipulated rigorous review and notification procedures for covert action and clandestine collection, and instituted numerous requirements for reporting to Congress…….but….this bill.. HR11245(95th congress) Never made it out of its respective committees and DIED.

        The only major restriction on the intelligence community during the Carter years was the establishment of the FISA court through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. This had more to do with protecting the rights of United States citizens who may or may not be involved with foreign entities with regard to terrorism and or espionage. This bill originated in the Senate and sponsored by several senators INCLUDING Republicans Storm Thurmond, Jake Garn, and Charles Mathias. I see no evidence of this bill reducing our human intelligence capability worldwide.

        If you actually look at who voted for and who signed into law many of the restrictions and re-organizations of the various divisions of the CIA-NSA and DCI………..you will see that Republican Gerald R Ford was just as culpable, if not more than Jimmy Carter. You will even find that Ronald Reagan also kept in place many of the restrictions that were set in place by Ford and Carter………and lessened only a few of those restrictions…..But most Republicans wrongly suggest that Reagan actually stripped away all of the restrictions…….which is absolutely false. He did provide more funding to their black budget, but thats about it. Not quite sure where you get the information declaring that Jimmy Carter unilaterally reducing our “human” intelligence capability……..all you have to do is check the data for yourself and see that the decade of the 1970s post Viet Nam and Watergate………..Republicans were just as responsible if not more.

  5. Scott Erb says:

    I’m actually teaching a US Foreign Policy course now and we read “Obama’s Wars,” looked at the decision making structure, Obama’s personality, and found out as much as we could about the behind the scenes work on the decision to take out Bin Laden. Obama’s performance was impressive. He was very involved and took the risk even though the CIA’s range of probability Bin Laden was there was somewhere between 40% and 80%. He made key calls to have them prepared to fight out rather than try to negotiate with Pakistan should the Pakistani military get involved, and he handled it in a very solid manner.

    That’s part of his record, man! He proved himself a very cool and focused decision maker in a tense situation. He proved himself tough and not only willing to make a difficult call, but overrule those advising him to undertake a different path. He gave McRaven everything he needed. For the campaign not to use this to counter the negatives being thrown at him would be campaign malpractice. Anyone can cherry pick some quotes from a large group of people, pro or con. These “Seal” quotes strike me as politically motivated and orchestrated. Bush said he “kept us safe” and boldly proclaimed “mission accomplished” when the Iraq war “ended.” To call the decision making behind the killing of Bin Laden off limits is just the GOP not liking the fact Obama accomplished something truly important, and that he showed grace under pressure while doing it. It takes nothing away from anyone else, just as President Bush’s “he kept us safe” line didn’t take away from the people on the front lines really keeping us safe.

    Finally, probably the worst President in terms of US national interests was President George W. Bush. I forgive it because it was tough after 9-11 to know what to do, and Bush did recover after 2006 by changing both the goals and the strategy to something more realistic. But a lot of damage had been done.

    • “Finally, probably the worst President in terms of US national interests was President George W. Bush.”

      I disagree. Surely Lyndon B. Johnson fits this bill a lot better.

      • lbwoodgate says:

        “Surely Lyndon B. Johnson fits this bill a lot better.”

        Not really. Despite the fact that we failed our mission originally, we are now on good social and economic terms with Vietnam today. AND, we don’t have any of their people sending “jihadists” over here to kill Americans.

        • Neither does Iraq. In fact, by killing Jihadists in Iraq, we didn’t have to fight them in courts (with the ACLU’s backing here).

          • lbwoodgate says:

            Nice try but I haven’t seen anything like the underwear bomber and the Times Square bomber being sponsored by Vietnamese communists nor have I seen videos from Vietnam encouraging sleeper cells to kill Americans. If the war in Iraq was supposed to do what you’re claiming here, it failed miserably.

              • lbwoodgate says:

                but they were Muslim radical jihadists. That’s the brotherhood identity they share. Scratch an Iraqi and you will draw a middle easterner’s blood. Some who are intent on killing Americans. There is nothing to compare this to with our relationship in Vietnam

                • Your argument is as follows:

                  Since radical Vietnamese terrorists have not attacked the United States since the Vietnam War, then that War was more successful than the Iraqi War since Europeans of Arab descent and Pakistanis have attempted to attack American targets.

