In the coming days, weeks and months the republicans will do everything they can to make sure President Obama does not get the full if any credit for this victory. Some tactics will include disassociation, they will say the President has nothing to do with the operations at all. Or they may go in the opposite direction and say Obama may be taking too much credit since in his announcement he uses the word I a number of times. Or they may mention George W. Bush having something to do with this.
It's true that Bush launched the initial mission into Afghanistan but soon after it was clear to see that he had lost focus. The incursion into Iraq took resources and attention away from bringing one of Al Qaida's most visible leaders to justice. Osama bin Laden's legend and status in the world grew the longer he was free to continue to make threats and plans.
The Bush administration dropped the ball and because of that extended the search and killing of Osama bin Laden longer than it should have taken. For people to now include Bush in the capture and killing of the terrorist is in a word...bullshit. Looking at the statements from various politicians all of them thanked the military and special forces as well they should. They are the people who worked tirelessly to gather the information and execute the mission. But most, particularly those on the right, either omitted President Obama or included President Bush along with Obama as if they had a joint effort happening.
Now I don't mind giving credit where credit is due but in this case imagine how it would be spun by the right if a Democratic President had 7 years and never got bin Laden then a Republican President came in and in 2 and half years killed him. Imagine how Fox News and right-wing talk radio would present this. Imagine the reactions if anyone suggested or placed the Democratic President's name in the same breath with the current president?
Yeah..now you see what I'm talking about.
If bin Laden was killed under Bush's terms does anyone really think President Clinton would be named as part of the victory? Seriously? Like Bush, Clinton missed his shot when he had the chance. And when the opportunity is blown the President is blamed. President Carter authorized the Delta Force to go in and rescue the hostages held in Iran in the late 70s. Their helicopter crashed and the special forces team was killed. No one said, damn those special forces guys fucked up. They said the President fucked up. And it was a huge embarrassing blemish on Carter's record going into the 1980 elections. When Bush captured Saddam Hussein no one thought to include Clinton or even his father George H.W. Bush in the victory lap. Bush set the mission, Bush gets the credit.
Speaking of setting the mission... wasn't it the mission of the right to give Obama full responsibility for Afghanistan? Didn't Cheney go on a blistering media tour for the first six months of Obama's term to tell the world that the man is making America unsafe? Granted, Obama campaigned on refocusing on Afghanistan and bin Laden but the republicans were more than happy to give him full responsibility and make that region "Obama's War". And that's fine, if things had gone wrong Obama would have had to take it on the chin and the right wouldn't hesitate to say that this proves this President's weakness and incompetence. When things go wrong, the buck stops here but when things go right then when it comes to accolades lets spread the wealth around (its the only time republicans don't mind socialism.) But things didn't go wrong, the mission went off nearly flawlessly and most important without US casualties. Because of that, the President in charge of the operation should get as much of the credit as he would the blame.