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Presidency

The Politics of the OBL Killing

What has been underappreciated about Obama's decision to kill bin Laden was that he had planned it out in his mind years before. During the 2008 campaign he made news--e.g., this commentary--by declaring he would not hesitate to violate Pakistan's sovereignty if necessary. Obama must have asked himself what he could do to project foreign policy strengths while maintaining internationalist credentials. The most politically popular goal was to get Osama, and he reverse-engineered how this might happen: increased drone strikes, for one. When intelligence connected enough dots, he made his move, and he won. This victory of course does not excuse a multitude of other sins, all intended to force America into multilateral agreements, even in a good cause (e.g., Libya). If anything, the killing of bin Laden is the exception that proves the rule about Obama's often feckless foreign policy.
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Much of what the POTUS has done was already spelled out in his speeches and writings prior to his election. E.g., his "race" speech in 2008 ("A More Perfect Union") was pretty much sketched out in his Audacity of Hope book. Empathy as a constitutional imperative or litmus test for his nominating a S Ct justice, and his favoring Breyer (as opposed to Scalia) as a model of jurisprudence for the Court, also spelled out in that same book (see the chapter aptly titled "Our Constitution," not "The Constitution," further burnishing his progressive bona fides).

Wow! If it wasn't so terrifying, this kind of double think would be hysterically funny: Obama - never President Obama - does thing x that any Republican wishes he or she had done, but because Obama did it when the previous - Republican - administration failed to do it, it MUST be bad so there MUST be a hidden agenda that shows just what a devious, European, socialist Muslim he is. What Wayne LaPierre did with gun "rights" you've just done with the killing of Osama bin Laden.

You all crazy people!!

Just another one: the intelligence necessary to execute the mission wasn't available until a couple months before the raid. Please use common sense. Wouldn't President Bush have ordered the raid to save face if it were at all possible to do so? Wouldn't President Obama have ordered sooner if it were possible? Sure, have a discussion about how much or how little President Obama should take credit for the raid (or how ever you'd like to phrase it), but don't pretend that Bush could have executed the raid but chose not to.

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