                  Your argument fails because it lacks parallelism. For it to work, you have to prove that Iraqis (not any Muslim, anywhere in the world) have tried to commit acts of terrorism against the United States since the War, which they clearly haven’t.

                  Moreover, you ignore more relevant statistics like military fatalities, which were nearly 10x as high in Vietnam.

                  • lbwoodgate says:

                    “Your argument is as follows:

                    Since radical Vietnamese terrorists have not attacked the United States since the Vietnam War, then that War was more successful than the Iraqi War since Europeans of Arab descent and Pakistanis have attempted to attack American targets.”

                    That isn’t my argument at all. It’s your straw man argument to circumvent my point that terrorism persists despite what we have done in Iraq where there was no “Asian” terrorist attempts following our war with Vietnam. The Muslim jihadist movement to “kill the infidel” may not have sent anyone from Iraq but they did use Iraq as an emotional issue to recruit fellow Islamist. There exists no such “parallelism” for this from our involvement with Vietnam.

                    • Well, we didn’t go into Iraq because of terrorism, we went in to remove Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. And there’s been plenty of Asian terrorism. How about Aum Shrikyo and Abu Sayef? Neither of which have anything to do with Vietnam, but it was your argument.

                      All Arabs are not Iraqi, and all Iraqis are not even Arab, yet that is the fundamental basis of your argument.

                    • lbwoodgate says:

                      “All Arabs are not Iraqi, and all Iraqis are not even Arab, yet that is the fundamental basis of your argument.”

                      Wrong again. You make this about blood lines. It’s about religion. Most, not all, Arabs are Muslims and most Iraqis are Muslims therefore they share the religious base that radicals have exploited and made this an attack by the infidels on their faith.

                      “How about Aum Shrikyo and Abu Sayef? Neither of which have anything to do with Vietnam”

                      Their terrorist activities are not aimed at the U.S. and besides, you’re making an apples to oranges comparison here anyway. Aum Shrikyo and Abu Sayef share nothing that would unite them to confront anyone outside their own domain. All of their activities have been carried out either in Japan by the Aum Shrikyo or in the Phillipines by Abu Sayef. Muslim radicals work under one “holy war” jihadist theme and go outside their countries to kill Americans. Apples and oranges.

                    • Fine. Replace Arab with Muslim and it’s still a poor argument.

          • Scott Erb says:

            Well, Iraq was never a threat to send jihadists, and I have not seen any report suggesting that counter-terrorism was advanced by going to Iraq. In fact, it probably made the task against al qaeda and the Taliban much more difficult. Iraq was part of a bold effort to try to transform the region. It failed, Bush did react by alltering the goals and mission in 2006 and I think the key is to learn the lessons and not repeat them.

            • I disagree. The US was able to draw jihadists to Iraq and away from the United States. It is much easier to fight jihadists with rifles and tanks than with police and lawyers. In other words, you can shoot them and prevent them from joining forces with their pals in the ACLU. A huge reason there hasn’t been a major attack in the US since 9/11 is that jihadists were drawn to and killed in Iraq. Now Obama is killing them with drones in Pakistan, which is the right policy.

      • Scott Erb says:

        I think we’ll have a harder time recovering now than we did after Vietnam. Time will tell.

  6. At the 2004 GOP Convention, an angry Southern white man explained, “our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats’ manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief,” and that the Democrats were “motivated more by partisan politics than by national security”.

    Roughly every Democrat in Congress voted for the AUMF in Afghanistan. Taking careful note of this state of affairs, lead Republican strategist Karl Rove helpfully explained in 2005 that liberals wanted to “offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”

    So now President Obama makes a tough call on bin Laden, that Romney & the previous GOP presidential nominee explicitly said they wouldn’t do, and it’s supposed to be off limits somehow for anyone to criticize Romney for his stated policy views?

    (Romney: “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours… I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort”).

    No person of good will seriously believes that.

    Everyone expressing “concern” about politicization can go pound sand.

    In the alternative, they can demonstrate their good faith by producing their contemporaneously expressed concernmongering over Rove and Miller’s comments, and Romney’s repeated lying about America.

