(CNN) — The Department of Defense is looking into ways to “pump up the security” for the team of Navy SEALs who helped kill Osama bin Laden after the commandos expressed concern for their safety and the safety of their families, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
As I read this article this morning, I could not but feel a sense of sadness, frustration, and then anger. We in the counterterrorism community recognize that there is a constant security concern. Those in elite covert positions, like that of SEAL Team 6, do a tremendous job in protecting themselves and their families.
What angers me is that the threat to the SEALs does not stem, directly, from al-Qaida. Al-Qaida doesn’t know who they are and where they are, nor does it really have the capability to ascertain this information. No, the greatest threat to the SEALs right now is… the White House. Continuing from the article:
“Frankly, a week ago Sunday, in the Situation Room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday, the next day.”
We rely not only on our own ability to navigate and function in society in a discreet manner, but we also rely on the system to maintain its integrity; that those in positions of authority honor the oaths they take to protect those of us in sensitive and/or dangerous positions. This is clearly not happening.
Obama, though claiming otherwise, has worked hard to make the Usama bin Ladin operation political payoff for him. His incredibly transparent victory lap has sought to work in the best photo moments, looking for those signature iconic pictures that will convince the American people that he is a ‘warrior’ after all. We have even seen Obama use the bin Ladin operation in his stump speeches:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you for getting bin Laden.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, there you go. (Applause.) Case in point. (Applause.) It should inspire us to finish what we started. Because of you, we were able to prevent a second Great Depression. But in the next few weeks, in the next few months, the next few years, we have to make sure that the new jobs in industries of our time are created right here in the United States of America. We have to make sure that America is prepared to win the future.
Now, I won’t completely begrudge him of patting himself on the back and using the success of the bin Ladin operation towards his reelection campaign, but when the politics of his getting elected exceed the security of those at the tip of the spear- that’s dangerous.
This president has not been the beacon of hope vis a vis terrorism. In fact, he’s been quite the opposite. The bin Ladin operation essentially cleans the slate from the failures of Hassan Nidal, the Christmas Day Bomber and the Time Square Bomber. Likewise, his efforts to close GITMO, which was an instrumental component to the process that lead to bin Ladin, are not all that inspiring. I am not convinced that he gets it. I fully expect that, in the name of political expediency, he will do whatever he can to drop out of Afghanistan, setting the stage for us to dragged back into the situation a few years from now.
Now keep in mind, Obama needs all the help he can get- and the left is doing all it can to give him that help. There seems to be this new collective argument on the left that the bin Ladin operation somehow makes up for our high unemployment, out of control spending and dismal economic progress. Granted, it is a feather in what has been an exceedingly bare cap, but it by no means makes up for, or superceeds these other critical issues. Obama’s reelection will be based on the economy, not terrorism. In fact, one could venture that, at this point, foreign policy issues can only hurt Obama, not help him. He is operating on a very small margin of error at this point, and once a GOP frontrunner becomes clear, that margin will only get smaller.
We collectively should be proud of ourselves. Contrary to what liberals would have you believe, the American people have been exceedingly patient and courteous to our Muslim citizens. Violence against Muslims in the U.S. is exceedingly low. Likewise, our patience in dealing with the various armed conflicts in southwest Asia, while tiring and frustrating, have been critical in demonstrating the resolve necessary to complete the missions. None of us like war, especially those of us who have actually been in a combat environment. The missions in Afghanistan and Iraq (I won’t mention Libya because I have no clue as to why we are there…) have merit, will bear fruits and deserve our continued resolve.
I am sure that I am not alone when I say, “Don’t politic at our expense.”