It seems, once again, that politics has infected what should have remained something which held widespread American support: Taking out Osama bin Laden.
President Obama lit the fires by making this remark as he answered questions alongside Japan’s prime minister:
“I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and to take out bin Laden,” Obama said, obviously taking a shot at Romney. “I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. And that’s been at least my practice. I said that I would go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him–and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they would do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.”
Romney had said – back in 2007 – that he wouldn’t attack targets inside Pakistan. When bin Laden was found and killed, he was inside Pakistan.
Since Obama has been president there have been 254 Predator Drone attacks inside Pakistan (compared with 42 while Bush was president). Romney’s remarks – before Obama was even elected president – were obviously a reference to “Death from Above.”
Things like the killing of America’s foreign Enemy #1 should be cause for national celebration and whomever ordered that killing shouldn’t speak of it in a joking term, especially when calling into question another person’s patriotism.
Mitt Romney quipped that even Jimmy Carter would have pulled the trigger on Osama’s killing. While it might be an amusing backhanded compliment to Carter (whose own desert operation to rescue Americans held hostage by Iran ended in failure) was crass.
Obama doesn’t really possess humility, humbleness, modesty, or even a sense of shame. Few presidents can afford to be like “Silent” Calvin Coolidge anymore however it is despicable to use the bin Laden killing as the punchline to a joke.
My biggest fear about Mitt Romney is that he will not be able to fight fire with fire while not appearing to be overly mean spirited. Obama, like Clinton and Reagan before him, has managed the art of the amusing put down or comeback. Romney might be “too mannered” to manage standing toe-to-toe with his opponent.
It is a shame that things have become so divisive that even who ordered the hit on bin Laden (or who wouldn’t have) becomes political.