    • “At the 2004 GOP Convention, an angry Southern white man explained, “our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats’ manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief,” and that the Democrats were “motivated more by partisan politics than by national security”.”

      Well, at the time, they were motivated more by partisan politics than by national security. The War wasn’t going perfectly at that point, so many of them wanted to turn tail and quit, while good men and woman were in combat. Most of them voted for the war too, but suddenly they were against it before they were for it.

      “Roughly every Democrat in Congress voted for the AUMF in Afghanistan.”

      Almost. Every Republican did. I believe Maxine Waters, a Democrat, did not.

      “So now President Obama makes a tough call on bin Laden, that Romney & the previous GOP presidential nominee explicitly said they wouldn’t do, and it’s supposed to be off limits somehow for anyone to criticize Romney for his stated policy views?”

      Now you do realize that Democrats are taking Romney’s comments out of context right? His answer was in reference to sending large conventional ground forces into Pakistan to get bin Laden. Surely, you’d agree that that would be stupid, destabilizing and waste a lot of money? That was his argument. I’m sure the commander in chief would agree with this answer. It’s perfectly rational. Yet, Democrats have politicized it and are trying to bamboozle voters into accepting the ludicrous premise that bringing massive conventional forces into Pakistan is somehow equivalent with sending a small, highly specialized force in a clandestine raid for a brief period of time against a highly localized target. It’s absurd.

      • Jeff Fordham says:

        Was not the Aircraft carrier flight deck bravado by Bush politicizing? Or how about the USE of video showing flag draped bodies (in a Bush campaign add) being recovered by firefighters at the world trade center………………….which caused an outcry. Or how about the other campaign add in 2004 by Bush re-using the megaphone and cowboy hat video where he was yelling…….”we are gonna get those who did this” ( that was a lie) right after 911. I am sorry Sean, but its politics pure and simple, and Bush and the Lee Atwater accolytes are just as guilty of it……………..If not more !
        If Obama had pulled a stunt like the aircraft carrier mission accomplished nonsense……I hate to even think of the outrage and anger.

    • “Everyone expressing ‘concern’ about politicization can go pound sand.”

      Damn straight. I wrote a short piece about that very thing just yesterday that adds more meat to what you wrote, there:
      http://lefthooktheblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/press-politicizing-terrorist-deaths.html

      My habit is to put the very word “politicization” in quotes just like that, because using it without them falsely suggests there was ever a time U.S. War On Terror [tm] policy wasn’t all about politics. Within hours of the planes hitting the Trade Center, Bush’s hecubi were blaming Clinton for what just happened, and their extreme, virulently partisan politicization of these matters continues right to this day. The insistence that the Obama be given minimal or no credit for bringing bin Laden to justice is just a continuation of this (one that started within minutes of the announcement that bin Laden had been killed).

    • Scott Erb says:

      Jon Stewart did a good montage of how the GOP was talking in the past about Bush and his actions, showing the same people doing then what they criticize now. That’s American politics – “if we do it, it’s good, if they do it, it’s bad.”

  7. kcmarshall99 says:

    Reblogged this on Republican Presidential Candidates 2012 and commented:
    I don’t think Obama is going to get any votes from touting this accomplishment. Anyone who votes with the military in mind knows that Democrats are not as tough as Republicans on national security issues.

    • Says who? Give some examples. The GOP just lied us into Iraq. An 11 year boondoggle and you can tout their ability? You must be brain damaged.

      • Oh, boy. The Bush lie “lie.”

        If you cannot see beyond that piece of Democratic propaganda, then there’s not much I can do to foster a dialogue here. Nearly every politician and major agency was absolutely convinced that Saddam had WMD. In fact, the WMD he had left after the First Persian Gulf War has still not been accounted for (A former Iraqi General has written that he believes Saddam used a March 2003 flood of the Orontes River as a pretext for moving the weapons to Syria – who knows?). The UN believed he had them, the military believed he had them, Congress believed he had them, and the President believed he had them. I was in the military at the time and was involved in a massive exercise in the Mojave Desert to train the Third Infantry Division for a scenario in which Saddam deployed chemical weapons against US forces as they advanced through the Karbala Gap.

        Before you spout off partisan lies as concrete truths, remember what one of the world’s greatest mass murderers once said:

        “The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.”

        • “A former Iraqi General has written that he believes Saddam used a March 2003 flood of the Orontes River as a pretext for moving the weapons to Syria – who knows?”

          We do, actually. Your reply, there, fairly screams an astonishing lack of knowledge of this matter, with a rote repetition of empty party talking-points taking the place of any real study. The Iraq Study Group, manned by partisans of the Bush administration, went out of its way to soften the blow in its findings, and threw out a heaping helping of empty and completely irresponsible speculation to this end, but its concrete, documented conclusions behind the weasel-wording and obfuscation were that Iraq went out of the WMD business in the early ’90s. They dismantled the programs, destroyed the weapons, had no capability to create any more of them, no way to store them, had made no moves to rebuild any of the programs, and, in fact, had no plans to do so at any point in the forseeable future, and no group of planners to do it. There’s no mysterious capability that was secreted away to Syria or to Russia (another allegation floated by the nut right over the years), or anywhere else.

          Similarly, the lies of Bush and his underlings on this matter are a documented fact. To cite but one source, the Center For Public Integrity studied 2 years worth of the administration’s public pronouncements on Iraq, and, in 2008, issued their results, which documented–not suggested, not asserted, but documented–935 separate demonstrably false statements by Bush, Cheney, and the rest.

          Your assertion to the contrary, being merely a repetition of party talking points, focuses on generalities about Iraqi wmd capabilities, instead of looking at the things Bush and co. actually said to justify the war (your remarks about “Democratic propaganda” and quoting Nazis are particularly amusing in light of this). I was writing about this in real time, back then, and at some length. It was painfully clear, to anyone who paid any attention at all, that they had no real case for war, and were pulling these things out of their orifices. The things they were saying were ludicrous. The war-hawks spent months mercilessly browbeating the intel community, insisting that it come up with something–anything–that would support the allegations the “president” and his thugs were making in public. This went on to the point that the hawks actually created a new “intelligence” unit, made up of political people, rather than intelligence experts, to comb through intel “garbage”–unconfirmed and discredited raw reports–and create, from them, an “alternative analysis” aimed at undermining the work of the real intel community. To state the obvious, none of this would have been necessary if they’d had ANY real case. Time and time again, they were repeating bogus allegations that, if they didn’t know them to be false when offering them, they would have known them as such if they’d taken even a minute to look into them. Then, after the war, they blamed the intel community for getting it wrong. Classic Bush (or, more to the point, classic Rove).

          • “There’s no mysterious capability that was secreted away to Syria or to Russia (another allegation floated by the nut right over the years), or anywhere else.”

            Can you please link to something in the study that conclusively “proves” this? I look forward to seeing your reply.

            “Similarly, the lies of Bush and his underlings on this matter are a documented fact. To cite but one source, the Center For Public Integrity studied 2 years worth of the administration’s public pronouncements on Iraq, and, in 2008, issued their results, which documented–not suggested, not asserted, but documented–935 separate demonstrably false statements by Bush, Cheney, and the rest.”

            Can you please tell me which specific items the administration “lied” about? Not things they said or said they believed that turned out to be disproven by uncertain intelligence, but actual deliberate lies in which they said things they knowingly believed to be untrue. Again, I look forward to your reply.

            “It was painfully clear, to anyone who paid any attention at all, that they had no real case for war, and were pulling these things out of their orifices. ”

            Right. Which is why Congress voted overwhelmingly for the war. Was it painfully obvious to Hillary Clinton, or John Kerry? Or any of the many other Democratic politicians who supported the invasion?

            “Your reply, there, fairly screams an astonishing lack of knowledge of this matter, with a rote repetition of empty party talking-points taking the place of any real study. ”

            Yes, I was in the military at the time with a Top Secret SCI clearance, but I must be completely lacking knowledge in the matter.

            • “Can you please tell me which specific items the administration ‘lied’ about?

              The CPI study can be found here:
              http://projects.iwatchnews.org/index.htm/projects.publicintegrity.org/WarCard/Defaulte193.html?src=project_home

              The scale of lying, here, is enormous. 935 false statements in two years (actually, most of them are in the immediate lead-up to war), and that is by no means comprehensive. It’s only from a handful of top administration officials.

              “Not things they said or said they believed that turned out to be disproven by uncertain intelligence, but actual deliberate lies in which they said things they knowingly believed to be untrue.”

              One of the amusing things defenders of that corrupt regime will do is to try to set the bar for proving these things so unreasonably high as to rule out reason itself, and that’s all you’ve done, there. We can show what they said. We can show what info they had available–sometimes what we know they saw, others what they would have seen had they made even a cursory effort to look into what they were saying. We can show that what they had and what they said don’t even come close to meeting up. What we can’t show is what no one can show about anyone: what went on in someone else’s mind. That’s what you’re you’re demanding, there. Putting that aside, there is a substantial record, and reasonable people can evaluate it. They’re all going to come to the same conclusion, and it isn’t going to be one you like.

              Iraq was, from the beginning, a war in search of a rationale, something the neocons wanted, and set about trying to manufacture a premise in order to get. On 9/11–the very day–while the FBI and intel community was telling them this was an al Qaida job, the thing on which they were focused (rather than dealing with what was before them, as a responsible elected government) was the prospect of using it as a pretext to attack Iraq. The giddiness with which they went about this is sickening–Rumsfeld, at one point, even pooh-poohed the notion of even attacking al Qaida, because, as he put it, there were “no good targets” in Afghanistan. He wanted to attack Iraq, instead.

              In this vein, I’ll note you didn’t touch my comments regarding the administration’s attacks on the intel community.

              Some years ago, I used to write about this quite a lot on various message boards, blogs, usenet, etc., and, as I found myself so frequently rewriting the same things, I put together a series of little articles that could be referenced in such discussions. As designed, they emerged from debates with Bush partisans and were intended to provoke discussion. They show the shortcomings of both (they’re combative, and often not properly footnoted). But they’re not a bad reference point. They’re archived here:
              http://claslib2.tripod.com/lh/archive.html
              Scroll down to the bottom to a section headed “The Iraq Papers.”

              As I understand how off-putting it can be to throw so hefty a wall of text into a discussion of this sort, I think this one particularly instructive on how information was being handled:
              http://claslib2.tripod.com/lh/ip05.html

              And the last one deals with the other thing for which you asked, an outline of the spin-free conclusions of the Iraq Survey Group (and a brief analysis of the form some of that spin took):
              http://claslib2.tripod.com/lh/ip10.html

              • From the link you sent me:

                “On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both.”

                Well, Iraq did have links to al Qaeda. The Mukhabarat (Iraqi intelligence) dealt with al Zarqawi in Kurdistan. They used an al Qaeda affiliate called Ansar al Islam as a check against the Kurds in the North. Did Iraq help plan 9/11, almost definitely not. But they did have ties to al Qaeda as any intelligence organization in the region might. Look up Operation Viking Hammer for instance for more detail.

                Moreover, the intelligence community firmly believed that Iraq had WMD, so statements echoing that belief are not lies. The officials were stating things that they believed to be true at the time of their statements.

                In short, the link you provided classifies drawing the wrong conclusions on the basis of erroneous intelligence, “lies”. That’s simply not true.

          • Scott Erb says:

            Yes, I believe those claims about Iraq moving its “WMD” to Syria have been debunked. There also has been no evidence put forth to suggest it happened. There is a lot of evidence – overwhelming evidence – that the UN dismantled Iraq’s WMD capacities.

            • The UN did not dismantle Iraq’s WMD. If it had, it would have reported Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. In fact, it was the UN that could not account for what happened to Iraq’s WMD in 1991.

              On Syria, I’m not saying I believe that is what happened, only that it is a theory. I am curious though. Who debunked this theory, how was it debunked, and when was it debunked?

    • I agree. Thanks, Kevin for the reblog!

  8. middleagedhousewife says:

    Yes, In a brief flash of leadership, President Obama made the decision and thanks to the skill of our military the world is now free from another evil maniac. Any president faced with the same intel would have made the same decision, but it happened on Obama’s watch so he gets to take the credit. Is it self serving and tacky for him to make this a campaign issue? Yes it is, but any other candidate with such a juicy morsel would do the same.

  9. oncebefore12 says:

    I’d love to see everyone focus on economic policy and forget name-calling. If we do this we can then compare Mitt’s 50-point plan to bring back a newly-refurbished brand of George W. Bush’s policies (more tax cuts for the wealthy, de-regulation, reduced investment in infrastructure, major cuts to education and help for the poor, children, elderly, and a major increase in military spending that even the Pentagon doesn’t support) with Obama’s attempts to fix W’s mistakes with at least some intelligent ideas. Let’s get at it!

    • While I agree that the debate should be focused on the economy, I think you are mischaracterizing Romney’s position. No matter. The philosophy of increasing people’s dependency on government clearly doesn’t work, and it never will. The last three and a half years clearly show that.

      • VR Kaine says:

        “The last three and a half years clearly show that.”
        Sean, please. Clearly we’ve had the last 3 and a half years we’ve had because the Dems were unable to tax the “rich” their “fair share”.

        Had they been able to, the deficit would have been eliminated with “leprechaun pots of gold”, and the debt could have been wiped out with “Jack’s magic beans”. Forgive the quotes, but that’s the kind of math they like to use, isn’t it? 😉

        • oncebefore12 says:

          If I recall, “fuzzy math” was a Republican specialty. You can make snide remarks about “pots of gold” and “magic beans” but you can’t avoid the facts. The growth in the deficit in the past 3 1/2 years was due to the following (in order of magnitude): (1) loss of revenues resulting from Bush tax cuts; (2) loss of revenues due to the Great Recession; (3) expenditures on Iraq and Afghanistan combined with unfunded Medicare Plan B pharmaceutical benefits; (4) stimulus spending (4) increases in Medicaid costs. Note that loss of tax revenues are by far the largest cause (more than 70%) of the growth in the deficit. Please challenge me with some facts, not glib comments, if you don’t believe it.

          • If Democrats hate the Bush tax cuts so much, why didn’t they repeal them when they controlled the White House, the Senate and the House for Obama’s first two years in office. Do we also get to blame FDR for the portion of the deficit tied to Social Security or Lyndon Johnson for the portion due to Medicare, or allocate the interest for both? By your logic we should. After all, you’re still blaming a politician who has long since been out of office for budgets he didn’t pass.

            Obama must accept some responsibility. Only in liberal land can a leader still blame his predecessor after 3.5 years in office. How often have you seen a CEO blame his predecessor for 3.5 years of underperformance? Never. He’d have been fired by year two.

            • lbwoodgate says:

              “Only in liberal land can a leader still blame his predecessor after 3.5 years in office.”

              Right. The Bushies never used such a strategy with Clinton???

              • No. They didn’t. Bush could actually run on his record in 2004, even when the Iraq campaign reached its darkest hour.

                The only thing Obama accomplished of any note was killing bin Laden. That’s it. Otherwise, he’s got nothing, and his only ideas focus on wealth redistribution.

                • lbwoodgate says:

                  “Bush could actually run on his record in 2004”,/i>

                  Seriously ?!? What record was that Sean? Bush inherited a recession that was only half as bad at best than the one Obama inherited from him. Yet Obama’s job record is significantly better than Bush’s over the comparable period of his administration.

                  “This is especially true if you focus on private-sector jobs. Overall employment in the Obama years has been held back by mass layoffs of schoolteachers and other state and local government employees. But private-sector employment has recovered almost all the ground lost in the administration’s early months. That compares favorably with the Bush era: as of March 2004, private employment was still 2.4 million below its level when Mr. Bush took office.” SOURCE

                  Only a died-in-the-wool Bush loyalist would hold the view that Bush had a worthy economic record to run on, because accepting the reality of his dismal recovery efforts would concede that the Bush tax cuts were not all that effective after all, which you aren’t will to admit.

                  • Have you looked at the unemployment rate??? It’s worse now than it was 3.5 years ago. You cannot honestly tell me that things are better.

                    • lbwoodgate says:

                      You’re playing with the numbers here Sean and I think you know that. 3.5 years ago, while Bush was still in office, the unemployment trajectory was still heading down and didn’t bottom out until a month after Obama took office. As this graph demonstrates, jobs in the private sector started rebounding following Obama’s implementation of the stimulus program and there’s been steady but weak growth pretty much every month since then. Had the GOP influenced state legislatures after 2010 NOT killed state and federal jobs through funding cuts that Obama allowed himself to concede to, the unemployment rate would be significantly lower than it is now.

                      You think anyone could have come in at the time Obama did with this kind of economic tail spin with some silver bullet and turned this thing around any faster? I’m sure you believe as other conservatives and Libertarians do that less government and lower taxes for the wealthiest 2% would have turned things around quicker and more efficiently, but it is insanity to believe that with the fewest government regulations on record in January 2009 and taxes at a 50 year low that somehow the economy was going to reverse itself from the same conditions that were in place when things went south.

              • Jeff Fordham says:

                LbWoodgate…..I once had a fellow Republican try to tell me that the ONLY reason the economy rocked in the mid to late 90s under Clinton was because of Ronald Reagan, and that Reagan’s economic planners actually figured into the mix the 1991 recession ( pre Clinton ) knowing the economy would take off afterwards. In other words…..”there was no way on earth that the ass kicking ecnomy had ANYTHING to do with Bill CLinton”…

                Its this kind of crazy batshit that has taken me away from the party, and its only gotten worse. I have read all of the follow up comments about Iraq here and can’t believe the effort made to defend what was clearly a dishonest case to justify a war……and I absolutely know if it had been Clinton or Obama who had made the deceitful case for war…….and pulled huge resources from Afghanistan. I would see the very same case( as most are making here) being made against them by most Republicans.

                This has to do with defense of a political party and zero to do with pragmatism or “rationality” ……..I thought thats why we are here?

                • lbwoodgate says:

                  T’is true Jeff. The state of denial many conservatives remain in is beyond comprehension. We’re all guilty of seeing what we want and disregarding everything else but the extreme right within the GOP makes a profession of it.

          • VR Kaine says:

            I wasn’t talking to you.

  10. oncebefore12 says:

    And, the past 10 years have shown that cutting taxes, primarily for the very wealthy, doesn’t do much to stimulate the economy or create jobs but it does help create massive deficits.

    • Actually, it got us out of the 2001 recession. But who’s counting?

      Stimulus is stimulus. Either you believe it works or it doesn’t. You cannot have it both ways. You can stimulate the economy by cutting taxes or by increasing spending.

      • Scott Erb says:

        No, cheap credit (which fueled the housing bubble) got us out of that recession, and it was done to assure that 9-11 didn’t cause a recession. It was a mistake, a good recession in 2001 that fixed some of the imbalances would have probably allowed us to avoid the housing bubble and not face the problems we now have. Debt and cheap credit are poison (government and private debt skyrocketed). There is no way this can or could be fixed in four years; I suspect it’ll take a decade or more.

        • Cheap credit and debt definitely helped get us out of the recession, as well as the Bush tax cuts. It was a mix of monetary policy + Keynesian stimulus that got us out of it. Believe it or not, Obama is doing the exact same thing. Interest rates ate near all time lows and he is stimulating the economy through government spending. The only difference is that government is transferring more wealth to people that don’t pay taxes.

  11. lbwoodgate says:

    At least one other “rational republican” appears to disagree with your entire premise here Sean

    “impugning a rival’s judgment, as the Obama camp’s Bin Laden advertisement just did, is precisely what a presidential campaign is for.

    Strategically, too, the White House has every reason to press these kind of arguments to the hilt. As I’ve noted in this space before, most of President Obama’s record is unpopular – sometimes deeply so – with the voting public. But the big exception is national security, where polls often show that Obama has built up a fair amount of credibility with voters. Foreign policy thus offers the White House its best (and perhaps only) opportunity to draw contrasts with Romney by highlighting the president’s actual accomplishments.”Ross Douthat

    • Did you even read my post?

      My argument was that it was perfectly legitimate for Obama to use his execution of bin Laden as a campaign issue. My only criticism was that Democrats were claiming more credit than he deserved. You were in the military. You know how things work. The machine grinds on no matter who is in power. Even Jimmy Carter would have made the call.

      Do you honestly believe that if someone told Mitt Romney that we could send a SEAL Team into Pakistan to take out bin Laden, and we knew bin Laden was there with 80% certainty, he would have said, “Nah”?

      C’mon.

      • VR Kaine says:

        Didn’t Clinton have Bin Laden in his sights once before? What was the reason not to take him out then?

      • lbwoodgate says:

        “My only criticism was that Democrats were claiming more credit than he deserved.”

        That’s an opinion you’ve made here that has yet to be supported by the facts. It’s is more a case of you seeing what you want to see and disregarding everything else, IMO.

        “Do you honestly believe that if someone told Mitt Romney that we could send a SEAL Team into Pakistan to take out bin Laden, and we knew bin Laden was there with 80% certainty, he would have said, “Nah”?”

        I wouldn’t even attempt to make a guess on what Romney would do in such a case. To be honest with you, I was surprised that Obama did. Seems like he fooled both of us

  12. I maybe replowing ground from above, if so I apologize.

    Personally, I think if Obama wants to run on foreign policy he should suggest: he will be more prudent that Mr. Romney or any other Republican would be based on their public stances; not that he is or will be more of cowboy than Romney. This I killed Osama and Romney wouldn’t have seem a unproven conjecture at best, and doesn’t play up what I think is a sellable argument: ‘I’m against dumb wars’. Obama has campaigned on that in the past to good effect.

    With the exception of Ron Paul, every GOP candidate in the debates seemed out to suggest that he (or she) would be quicker than Obama to go the military route with Iran and maybe other adversaries. I think the coutry is still very war weary, and I think Romney and most Republicans are vulnerable to be accused that they support our troops by putting them in harm’s way as often as possible.

    Personally,

    • Bruce,

      I agree with you at a high level. To be honest, most of Romney’s foreign policy comments reveal a great deal of his ignorance about foreign affairs. For instance, the comment about Russia being America’s biggest threat was about thirty years out of sync. That said, I think Romney is better qualified to handle the challenges of the next four years than Obama is: namely, pursuing pro-growth economic policies.

  13. Kevin says:

    Hi – I’m a liberal who reads this blog from time to time. In this day and age of soundbites and sensationalism, it’s always nice to see what a cool-headed member of the other side has to say (like you say, “all the reason, none of the rage”).

    Anyway – just wanted to contribute to this discussion. For one, I really don’t think Republicans have any right to be up in arms over Obama “politicizing” the issue – they beat the 9/11/national security horse relentlessly in 2004, and of course there was Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” embarrassment (Not a Bush hater, just calling it as it is in hindsight). I’m not saying I’m offended by what Republicans did in 04, either – It’s politics. If you truly believe you have a significant advantage over your opponent in a field, especially one with as much significance as national security, you have every right to point that out. Also, Obama definitely deserves a decent amount of credit for the bin Laden raid. The fact that he entered a sovereign state without their permission or knowledge in order to get bin Laden should not be lost. I’m strongly disagree that it was a “no-brainer” decision. As the ad says, Romney had spoken against taking such action in the past. During one of the debates, McCain, who I think we can agree is no fool in the realm of foreign policy, called Obama “naive” for saying he would take such an action. This was a gutsy decision, and that should be appreciated, especially by Republicans who predicted (and still foolishly insist) that Obama would be a weak appeaser who would endanger Americans. And besides, had the raid not gone well, the Republican noise machine (Rush, Glen, the Fox News Crowd etc) certainly would have thrown yet another conniption fit- although it actually would have been justified for once. Not saying Obama deserves all the credit by any means – but writing this off as a no-brainer is just a stubborn refusal to give Obama credit for doing something good for the country.

    • Kevin,

      I agree with most of what you said. However, I think that if the raid did not go well, Obama would have bigger problems than the Republican noise machine, it would have been the end of the Obama presidency. Jimmy Carter’s Desert One experience is a case in point. Had he pulled that rescue off, history may have been much different.

  14. Scott Erb says:

    Here’s a lecture from an expert on al qaeda that is pretty interesting: http://www.midcoastforum.org/speakers/seth-jones

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